A week in the life of a PCV in Swaziland: Sunday

When thinking about writing about a normal day as a community health PCV in Swaziland, I just laughed. There are no normal days.

I picked a week to report on where I had very little on my calendar to start with, and by the end of the week, I was exhausted from the number of activities that came up. Sometimes, though, the week does not get filled with activities and sometimes I know the week will be extremely busy before it starts.

I will be posting each day this week with the activities I did on the corresponding day a few weeks ago.

Remember that this is only representative of my life. Other PCVs in Swaziland have very different schedules and are working on different projects and activities in their communities. We are supposed to be meeting the needs of our communities, and of course, each of our 70-some communities have different needs, which means we work on different projects across the country.


730: Out of bed. My first activity of the morning is to check the floor for insects and determine the level of attack (none today). Then I boil hot water for tea and oatmeal, followed by sweeping my floor. While eating, I check email, WhatsApp, and WordPress.

800: Make a mental list of chores before my visitors arrive, which includes baking butternut muffins, washing dishes, cleaning the kitchen, and putting a few things away. I start off with peeling and steaming the butternut. While it is cooking, I fetch water for washing dishes and fill my large kettle, which I will boil and filter to use for drinking. I also fill the 20-liter bucket of water I keep in my room.

900: Make the batter for the muffins and start baking. I can only bake 10 at a time, which I then have to let cool before removing from the reusable muffin cups I have, and then refill to bake more. Muffins and cupcakes are a slow process with my setup. While baking, I wash dishes.

1100: I arrange my dishes on egg cartons to dry and clean my kitchen counter. I also cleaned out my fridge, took a bag of fruit and veggie remains to my compost pile, and took a bag of trash to the trash pit to be burned.

1200: I boil the water, which takes 30 minutes and then many hours to cool. I check on my garden, because I will be showing it to my visitors, and I remove some of the trash I dug up for easier walking.

1315: My visitors arrive, and they include a nurse Peace Corps Volunteer who does not live with a family and her two friends visiting from the U.S. We chat about life as a PCV and I introduce my family and homestead to my visitors.

1600: I never really had lunch, so I finally eat a muffin and popcorn while drinking a cup of coffee. I receive a text message from my siSwati tutor asking to have lessons every day this week so that she can get paid her usual amount and have time off to study for exams at school, so we make a plan for the week.

1700: I return to my garden to remove more trash and old butternut plants.

1800: Back inside because it’s getting dark, I sweep my room and call Dad on WhatsApp.

1845: I make dinner (fried egg and toast) and watch the final two episodes of Game of Thrones Season Five. It took seven months to reread the five books and rewatch the episodes.

2245: Bedtime.

*On Sundays when I go to church, I arrive around 1015 and the service lasts until sometime between 1230 and 130.

Check out Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

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