Wednesday, June 6, 2007

A day in the Life

As promised, this blog entry can give you all a glimpse into my ‘work’ as a PCV during the 3 month Community Entry Phase. When we’re not actually supposed to be ‘working,’ but assessing the needs of our community.

7-10am
Wake up and greet the fam.
Yoga 1 hour (blissful exercise and meditation).
Bucket bath
Sweep room (sand everywhere)
Breakfast (while listening to the BBC).

Anywhere from 9:30am-1pm
‘Work.’
This includes: greeting people, going to the school and speaking with teachers, greeting people at the Health post, going to the mayor’s office to track down various lists of MORE people to greet, working on scholarship interviews for a PC girls scholarship program, meeting with my counterpart, running errands (market, post office etc.).

1-2pm
Lunch with the fam.

2-5pm
Retreat to my room for some solo/sweaty time. It’s too hot to do anything. No one is out or at work. No one.
Nap
Update blog entries
Log my greetings and work in my daily work journal
Study Pulaar!
Drink tea with fam/practice Pulaar.
Paperwork: Look over health binder for projects and required assessments to do before Go over health binder and training binder and make lists of things to do before IST (community maps, community entry surveys, PC forms etc). Do them!
Text other PCVs (I have taken it upon myself to be the morale booster and check in on everyone with cell phone reception).
Set work goals for tomorrow.

5-Dark (8pmish)
Go out (errands, more greetings, meetings with people, greet neighbors, wander around town and get to know new routes and paths).
‘General maintenance’ (Filling up on water, filtering water, sweeping room (more sand), doing laundry, bucket bath, sometimes phone calls with family and friends etc).
Hang out with fam/practice pulaar/wait for dinner/help cook (kind of).
Help sisters and their friends with homework/English especially

9:30 pm
Dinner

10pm-10:30
Bedtime! (aka. Sweat my butt off until I finally fall asleep).

Things I do weekly:
Go into the next town over (23k away) to spend the day with other volunteers and satisfy all internet/banking needs. (Update the blog!)
Loumo! (Weekly market).
Vaccination Day (I like to stop by and visit with women sitting around, so that they know my face. The gears are turning regarding how to productively use that idle sitting and waiting time with a captive audience of concerned women!)
Laundry (takes forever. Literally the better half of a day)

Monthly
Allowed 4 days per month free at the regional house to decompress, be with other volunteers, watch movies, cook ‘American’ food etc. It takes me 2 days (1 on each end) to even get there though! That is an adventure in and of itself.

It’s such a strange existence that even when you aren’t “working” everything you do is still work! Living in a new culture, speaking a new language, the climate, everything is hard and exhausting, and rewarding all at the same time. And it is all work.

2 comments:

Lisa W. said...

Hey Sweetie! Question: you keep mentioning your counterpart... who is that?

Caitlin said...

Thanks for asking Lisa. Good call! PCVs typically have 2 counterparts, an official one and a local one. I actually only have a local one who is also my sister. They are Senegalese locals who are sort of responsible for you. Usually involved in the community in a health related field. Mine is the president of several women's and social health groups. They are not our bosses, but someone to collaborate with, introduce us to important people and help us out along the way. Hope that clears things up!