Sunday, August 2, 2009

A Day in The Life

A typical day in the life of Peace Corps Trainee....

5 am: The host family wakes up and turns on the loud Ghanaian radio station (is there any other kind?!) and the roosters crow in unison. I roll over and do my best to ignore it.

6 or 6:30 am: Get out of bed, fold the bottom of the mosquito net over its top, which hangs about 4 feet above my bed, and began to sweep with a broom made of dried grass fastened together with a thick string. The floors are concrete and get quite dusty and dirty everyday.

6:45 am: Bucket bath, usually cold unless I get my morning thermos of hot water (for Milo) beforehand, which when blended with the bath water makes it luke warm. If I'm using harvested rain water then it's ice cold. Refreshing! I just had a brilliant idea to use a zip-loc bag to pour water over myself instead of the normal plastic cup. When the bag is only partially open and the water is squeezed out one can get almost decent water pressure, thus facilitating the washing of my hair which I do once, maybe twice a week. I wish I was kidding.

7 am: Breakfast of an egg sandwich (scrambled eggs with onions on sometimes toasted white bread) and Milo, a poor substitute for Swiss Miss. Milo is much improved when mixed with Cowbell (powered milk).

7:45 am: Walk to class with my neighbor and fellow PCV Opie. He will also be one of my nearest neighbors at site!

8 am: Arrive at class held in the Presbaterian church where we discuss breast and complimentary feeding, the miracle of the moringa plant, how to teach health lessons at the local school, ect. This is supposed to take 4 hours, but since our teacher, Martin, is a less than capable teacher and he doesn't reallly seem to care, we ussually only take 2 hours. Seriously, we all had these "really important" health related projects that we had to do in the community (my group had JSS -junior high- students put on a drama about the importance of washing your hands) where Martin was supposed to come and grade them. He didn't show up to a single one.

10 am: We hang out in the church after class and talk, read, or watch a movie on Beth's computer. We've watched 300, Crocdile Dundee, Dear Frankie, and the Fountian.

12 pm: Go home for lunch. Usually rice or pasta with the ubiquitous palm-oil based marinara sauce and a hard boiled egg.

1 pm: Languge class in the Methodist church. I am learning Likpakpan, the language of the Kocumba tribe, along with Opie and Craig, who will be nowhere near me, but the Kocumba tribe is far reaching. My teacher's name is Kotin and he is from Saboba in the Northern Region. He is also a less than capable teacher, barely able to speack English and he responds to almost any question or comment with a high pitched giggle. I'm not kidding. He teaches us abitrary sentances like 'John is sitting on the top of the room' (?!?). I have dubbed him the Cheshire cat. We have a oral language exam this week and Kotin has graciously, I suppose, given us about 20 sentences to memorize and recite (describing ourselves, our daily routine, and how to get to our site via public transpertation), ensuring us a passing grade (80% or higher). Laugauge class is also supposed to last 4 hours, but thank God Kotin can't "teach" for more than 2 hours.

3 pm: Either go home to read or play with children or take a taxi to New Taffo (about 20 mins. and 70 cents away) for the internet. Sometimes the Wat/San (Health and Water Sanitation) crew will meet at the spot (bar) for a soda or beer.

6 pm: Dinner. Sometimes more rice and pasta, sometimes red red (black eyed peas with fried plantians swimming in palm oil), sometimes I get chicken or goat varies.

7 pm: Another bucket bath. By the end the day I am pretty grimey from waling on dirt roads and sweating.

7:30 pm: Read, write in my journal, or do a soduko or crossword puzzel with my headlamp on because though I have a light in my room it's blue and not very bright.

8:30 or 9 pm: Sleep.

Exciting stuff.