Someone recently asked me what my typical day is like. Well then, let's see...
4:27 am - wake up to the rooster cockadoodledooing outside my window without even the hint of a sunrise on the horizon; after banging my tin walls enough he goes away and crows somewhere else. I fall back asleep.
6 am - wake up to the sound of my neighbor scraping coconuts, dogs fighting, and children yelling to each other
6:30 am - walk to the primary school where I do yoga/pilates with some volunteers from Australia before they go to school to teach
7:30 am - return home; try for the 5th time to make fluffy pancakes; end up with flat rubber disks (sometimes flat rubber disks with bananas) that I force down anyway out of pride (or spite?); invite everyone that walks by to join me for breakfast, as is custom, and wonder what I will actually do if someone decides to come in; give the rest of the rubber disks to the dogs outside my door
8:00 am - straighten up my bedroom area (open windows/curtains, clean up my bed/mosquito net, etc.); hear some pitter-pattering feet noises from my kitchen/sitting room, go into the kitchen/sitting room to investigate, find nothing and return to bedroom; notice that the chicken that strutted in during my absence has flapped its way onto my bed; proceed in vain to scare it off my bed only to terrify it into flying repeatedly into the window next to my bed whilst clucking madly and flinging its feathers everywhere; climb onto my bed and manage to corner it as it continues to attempt evasion; wrestle with it a little before managing to pin its wings down and getting a firm hold of it march it to my front door and hurl it into the open void where it flies (more or less) to the ground and continues its search for food, clearly flustered as to what just happened... yes, this happens almost everyday to some extent or another.
8:30 am - wash my clothes by putting some in a bucket with water and detergent and pumping them up and down with a piece of pvc pipe; this actually works really well, though if there is a serious mud stain I will indeed bust out the scrub brush and board. I do my laundry about once a week, sometimes twice if I am washing my sheets.
- clean the rest of my house; kill the hoards of ants that come piling in after the one crumb I missed; fight the absurdly large hornets (that try to nest everywhere) using an old badminton racquet; decide the grass going to my bathroom from my house is far too long and proceed in an attempt to cut it using a cane knife
- work in my delightful garden (which I just started!) - pulling weeds and watering the beds using a leaky bucket that can hold about 1/20 the amount of water I will ultimately need to have watered it
12:00 pm -ish - lunch either at home or with my family at their house in "wai levu," which means big river (since their house is a bit separated from the village and is next to the big river, over which the Prince Williams Bridge spans)
1:00 pm -ish - go snorkeling on the reef or swimming in the waterfall or do a little work on possible projects/research, etc; possibly meet with some villagers or groups and participate in their activities (possibly a fundraiser event or sewing/dying fabric, etc.); last week the ministry of fisheries came to harvest the first ever fish ponds within the village, for which I took pictures.
* Side story: When all of the fish had been harvested from the ponds and everyone was up at the big truck in the village waiting to buy some, I went back to the ponds to show another volunteer where they were and what they were about. En route, we ran into my "uncle," who so happens to be one of my favorite people in the village because he is particularly funny but also because he puts in a solid effort to help me with my Fijian and my settling in in general. He stopped us to ask where we were going and why we hadn't bought any fish. In the midst of our small conversation, I happened to glance down and notice that his pocket was bulging with fish tails! I saw it and just started laughing! I couldn't help it - the idea of this particular guy managing to shove some fish into his pockets while all the chaos of harvesting was happening, then, no one having noticed, try to surreptitiously make his way back to his own house without buying any of the fish, though managing to stop and harass me about it just struck me as hilarious. Of course he started laughing and we both had a good humored moment over it. I tried to take a picture of it but he valiantly did his best to hide it...
4:00 pm - train/go for a run with my sister or play volleyball with my cousins in the village; Fijians are incredibly good at volleyball. I've always prided myself on being a capable athlete - maybe not the best out there but at least capable; but man do they put me to shame! I continue to stick it out though and I'm getting better, or so it would seem - they are sending the ball to my direction more and more. It's the small victories...
5:30/6:00 pm -shower; watch the sunset over the ocean; proceed to cook dinner or walk up to wai levu for dinner with the fam
7:30 pm - share a movie with my family on my laptop or go off to drink grog in the village with my cousins or go play guitar with some really good players or just go home to read!
10:00-12:00am - sleep! Repeat!
So there's not too much going on here right yet. I am working on some pre-project ideas but we technically don't start our actual work until after our early service training in late sept. - mid oct. I'm mostly just settling in and integrating at the moment! It's been great so far!
Next post will be pictures - I have them ready to go but the internet won't cooperate today. Maybe next week. :)