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


They tell you, when you join the Peace Corps, that you’ll have more free time than you’ve ever had in your life. Coming out of 16+ straight years of school, you figure that can hardly not be the case. After all, Peace Corps won’t have homework, right?

You have no idea what they mean until you’re done with training, done with culture shock, at site. I got to Tanzania two Septembers ago; now it’s February. I’ve read over two hundred books, watched innumerable hours of television and movies on my computer, sent hundreds if not thousands of text messages and written what must by this point be about a book’s worth of e-mails, blog posts, and journal entries.

Sometimes I do my job, too.

I taught today, actually had kids in the computer lab for the first time since who knows when. My sitemate Bret called me right after the class ended; when he asked how I was I replied, slightly giddy: “I just taught a class, and it didn’t suck!” Kind soul that he is, we chatted about it for a while before I got around to asking him how he was. “I woke up last night with a 105-degree fever,” he said matter-of-fact-ly. We talked about that for a bit, I gave him my condolences, and we hung up; I called him back a moment later to recommend that he watch a certain TV show, if he needed something to distract him during his convalescence.

Then I was home, having fled the school, as I generally do, as soon as classes ended. I lit my charcoal stove and started boiling bath water, then mixed up some banana bread to use up both the leftover coals and the bananas I’d had for long enough that they had started to support an entire fruit fly civilization. While the water was boiling I did the calisthenics I did every morning, put off today because I knew I’d be bathing later. The water came close to boiling and I took it off the charcoal, put the bread on. I use a makeshift oven consisting of a large pot with a tripod of small rocks in the bottom, topped with a metal tray and a blanket on top of that. The item to be baked sits on the rocks while the blanket provides a reasonable facsimile of a heating element on top. Things tend to burn on the bottom but in general it works pretty well.

Bread safely baking, I dumped the hot water into a bucket, topped it off with some cold water from the tap, and had my bucket bath. Imagine having to bathe from a bucket of water, using a pitcher, and you’ve pretty much got it.

Bathing always makes me tired, I’m not really sure why, and today was no exception. After ascertaining that the bread would not be baked by the start of the class I’d pretty much decided to put off until next week anyway (there were electrical issues the first two days of the week, and I hate for students at the same level to be at different points in my curriculum: it gets too confusing!) I retreated to bed. A cat crawled in next to me and I curled around him. Distant thunder rumbled as the clouds drove sunlight away. It rained for a while, a soothing static that didn’t threaten to come in the windows, that wouldn’t blow under the doors. I don’t actually nod off but I relax into the warmth of the blankets and the cat, eyes closed, breathing even, ears filled with the quiet sound of the rain.


Comment from Grandmom Helen
Time February 10, 2010 at 7:17 pm

No doubt you have heard about all the snow we have been having. Today more snow and wind – not quite strong enough to be a real blizzard but impressive. I am recovering well from my knee replacement. I go to therapy in another building – walking inside, of course. Grandpa Cay is having more trouble with his minor operation which took place while his son was here for support the end of January. We are both doing quite well actually. I am very pleased with the Indian wrap and very different necklace you gave me for Christmas. I need a proper event to wear the wrap! It was goodto see you! We went to Bethany for a meeting at which I represented our Circle the weekend before Rich Hathaway came. It is an interesting job which I need to become more comfortable with. Today I agreed to an update of Norton Internet Security 2010. I hope I did the right thing! I am not eager for a new computer as I am used to this one but I suppose I should consider one soon. There are so many things I should, could do with a computer. I have a great deal to learn!
Have fun! Love, Granmom

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