Today I had what I would consider to be the ultimate day as a volunteer. I thought I would share what that looks like. I want my friends and family at home to know that things are well. I want people thinking of joining Peace Corps to know what it actually looks like when you have a "productive" day. I want my Peace Corps friends to not mock me for my Pollyanna post. Mostly, however, I want to document the good times, because even though most days are good days, you end up with very few of them being what you hoped for.
My perfect day started at 7:40 when my cell phone alarm went off. Note that my morning gets to start a little later. I don't have to teach until 9, so I like to sleep in a little. One of the very nice things about being a volunteer is setting your own schedule.
At school, I had a typical morning in my math class. However, I did notice how my positive reinforcement plan has really taken off and has gotten my students to be good citizens. Rock on.
During my break between classes one of the teachers came to me with questions about 2-D and 3-D objects and I went over a few things and gave him copies of worksheets I had made for a similar lesson. I helped. Success.
Then, my Life Orientation class (a mixture of health and life skills) and I were talking about rights and in a single one hour period we debated the importance of freedom of religion, shared opinions about whether corporal punishment worked and if it is right, and then discussed human trafficking. I mean, c'mon. That's amazing. I felt inspired.
Next, I went to talk to the HOD (head of department-a vice principal of sorts) about a letter she wanted help on her English with and we ended up having a great conversation about how much we appreciate each other and how excited we were for all of our upcoming projects. I left school on cloud nine.
Speaking of clouds, there wasn't a single one in the sky on my walk home. This made me think I should do my laundry now instead of tomorrow because you never know when it's going to rain. It's finally gotten a lot cooler out which is wonderful, but it's been cloudier, which makes line drying your clothes much more difficult. Did my laundry rockin' out on my i-Pod. My host mother gave me some tips for stain removal. She's the best.
After laundry, I got started on a special dinner I was making for my nearest volunteer neighbor (about 7-8 km away) who was coming for his weekly visit. He had made a request for green bean casserole and even though I could only find packaged cream of mushroom soup and no fried onions, I was going to give it my best. I ended up frying my own onions which was actually kind of fun and really tasty. It came out decent. Not my best work, but a good first attempt. He seemed quite pleased and we had a good visit.
When it was time for him to walk back I went with him a part of the ways to get a little exercise, and on my way back I had two excellent chats. One with a guy who works at the clinic and we discussed me possibly getting in there and helping. The other was a student of mine who it was just fun to talk to casually and see her at home.
At home, I had a great phone chat with my hubby, worked on my grant re-write, and then wrote this blog which I had been meaning to do for months. So yeah, it was an awesome, gettin' lots of stuff done kind of day.
I'm not saying it was all grand. I dropped my cheap cell phone into the laundry bucket and it has yet to come back to life. The funny thing is, I didn't even get upset. In a way, that makes it more the perfect Peace Corps day. Because if I've gotten anything out of this experience, it's the ability to take all life's little problems as they come and not get too stressed or wrapped up. And aren't those just the kind of lessons we join Peace Corps for? That's right. Today I won at Peace Corps.
For the friends and family (a little 2 month recap):
-Went to a Peace Corps training, did the half-marathon (thanks for the donations!), did something called kloofing which is like hiking a river, went on a hiking vacation (never again), went to a girl's camp and tried to help out, went to a different training that focused on starting camps in South Africa, and finally made it back to my village.
-Andy went back to America. He got an awesome job. Ask him about it.
-I'm sticking around here because I have stuff to do unlike what I would have in San Fran. Things are going really well for me solo. It's giving me a whole new perspective on Peace Corps and I'm really digging the time I have to think and be quiet for a change.
-I'll be headed to the States in June for a little visit. If you're going to be in the San Fran or Kansas City area come see me!
-Current projects: finishing my last quarter of teaching, a library, an HIV/AIDS camp, a girl's empowerment camp, and a women's health/family planning seminar. Also, I'm perfecting homemade salsa.
PS-Please write me emails and letters. They make me feel loved.