Its Peace Corps week! Don’t forget to send some love to your PCVs across the world! (Ahem, it is Girl Scout cookie time....)
Being a PCV (Peace Corps Volunteer) differs across the world, even vastly within each country.
Here is a little look into my daily life!
5:00-6:00 the wild life orchestra wakes me up--its actually an amazing thing to hear (just not when you are trying to sleep). The sounds of chickens, donkeys, cows and dogs echo around my village. I am trying to figure out what they are saying--they make beautiful crescendos and fade away.
6:00-I check to see if I have water--the oh so precious water of life. If I have none, I usually grumble and go back to bed. If I have a good flow I decided I can go for a run. I have now mastered the art of guessing how soon my water will be out based on the flow. If the flow is mediocre I fill my bath tube while I put on my running clothes.
7:00-Run is done, bathing has happened if there is water-if not...its baby wipes and baby powder to the rescue. I make coffee and eat oatmeal all while walking around in my delicates in the vain attempt not to sweat. It usually fails. Somewhere in this I look at my leftovers--no mold is a success so I don’t have make lunch. Depending on the mold status I will either keep it for dinner or throw it out.
8:00-I walk 3K to school, which is about a 30-45 minute walk depending on how many people I run into on the way. I have no electricity, so I tote my computer/other electronics with me to charge.
830-2:00-I hang out at school. I work the the guidance and counseling department, so if there are classes I help teach or plan lessons. I also get a lot of reading in... On Mondays I go to the clinic and help weigh babies. Its the cutest thing ever! Tiny babies don’t realize that I am not their mother...but kids about 3-5 years old are scared of me. Frankly I would be too! This strange white person trying to weigh them/measure them!
Tuesdays and Thursdays I have a PACT club at school, so I go to school later and stay later.
Somewhere in the afternoon, I walk the 3K back home again. Sweating all the way. Once I am home, I open up every door or window possible to air out my oven of a home and put on as little clothes as possible while still remaining decent.
Dinner is usually a pasta based dish. My thought is that if there is mold, just heat the crap out of it to kill it...so far its worked. The produce man comes once a week to Lehututu. In his visits we get: tomatoes, potatoes, onions, occasionally bell peppers and carrots, apples, occasionally mangos and bananas. As you can tell, I have a very diverse diet! But I have to say, the mangos are TO DIE FOR.
At about 8:00pm it is dark so that means its time for me to lay in my bed and read or watch movies on my computer.
Night time in Lehututu can get exciting! The dogs on my compound bark at anything....and bats fly around my room. If they land on my mosquito net I spray them with doom and curse them...but I think they have learned to stay away until I am asleep.
Now, you might wonder what I am actually working on!
As a Life Skills Volunteer, I am attempting to teach the kids at school this vague topic called “life skills” but, in reality, I try to focus on Peace Corps goals 2 and 3 (refer to previous blog post for PC goals) of cultural exchange. I think that if I could accomplish one thing in my service, it would be critical thinking. And if anyone has tips on teaching critical thinking, I would love to know.
So,what is life really like? My day sounds pretty romantic--yes? In reality. Peace Corps is hard. Its really hard. At times I feel like I have a mood disorder. Kids and adults in your village make fun of you, ask you for money and things constantly. Your favorite student will come and talk to you, but in reality just want 10 Pula...you go from an instant high to a low in a matter of seconds. Its hot....you stress because you haven’t had water for a few days. Your heart breaks for the villagers who are starving, but you can’t give them money because thats not sustainable. Or for the drunk man passed out under the tree.
There is a different concept/notion of caring in Botswana, I feel like most of my co-workers care about me, but it is expressed in different ways than in America. Thats been a hard adjustment. At times you feel like screaming--just listen to me and care! But you can’t...so you carry on in silence. Or other times, just want a hug or an affectionate touch--but thats not done here.
I try to find a joy in every day, something small like the sunrise or sunset. My neighbors dogs running to greet me. A small kid being nice to me. The tuck shop woman's always warm greeting to me. My dinner or lunch not being molded.
But you know what. I wouldn't change it for the world. It truly is the "toughest job you will ever love"