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Sunday, May 25, 2014

A Day in the Life

  • 5:00 - Wake up.  With the first light of the day, when the chickens, donkeys, sheep, goats, and songbirds noisily begin their days, I do, too.
  • Enjoy the coldest part of the day where movement isn’t intolerable.  Do sit ups, pushups, and leg lifts in the futile but continuing effort to transform my apple-shaped body into something aesthetically pleasing.
  • 6:30 - Sunrise.  Go for a run, now that it’s bright enough to safely avoid baboons.  Enjoy gorgeous tropical birds.  Enjoy occasional monkey sightings (2 so far).  Enjoy my playlist of Ke$ha, Mika, and The Ting Tings.
  • 7:30 - Return to village.  Explain to confused villagers that I enjoy “making sport” because it’s good for health.  Listen to them tell me that I’m very sweaty and need to shower.
  • Shower.
  • Tear a page off my Page a Day Scrabble Plays calendar.  Do the day’s scrabble scenario.  Give my sister the old paper, which she collects for some reason.
  • Go to corner store.  Old man out front with the Pepsi hat will ask if I have a Senegalese husband.  When I say no, he’ll laugh and say not yet, but maybe tomorrow.  This happens every day.
  • Buy either bean sandwich (60 cents) or bread (40 cents) to make peanut butter sandwich.
  • Eat sandwich.  If the heartbreakingly skinny family dog is around, give part of sandwich to the dog.
  • 9:00 - Leave the compound to go study Pulaar.  Use the verbs for “to go to work” and “to go to study” instead of “to leave” to try to show my family that I have a purpose here.  (note: I do this because If I’m in my room with the door open, someone walks in every 5 minutes.  If I’m in the room with the door closed, someone walks in every 5 minutes.  If I’m in the room with the door locked, someone knocks every 5 minutes and asks to come in.  There’s really no way to be completely alone here, and that’s what I need to study.)
  • Hammock in the woods with my flashcards and Pulaar manuals.  Only get approached every 20 minutes or so instead of every 5.
  • 12:30 - Return home for lunch.  Politely decline offers to stay for lunch from every house I pass on the way home.
  • Eat rice and peanuts.
  • 1:30 - The hottest part of the day begins.  Sit under mango tree and complain about how hot it is.  Try to understand conversations with minimal success.  Pet goats.  Hold babies.  Drink warm juice or eat mangoes and peanuts if someone hands them to me.  Sweat.
  • 2:00 – the day gets even hotter.  Get very grumpy.  Hate everything.  Reconsider all life choices that brought me out here.  Sit or lay down motionless and still sweat.  Without electricity, there are no air conditioners.  There are no 3-speed oscillating fans.  There are no refreshing beverages filled with ice cubes.  The liquid in my stainless steel water filter gets so hot I could use it to brew tea.  The heat is constant and unescapable.
  • 4:00 - When it gets cool enough to move again, notice my bad mood suddenly evaporate. Be happy again.  Walk throughout the village smiling.  Enter compounds and introduce myself.  Apologize that I can’t Pulaar well yet, but say I am trying.  Listen to people say that today was very hot.  Agree with them.  Hold babies.
  •  Return home before sunset (7:30ish)
  •  Shower again.
  •  Sit on a mat with the family.  Talk to the kids.  Try to stay awake until dinner (I’ve failed twice.)  Everyone here has better night vision than I do. Children continue running around confidently long after I can’t walk without a flashlight.  I don’t know how they do it.
  • 8:15 or so: Eat couscous with peanut sauce.
  • Give up on trying to stay awake and say goodnight to everyone around 8:30.  Listen to everyone tell me I’m crazy to go to bed so early, that it’s not late enough yet, that I should hang out more.  Explain that I am very tired.  Go to my hut and read until I get tired enough to pass out.
  • Sleep before 9 pm.
  • Enjoy vibrant Mefloquine dreams.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you're integrating perfectly. :)
    Trust me, you adapt to the weather eventually and then you will wonder how it ever bothered you as much as it did. Plus, once your body adapts, that whole bed-before-9 thing will definitely fade away. I'm kind of jealous of your site. If for no other reason than the fact that you have Peanut sauce, which I love and which does not exist in this country. :(
    -Tim, PCV Vanuatu