Wednesday, March 5, 2008

A Day in Our Life


There is no such thing as a typical day in anyone’s life. Below is a highly selective composite of our “typical day” activities.

I usually wake between 5:30-6:00 am after a sleep interruptus of dogfights, roosters, geckos chirping, and church bells. After about ½ hour of stretching and exercises, it is time to make a cup of what some call coffee. Then it is trying to remember the brilliant thoughts that raced through my head that night, select a few for entry in my journal.

Mary gets up around 7:30, makes her tea and relates to me her crazy, convoluted dreams while I reciprocate with my own convoluted thoughts.

Breakfast for Mary is almost always oatmeal with bananas and/or raisins. For me, I prefer toast with peanut butter and when available eggs. Sometimes our host family brings us a loaf of bread, or when we walk across the road to the small store, we buy a couple of extra loafs for them. Samoan breakfast (called morning tea) is very light compared to American ours.

Mornings are a busy time. There is the parade of school children dressed in their uniforms after they have done their early morning chores. For us lately, we have been spending our mornings preparing what was once the family’s trash heap into a garden. Mary also usually does her washing at this time or does her favorite thing, which is to take the bus to the Peace Corp office to catch up on email or to try and find something she can cook. By noon, the sun takes its toll. It is time to rest.

Lunch is typically the big meal of the day and consists of canned mackerel in a soup with some type of homegrown vegetable, rice, or ramen noodles. The side dish can be either breadfruit or taro. When our host family is in the chips, chicken quarters or mutton flaps are substituted for the canned mackerel.

At 2:00, it is time to go to the local primary school to teach the teachers about computers. This process has been mostly going, only to find they have some meeting or whatever. No problem, we are a patient lot and get ready for the next day.

Interspersed throughout the day are periods of contacting various government agencies about their services and arranging meetings, doing Peace Corps paperwork, and studying Samoan.

Later in the afternoon, it is usually back to water the garden and do some weeding. About 6:00 the church bells ring and it is “Sa”, prayer time when everyone has to be in their house. The evening meal (called evening tea) is again a very light meal, many times consisting of a rice-coconut cream dish, or a peanut butter sandwich with sandwich cookies as a special treat. We also have started having green salads from the leaves of a bush behind of house. Sometimes, Mary finds food she can cook. This is usually in addition to what we get from our host family.

The evenings are typically spent on our porch with the ever-present host family and neighbor children. This is also the time when we meet with the adults of our host family, Peace Corps Committee and village officials to discuss current and proposed projects. By 9:30 we are ready to take our evening shower and hit the ever so good bed, knowing that tomorrow is another day.


Teri said...

Dad, I really loved reading this entry. There are often times during my days where I have a moment of pause to wonder what you are doing right then. I am delighted to hear how much you are enjoying the gardening! Makes me think of the garden you had behind the house on Kenney Place. Remember Sam as a toddler being fascinated with the sprinkler "zones?" Wonder what your Samoan friends would think about that automatic sprinkler system that rose up out of the ground at preprogrammed times of day. Only in America!
Tons of love to you both.

Anonymous said...

Hello Nick and Mary,

It's so great to read your entries! Your typical day sounds really nice and of course brings me back to my time in Honduras. I hope to see you both at an AFS event when you come back!

-Sara Lofstrom

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear that you left. I'm sure the village will miss both of you. Good luck in whatever comes next in your life.