I thought that today I could give you a brief glimpse into what a typical day for me might look like. Let's go for a ride, shall we?
Most mornings I get up around 7:00 or 7:30. No need for alarm clocks since I have a remarkably playful kitten and an eastern-facing window-- not to mention a four-year old brother who's favorite morning activity is usually yelling. As I pull back my mosquito net and search for where Bobo (that's my new kitty) has hidden my flip-flops I can hear roosters greeting the morning, the rhythmic bom-bom bom-bom of women all round Timbi Tounni pounding rice, hot peppers, leafs, anything really in their piles. If I get up early enough I can hear the call to prayer from the grande mosque on the other side of the main road. Though admittedly that's not usually a happy day since the first call comes at 6:00 or earlier.
|Lil' sister and Bobo|
For the next few hours I embrace a spending a little time on my lonesome. After putting on water to boil for my tasty pot-o-oatmeal and mug of tea I take a mental break from being in Guinea to do some yoga. (An absolute necessity with a lumpy bed and tiny milking stools for chairs. No ergonomics here!) A major benefit of living in a one-room house is that it's easy to watch things bubbling on the stove while I'm in the bedroom! Once I'm all stretched out and in good working order for the day, I settle in for breakfast and some letter writing or book reading. Then there's the fun of washing dishes, always battling the chickens to get my job done and keep the dishes clean. It's become so important for me to follow a routine each morning, to slowly but surely create something reassuring and regular in this often unfamiliar place.
After my morning ritual is when the really fun starts. So many options, so little time. For being a place without many American amenities, it might seem strange that I'm not bored and feel I don't have enough time, but truly I do. Some mornings I head off to the weekly market to stock up on fresh produce for the coming days-- mangoes, avocados, and peanut butter galore. Others I meet with local gardening groupements to discuss their current practices & challenges and garner insight into how I can best aid my community, bicycle through town and salue everyone I know (a BIG part of the first 3 months in Peace Corps), attend random trainings and community events (literacy training, glasses distribution, etc.), or undertake the ever challenging tast of washing my laundry. As a fun side note: running water is what I miss most in Guinea. Not showers, but the simple luxury of not having to tote all my water in jugs across the town or walk to the stream on the edge of town to do my laundry.
In the final hours of daylight, it's dish washed, bathing, and maybe a little frisbee playing before the cockroaches and ants come out for the evening. Another day in Guinea comes to a close with some more BBC, journaling, and phone chatting. And, of course, there's always the pure joy of collapsing back into my bed for some well deserved rest and sweet dreams.
Thanks for joining me for the atypical that has become my new normal here in Guinea. It never fails to amaze me just how quickly that definition can change!