I woke up at 6:20, as usual, and went through my routine of coffee, bathing, breakfast, packing up and was out the door at 7:30. I have been taking baths at night during the winter, but I forgot last night, so I had a cold morning bucket bath.
On my way to school I nearly died of shock: there was a white man walking through my village!! I can’t adequately explain how surprised I was, and realized that must be how villagers feel when they see me! Anyways, I arrived at school at 7:45 and waited until a kid finally brought the staffroom keys, then started unpacking and getting to work. I had to rush to Grade 5 to give them their spelling homework, which was the first period of the day. Tuesdays-Thursday they don’t have Assembly, so they sing and pray in the classes. So when I walked in, they all started singing and I tried to mask my bewilderment. Thankfully another teacher came in and directed them through the routine, as I had no idea what they needed to do. I gave them their homework, then headed back to the staffroom.
I noticed that a goat had broken into the schoolyard, so I went to chase it out and close the gate. However, as I chased it out, I realized the gate was completely closed! The goats were skinny enough to squeeze through the bars of the gate (winter means food is scarce, so all the village animals are looking a little thin). I chased another goat out a few minutes later, then walked to the far edge of the schoolyard to gather my cardboard compost bin lid that had blown off during the weekend. I was careful to look and listen for snakes in the long grass, and luckily did not see any. I fixed the compost bin, then went back to the staffroom to work.
The school cook brought my lunch (split pea soup and bread) at about 9:20, which I happily scarfed down, then I worked on editing an article for the PCSA newsletter, contacted Darien Book Aid, and responded to a church in my hometown who has books for my school. The principal came in awhile later and told me all about the white guy I had seen (I had mentioned it first thing in the morning). He apparently lives on a farm outside the village, doesn’t actually have a home, and comes into the village to buy liquor or things from the shop. So he’s the village drunk (one of many).
I had talked to the principal yesterday about developing some learner encouragement techniques for the staff to use to motivate the kids, so I bbm’d another PCV who had a bit more teaching experience than I. We messaged back and forth for a while discussing what would work best with the challenges my school faces. I have some good ideas now, and will be working on fine-tuning them over the next few weeks.
I then headed out to the garden to track down the records of produce sales, which I had been trying to get for a week. They keep records in a notebook, but I am also keeping my own records. I found my counterpart and finally got the totals, and then headed back inside. I spent some time working on a blog post about how a chicken has decided to use a flowerpot outside my door as an egg laying spot, worked some of learner of the month criteria, and piddled around a bit.
Then an educator came up to me, asking me to print photos for the sports registration forms. He told me there was a cross country meet in Piet Plessis tomorrow, and after a little bit of hinting, I got myself invited to go! Both my host brother and sister are going, which will be fun. I went back to working on learner of the month and finally settled on some good criteria, which I’ll present to the principal.
At 1:38, my principal handed me a scribbled note about a meeting at 1:40, which I then took to every single teacher in the school and had them read and sign it-typical procedure. Of course, I didn’t get done doing that until almost 1:50, which was fine because the meeting didn’t start until after 2. It was an insurance salesman, and I was a little offended that he didn’t try to sell me anything, hand me that paper he gave everyone else, or even acknowledge me until I bumped into him. So I worked through the meeting, combing through ideas on incorporating Permaculture into the curriculum, a project I’ll be working on through the end of the school year. I headed out at the meeting was wrapping up, at 3pm.
As I walked towards my house, I saw a group of workmen marching into my yard. Today was the day they assembled our new pit latrine. I chose to hide in my room, even though I really needed to pee. I didn’t feel comfortable peeing in an open-air pit latrine mere feet from a dozen men who likely want to marry me. They left after a while, thankfully. I tasted my pickles, which are delicious, frittered away time on my computer, made up a recipe for homemade Hamburger Helper sans hamburger (I used beef soya), made some cookies, and chilled. After washing my hair (didn’t do that this morning, as I didn’t need to), I’ll be burrowing into my warm blankets and drifting off to dreamland.