5-8 Daily Schedules: Not just a Participatory Activities for Community Action tool!

The Daily Schedules is an activity to get a community to examine where its time and resources are going. Through activities like this, problems and resources can be identified. Or, when I did it, you can start a fight between the women and men in the community.

It works something like this. The women make a “daily schedule” for both themselves and the men. The men do the same. The daily schedule should include any day-to-day tasks like cooking as well as what the bulk of the day is spent working on. If these things vary by season, day of the week or anything else, there may be more than one calendar.

Here is an example:

Gaea’s life on a workshop day
5:50 Crawl out of bed and try not to step on any dead rats or lizards (the cats leave us presents)
6:15 Go run
7:00 Get home
7:10 Write Morning Pages (three pages of writing whatever comes out of my head)
8:00 Shower
8:15 Cook and eat breakfast (For varying definitions of cook. Peanut butter doesn’t require a lot of heating.)
8:30 Walk to Lalbeteis to find my co-facilitator
8:45 Walk to the village for the workshop
9:15 Say hi to the chief and start to gather people
9:30 Twiddle my thumbs, write letters to friends, read a book, chat, play with the children, eat grapefruit and naus, translate the rules of football, and otherwise kill time
10:30 Start workshop
11:30 Break for lunch
12:00 Eat laplap and boiled bananas (on good days there is coconut milk and bush cabbage!)
12:45 Spell (aka Siesta time)
1:30 Remind people we are doing a workshop
2:00 Re-start workshop
4:00 Finish workshop
4:30 Chat
5:00 Watch the men grind and drink kava (I drink once in a while, particularly on the first day of a workshop since it is kastom to start an endeavor with kava.)
8:00 Walk home
9:00 Get home (It is dark and still slippery)
9:15 Dinner (hopefully it was given to us, otherwise I have to cook. Or eat more peanut butter.)
9:45 Write
10:00 Shower (again)
10:15 Go to bed.

Gaea’s life on a Non-Workshop Day

7:00 Get up
7:15 Go run
8:00 Get home
8:15 Write
9:00 Cook and eat breakfast
9:30 Do a crossword puzzle
9:45 Clear the table of junk
10:30 Do laundry (I will someday own a washing machine and every day I will tell it that it is a wonderful machine made of genius and rainbows and unicorns. Laundry sucks.)
12:00 Do a logic puzzle
12:30 Cook lunch
1:15 Eat Lunch
2:00 Nap
2:30 Clean the house some more
3:30 Prep for workshops/enter survey results/other work related things
4:00 Go find coconuts and coconut leaves
5:00 Start to cook dinner
6:15 Eat dinner (It takes a long time to cook on a fire)
6:45 Try to ignore the dishes, fail and go do them
7:00 Do another crossword or logic puzzle
7:30 Try to start writing, get interrupted by my host papa
8:30 Start writing
9:00 Jason comes back from the nakamal and interrupts my writing
9:30 Give up on writing
9:45 Shower
10:00 Go to bed

Jason’s life on a work day
5:50 Crawl out of bed
6:15 Train and Meditate
7:00 Write morning pages
7:30 Help prepare breakfast
7:45 Start a fire
8:15 Eat
8:30 Do the dishes and leave for Melsisi
9:20 Arrive in Melsisi, shower quickkly
9:30 Generator goes on and I start my first class
11:30 Generator goes off and my class is finished
11:45 Wander down to my host family’s house in search of food
12:30 Finish storying and go back to my house to nap
2:00 Get up, shower again
2:15 Go to the post and/or store. Buy bread from school
2:30 Generator goes on again, start my second class
4:30 Generator goes off, class finished
4:45 Start computer theory class with teachers
5:30 Finish class, start walking home
6:15 Sun sets
6:30 Arrive home
6:45 Eat
7:00 Do a crossword or logic puzzle
7:45 Shower
8:00 Write in my journal
8:30 Get in bed and read
9:30 Sleep

Jason’s life on a non-work day
7:00 Get up
7:15 Train and meditate
8:00 Shower
8:15 Write morning pages
9:00 Deal with my demanding belly
9:30 Do a crossword puzzle
10:30 Clean the house
12:00 Do a logic puzzle
12:30 Help prepare lunch
1:30 Help eat lunch
2:00 Do the dishes
2:30 Go look for someone to go to the garden with
3:00 Fail to find anyone (they’re already gone most likely)
3:15 Go cut firewood
4:30 Drag firewood back to the kitchen
4:45 Collect coconuts
5:00 Help prepare food
5:30 Wander up to the nakamal and story
6:30 Start grinding kava
7:00 Start drinking kava
7:15 Try to figure out what the heck people are talking about with the limited grasp I have on language
7:30 Shell two
7:45 Ask someone what the heck people are talking about
8:00 Shell three
8:15 Get told about someone giving birth to a snake
8:30 Shell four
8:45 Remain in the dark about what people are saying
9:00 Shell five, give up understanding and go home
9:15 Eat
9:45 Journal
10:00 Shower and bed

When I did this as part of the PHAST workshop (that will be explained in a different post), the women did a very detailed schedule for them and the men. The men didn’t come out looking too good. After a lot of cheeking each other back and forth, they did seem like they were going to start a fight about it. I had to intervene at that point.

The idea here is that by identifying where the most time and energy go, you can identify what the best problems to tackle are or what will prevent change in behaviors. By examining the amount of time individuals spend on an activity, it is often possible to find activities that could be simplified to improve quality of life. For instance, in a community where the women spend an hour or more carrying water from a river, it is less likely that anyone will wash their hands. The water needs to be used for other things.

I put it in the blog as an entertaining look at part of the work I am doing as well as what my life looks like. The schedules are accurate in an idealized kind of way.

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