The views expressed herein are mine and not those of the Peace Corps.



Useful Acronyms

PC Peace Corps
ICT Information & Communications Technology
PCT Peace Corps Trainee (pre-swearing-in)
PCV Peace Corps Volunteer (post-swearing-in)
PST Pre-Service Training
CBT Community-Based Training


It’s Tuesday night. Even before the power goes out, my house is peacefully quiet: the cats entertaining themselves with their toys, the neighbor’s music at a reasonable level since I knocked on the door at 1 A.M. Saturday night and grouchily informed them that we couldn’t sleep because of the music. It’s raining lightly, but I can only hear it when I leave my room and enter the ceiling-less parts of the house, where there’s nothing between me and the corrugated metal roof.

The power comes on, tantalizingly, for a few seconds. Then it’s off again.

A couple minutes later it comes on again, this time for longer. I head to the kitchen to put basins out under the roof to catch some water. If it rains hard enough I can bathe guiltlessly in clean rainwater, and I’m getting to the point where bathing is necessary. I have optimistically entered the choo without a flashlight or lantern when the power goes out again. I leave carefully, not wanting to explain to the medical officer how I sprained my ankle in a squat toilet. My computer’s been charging and claims to have an hour of battery life left, so the cats join me in bed, with only the computer as illumination (flashlight, lantern, solar light turned off to save the light).

Teaching today was exhausting, and I emerged with a terrible headache. Tuesdays are my worst days, three eighty-minute periods scattered throughout the day (I prefer to have all my periods in a block, preferably first thing in the morning so I can get them over with). Three of my eleven student computers are not working, will not in fact turn on, which I suspect is because the students persist in essentially unplugging them rather than shutting them down properly. Every class has had several extensive lessons on how and why to shut down a computer properly but most of the students don’t pay a lick of attention to what I say, only wanting to get to the computers. It’s partially my fault–I’m not a very good teacher–and partially their fault. Fault aside, it’s incredibly frustrating. I like everything about being here except for teaching, and when I’m not actually teaching (or suffering from the aftermath) it’s easy to convince myself that I can do it better, that I’ll be able to stay, that the remaining eighteen months will fly by. But, running around the lab to shut down the computers properly before the UPSes give out because the power’s just gone, I’m not so sure. “Shut the computers down, please! The power is out!” I tell the students. They sit and look at the screens, watch me as I frantically pound keyboards, the four-key sequence to shut down the machines ingrained in my mind.

Write a comment