NOTE: I actually wrote this last week but never posted it. Two blog entries in two days!…very unlike me. I am working on being a better blogger (it’s funny that this word is now a noun).
I am going back to Morogoro around the 20th of March for inter-service training, so look for pictures around then.
Since I don’t really know what to write at the moment, I will just go through a typical day in my life. To be exact, this particular day in my life was yesterday:
I wake at 5:40 AM. And by wake I mean that my alarm goes off at 5:40 AM and I push snooze every five minutes for an hour. At 6:40 AM, I actually get out of bed. I get ready for school and feed my dog.
I arrive at school at 7:15 AM. I am the second teacher to arrive at school this day. Everyday the teachers have to write their names and the time they arrive in a log book. No matter what time I get there, I always write 5 minutes after the last teacher that arrived (which is always at least 10 minutes earlier than when I actually arrive). I used to write the real time and then watch the next teacher come in 30 minutes after I arrived and write the same time, so I stopped.
I go to the library. The library is kind of my sanctuary. It is my office and I am the makeshift librarian of it. Currently, I am trying to put call numbers on all the books. This is a thankless job (there are many books), but I think it is necessary as the kids like to take off with things.
As I am putting call numbers on books, the second master comes into the library to inform me there will be no classes today. There will be a teacher meeting and then a school assembly.
I wait in the library for the meeting to begin. All of a sudden I hear girls screaming and crying. I go to the window and look out. Another teacher has taken a stick and is beating all the Form 1 girls. Someone took some flour from the school store and the beatings of all the girls won’t stop until someone confesses. This continues for about an hour, much to my dismay.
There is nothing I can do about it. Corporal punishment is completely legal here and in wide use. I just wish I could turn off my hearing. (Ironically, this week the school’s debate was on corporal punishment—one of the points against it was that it leads to deforestation—ha.)
I sit through a four hour meeting. The entire time I am thinking that my Swahili (which I had thought was getting better) is actually not good at all. I have no idea what is being said.
The meeting is finally adjourned and the whole school gets together. I am called upon to go and search a student’s belongings (the girl students live at the school). I do as I am told (with another teacher), and we find two cell phones in one girl’s trunk. The students are not allowed to have cell phones. The higher level boys also stay at school and their belongings are also searched. About 12 cell phones are found.
I am then called on again to go and fetch my hammer. I do so. I return to the school, with my hammer, to find the school assembly in session. I give my hammer to another teacher and, much to my surprise, he uses the hammer to smash every single phone and power cord in front of the whole school. Point made.
This meeting lasts forever too and, once again, I have no idea what is being said. I finally get home around 6:00 PM. I only have an hour before dark. Not having electricity makes me very aware of daylight. I quickly get on my bike and bike into the village (about a 10 minute ride). I buy bread and bananas. It costs $0.67 for a loaf of bread and 5 bananas. Tonight I will eat a peanut butter and banana sandwich (a staple in my diet). I arrive home at 6:30 PM. Thirty minutes before dark. Unfortunately, I have no water. ‘This rainy season has been rather lacking on the rain,’ I think, begrudgingly. I go and fetch water.
Luckily, I have a bunch of really excellent students who help me carry a few buckets of water to my house. The fact that I am white and educated means that people don’t think I am capable of doing any physical work. By the time I leave here, I plan on proving them all wrong. This is not the day to make this point, however. I am chasing the sun. I light my stove. Since school started I have taken to using my kerosene stove. It smells awful and burns incredibly dirty, but it only takes seconds to light. I heat my water. Some volunteers take cold bucket baths to save time. The warm bucket bath has become the best part of my day, however. For this, I always heat my water. I get in the shower at 7:05 PM. The sun has set, but there is still a little light lingering.
I get nice and clean, and go to make my sandwich. A PB&B sandwich never tasted so good (with the one exception of eating one at the top of a mountain). It is now dark. I light my candles, positioned throughout my house in wine bottles, and sit at my desk to prepare lesson notes for the next day. I do this for about an hour. It is now 8:30 PM. I am exhausted. Time for bed. I crawl beneath my bed net and fall asleep immediately to the sound of roosters crowing. Tomorrow morning will come sooner than I’d like it to.