Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Day in the Life

As per Mom's request, I'm going to give you an idea of what my day to day life is like here.

I wake up around 7:00 for my 8:00 language class. Usually I'll meet up with some other the other five PCTs in my class on the way. We have class until 12:30, and then we head home. I'll hang out with my family for a little bit, maybe practice some Hassaniya or read, then we'll eat lunch around 1:30 or 2:00. Usually we have marru w'il huut, which is basically a big bowl of rice, with some fish and a few cooked veggies in the midddle. Everyone eats out of the same bowl with their right hands (left hands are strictly off limits). I try to nap after lunch, and then I have class again from 4-6:30.

After that, sometimes people head to the local restaurant, which is a little store-front type place with plastic lawn furniture and a TV. They serve "burgers", which are pretty much french baguettes with some chopped up meat, fries, mayo and ketchup. Not my favorite dish, ha. They also do these sort of half fried, half scrambled eggs, which are pretty decent. The owner is really nice; he let's us hang out for as long as we want, and most of the time we don't even buy anything. So sometimes we'll do that, sometimes we'll stop at the internet cafe, sometimes we'll just wander. The nice thing about living in Rosso is that I'm around a lot of other PCTs.

Weekends are usually spent finding new ways to kill time. We do a lot of sitting around trying to read or nap but usually sweating too much to do either. I drink a lot of tea with my family. Do laundry. In the mornings, a bunch of PCTs meet up to play soccer or football or something. I run sometimes. This weekend we're actually organizing a 6 K race out to one of the brousse sites, which should be fun. At the very least, it'll give us something to do, ha. We go on walks outside of town when the temperature drops. Sometimes I'll give an English lesson.

So that's pretty much it. We also have sessions at the center every once in a while. Right now, GEE is in model GMC, which means we get to plan and teach our own lessons to some of the local girls. So GEE trainees do that in the mornings, instead of language class. Model GMC is really good practice, but we're getting tested in Hassaniya in two weeks and I need all the class time I can get, so it's a trade-off. Also, I'm not going to be teaching any classes until I get my GMC set up, which won't be until January at the absolute earliest.

To answer Mom's question about me being on my own at site: that's not going to change. And I'm not the only one who's going to be at site by myself. I'd like to think that they chose us to be on our own for a reason, and that they considered the site itself when deciding whether or not to put more than one volunteer there. Who knows. Either way, I'm very close to Atar. I can travel in region whenever I feel the urge to see another volunteer. Obviously, they want you to spend most of your time at site, but I'm not really that worried about it. I might get bored, and I'm sure there will be times when I wish I had another American there, but in the long run I don't think it's going to be that big a deal. And who knows, maybe next year they'll give me a site mate! In the mean time, I'll do a lot of reading, a lot of sitting, drinking tea, eating dates, gardening, hiking, running, writing, and, of course, educating and empowering Mauritania girls.

Ok, that's it for now. My partner and I are giving our lesson on Friday, so I'll let you know how it goes!


Big Daddio said...

Hi Elise, I am Lindsay Hansen's dad (Dennis Hansen) and have enjoyed reading your blog. Sounds like you and Lindsay will be seeing a bit of each other. Keep up the good work and thanks for the updates!

Nicole said...

Laundry is a great way to kill time...and work your biceps.

Anonymous said...

Really enjoyed your posting of the routine over there. It helps to be able to visualize what your day is like. Kudos on the teaching session. I am certain you will be very good at teaching in another language. Talking with your hands sometimes comes in handy. Ha! I'm on a roll...
Love, Mom