The last time I did a Day In the Life post, I was in Pre-Service Training. Now I am an official Peace Corps Colombia Volunteer, but my days haven’t quite normalized yet. For the first three months I will be focusing on observing classes and integrating in the community.
My day actually started about an hour earlier than this when I reluctantly woke up, made my daily egg sandwich, and showered. The class I was observing this day started at 7, but I live about 5 minutes from the school and I knew they wouldn’t start on time.
I work with 2 different schools. The one I was at this day has at least one dog on campus at all times. This is Cassandra, the definitive school dog (while I think the others just come in with the students). She likes to hang out in the auditorium, where the class I was observing is held, because there’s air conditioning there.
I thought I would be observing the regular morning 5th grade English class, but it turned out to be a class for all three 5th grade classes at the school. The teachers talked about the different stages of life and what we do at each one, ultimately building to the message that our bodies are private and belong only to us, and that if anyone tries to do anything to our bodies that they shouldn’t be, we need to tell someone. Certainly not the class I was expecting, but interesting to sit in on!
This day turned out to be El Día de Niñas en TIC or Girls in ICT (Information and Communications Technology Day). A bunch of 11th grade boys had set up a DJ system in the courtyard and were pumping jams and encouraging girls to pursue careers in ICT. There were also some signs and a picture frame being used for pictures.
Next I sat in on a 10th grade English class. There’s another group of volunteers here for the month from LoveTEFL. One of them took about 1/3 of the class out to do some activities, which was kind of nice because the class was then small enough that we could go around and do student intros. They had to introduce themselves, say how old they were, talk about what they like, and tell me what their future plans were. Then they worked on a worksheet in small groups to practice present/past/future perfect tenses.
Next I sat in on half of an 11th grade class (the last grade in this school). They were reviewing something that was admittedly way over my head. Should I, as an English teacher, be admitting this?
That 11th grade test took a quiz the second half, so I headed upstairs to sit with another 10th grade class…but then these ladies found me. They are students at a university in Barranquilla and are apparently taking classes from one of the Peace Corps staff members/trainers. She sent them to talk to me about what I am doing here and what Peace Corps does. At the end, they asked for a picture…so I took that as my chance to ask for one too. I’m integrating quite nicely in that regard.
I headed home and sat down to watch a few minutes of news while the black beans I was cooking for lunch did their thing in the pressure cooker.
I remembered that I had a few things that I wanted to wash, so I headed out to the patio to take care of my laundry. My current host family uses their washing machine for everything, which I am very grateful for. My training host family was very particular about what they machine washed (and therefore about what I machine washed), so I spent hours and hours sweating over hand-washing my clothes in portable basins that I was constantly filling and emptying. I am thankful both for this washing machine and the much more convenient basin with a drain.
Finally my beans were almost ready, so I got to work on the corn salsa that I was going to eat with them on the homemade flour tortillas that my sitemate Megan made for me and my family.
FINALLY – seriously, look at those time stamps – I got to eat this beautiful lunch.
I’m exhausted, so I head into my room to watch a movie (Argo) and take a nap.
When I come out, the patio is packed! My host mom is working on establishing a foundation for people with disabilities to get assistance in getting education and job training, since that is a tough thing to come by here. Her cousin and niece have been over a lot to help with it, and my host sister’s boyfriend was visiting too. My host sister and her boyfriend invited me to watch a softball game at 7, so I decided I would skip rugby practice to go to that…but then a neighbor came over to talk to me about English classes and time got away from me and that didn’t happen.
Since I’m not going to rugby or softball, I make my smoothie dinner. I really need to learn not to grab my bananas by their stems. Bananas here are so beautifully ripe when picked that the peels just fall off of them. They’re also one of the most wonderfully cheap fruits around.
My host sister (not the one pictured here) is leaving soon for med school stuff, so she’s been working on a project for her boyfriend that her mom has mostly really been working on. I went out and helped them out (because crafts!!!) and my other host sister colored in one of my coloring books.
By 10:00 I was probably passed out in bed, ready to wake up at 5:30 the next morning.