Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Usually when I post on this blog, I'm posting about something unusual or exciting. As delighted as you likely are to read about all my awesome vacations, perhaps more enlightening would be a description of my everyday. Here it is:

6:30 am
My alarm goes off. I go back to bed.

6:45 am
My alarm goes off again. I can hear my host father building the cooking fire outside and my host mother bustling the younger children out of bed. I get up too.

7:00 am
I am not happy to be awake, but I boil water in an eletric kettle for a quick wash. I dress, gather my school things and generally putter until...

7:30 am
I walk to school.

7:35 am
I arrive at school. I hope the gate is unlocked. If it isn't, I wait for the security guard to let me in. Don't ask me why we have 24-hour security personnel. I haven't the faintest.

7:40 am
There is a morning staff meeting. Sometimes it's long, sometimes short, almost always boring. The principal leads it in English. The educators come from all over southern Africa and not all of them are familiar with seTswana. English is used at school.

7:50 am
On Mondays we have assembly. The learners line up, and there is singing, announcements... Every other day of the week classes start at this time (Mondays are delayed 10 minutes).

From this time until 4 o'clock or even later, I will be at school. I teach my classes, assist other educators, and generally act as a potentially useful hanger-on. I fix computers, tutor learners, attend meetings... It's all very boring once you get used to it, and I am nothing if not used to it. I leave whenever the other staff members do.

5:00 pm
I fetch water. It's a long walk to the tap. It's a longer walk back.

6:00 pm
I cook. By "cook" I usually mean boil water for pasta and smother it in butter and cheese. It never gets old.

7:00 pm
Wash dishes. Empty water basin outside.

8:00 pm
Get ready for bed.

9:00 pm
In bed, maybe with a book, maybe a movie, maybe with 10 episodes of Friends, or maybe with nothing... No matter what I'll be asleep before 10 pm.

Then I do it all over again. On the weekends I substitute trips to town, laundry and washing my hair with attending school.

Just finished Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller. Excellent! I highly recommend it for anyone interested in the experience of white Africans.

Just started At Bertram's Hotel by Agatha Christie. Peace Corps South Africa has a great library, huh?

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