We seem to have fallen into a routine here. We get up around 6, earlier for me if I want to go for a run, we go to class. Before class, we do some yoga with one of the guys then it is into two hours of Bislama class. Depending on the day, we either roll from Bislama class into technical training or we head home. On days with more training, I usually end up sitting under the mango tree waiting for my ride into the next village and trying to poke chickens*. We have technical training, which is by and large frustrating, or we have training about all the horrible ways we are going to be maimed and killed by disaster and disease. Those are the fun days. I’m serious, those trainings tend to be interesting and entertaining. On our off days, we usually head back to the house and eat lunch with a nice nap after lunch. The napping after lunch thing is awesome. Then we find something to do for a few hours, laundry, go to the garden, sit and read, something like that until around 4 when we do a bit of martial arts and end with a short lesson with the kids. Those are pretty funny. After teaching the kids it is usually dinner time which is shortly followed by us going to our sleeping house and studying, bathing and going to bed. Bedtime is sometime between 8 and 9 pm. This is a complete reversal of times for me.
We are finally figuring out this routine in time to change it all. We are only a few weeks from finishing training and heading off to our site where we will have to re-determine everything. At the point that I am writing this, we still don’t know our site. We have some guesses and some rumors but nothing is confirmed. I am looking forward to getting to site. Not because I don’t like training, mostly it is fine and dandy, but because I want that sense of being able to establish routines I want to establish and get into habits I want to have. I know I will be looked at strangely when I go for a run, but I want to get that out of the way and get into the part where my eccentricities are just a part of the Peace Corps volunteer and not cause for comment anymore. I’m also looking forward to being part of a community and to start addressing some of the things I would like to address in my current community but don’t want to start and not finish. Hopefully, when the nearby village gets a volunteer, that volunteer will be able to influence the village I’ve been living in.
The process for a place to get a volunteer is a long one and they have to really want a volunteer for it to happen. The village up from ours has had two rounds of health volunteers and has been overwhelmed with how great they have been. The first one facilitated the building of a water supply to the village which cut out the 1 hour walk to the nearest water source. The second one facilitated building water seal and pit toilets which made their beachfront area a place to relax as opposed to a place to poop. They are probably getting another volunteer in this round and they already have things and ideas they want from the volunteer, including workshops on cancer, diabetes, STIs and nutrition. They are a pretty active village and whoever is placed there is going to be living the easy life I think.
Here is your Bislama trivia for the day. The word for diabetes in Bislama is “sick sugar.” They both don’t beat around the bush and have a fantastically descriptive way of talking here. Breastfeeding is “giving titty” and uterus is “baby basket.” I’m still having entirely too much fun with the language.
*A word about poking chickens. I am convinced that the chickens here are made entirely of feathers with beak and legs stuck on to make them recognizably chickens. So, when I get the chance, I check to see if there is any chicken inside all the feathers. Most of the chickens are too smart for that and just don’t stay near humans but there are a couple of adolescent chickens that hang out under the same mango tree which haven’t developed and appropriate fear of humans yet. If I sit still, they wander close enough to poke which is really funny. They squawk, flap their wings a whole bunch, and run off. If they happen to hit the matt in the process, they skid like a dog on a tile floor which only makes the whole thing funnier. Poking chickens has become something of a pastime.