Many of you may be wondering what I do on a daily basis. Many of you are also probably under the impression that’s a lot more exciting than it actually is. The reality is…living in another country quickly becomes not all that much different than living in your home country. You fall into a routine and it doesn’t change a whole lot from day to day. Yes, I’m operating in a different language, without many of the creature comforts we as Americans are accustomed to, but overall, my day doesn’t vary that much from yours in that I get up, I get ready, I got to “work”, I eat three meals a day, I do some other random things, and then I go to bed.
My day typically starts at 7:30 am. I get up, brush my teeth, and do a 25 minute workout video that I got from another volunteer. After that, I take my bucket across the road to my host family’s house where there is a spigot, and get water. I use this water to refill my salidaga (see a previous post) and heat some of it up on my gas stove, because right now it’s chilly enough in the morning that I want a warm bucket bath. I set aside some of the water to make my tea, too.
I then bucket bathe in my “bathroom”. I get dressed, I heat up the water I set aside for tea, and I make my breakfast. Normally that’s oatmeal, an egg sandwich, just plain bread or bread with peanut butter, granola with “milk” (powdered milk and water) or pancakes, plus tea.
I usually peruse Facebook, Instagram and check my email while I eat. Afterwards, I wash my dishes and read for the next hour or so (however long I have until 10:00), when I go to the Health Center.
I don’t do a whole heck of a lot at the Health Center. If they need help with something, I do that. Otherwise, I chat with the other workers, or I listen to podcasts on my headphones to drown out the annoying French radio station they listen to.
At noon, I return to my house and read for about 30 min before I go to my host family’s house for lunch. Lunch can be served anywhere between 1:00 and 3:00, though usually by 2:00. So I hang out and play with the kids until lunch is ready. I then, usually, eat by myself in the house while everyone else eats outside, unless my homologue is around. If he is, we eat together. If lunch is early, I’ll hang out some more after, usually until about 2:30.
At this point, I go back to my house to “rest”. This is what they call it. Sometimes I take a nap, I read, I watch a tv show or movie, I do any work I need to do for PC or for upcoming presentations, I color, I make friendship bracelets, I listen to music, I research grad. schools, etc. Whatever I need to do, or feel like doing, this is the time to do it. I do this until about 6:30, when I go back to my host family’s house and hang out again until dinner, usually around 8:00.
Around 8:30 I head back to my house. I write in my journal, clean up my house a bit, I watch a tv show or read, I brush my teeth and I go to bed, usually around 10:30. And that’s my day.
Like I said, not too exciting.
This schedule holds true from Monday through Saturday. Sundays I don’t go to the Health Center, partly because there’s never anyone there, partly because I consider it my weekend. Not that I’m really exerting myself during the week at all. I’ll also do laundry on Sundays, though lately if its raining I have to wait for a week day when it’s not, and so that day I don’t go to the health center either.
Once a month my Sunday includes a meeting with the Community Health Agents. And soon I’ll have second monthly meeting with my Care Group (blog post to follow). Starting in October I may be teaching English at the middle school, so my days will change a bit. And my homologue says he wants to start English lessons soon, so that my change my afternoons a bit as well.
So there you have it, my day in nutshell. Not the exciting life you imagined, right?