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.
630: I wake up, start boiling water for oatmeal and tea, make the posters for the community meeting, eat, pack my bag, and dress traditionally.
815: One of my counterparts said he would pick me up around 800, but I left my house too late to be picked up at 800. I do not know if he had already driven past, so I get on the first khumbi that drives past. Unfortunately, I do not have the correct amount in small change, and the conductor does not want to break my 50, so I pay with all the change I have, which is about E1.50 short.
845: I arrive at the meeting place and my ride shows up about 5 minutes later. Oh well. He has me practice to make sure I am understandable (I had practiced all week with my tutor).
915: There is a quick meeting with everyone who is on the community meeting’s agenda. I am told I will be last. The other presenters take a long time and the tree we are meeting under does not provide much shade, so everyone is hungry and hot by the time it is finally my turn.
1200: I present my data from my community needs assessment on water, HIV stigma, gardening, and orphans and vulnerable children; answer a few questions; and my counterparts talk about permagardening, financial training, and water projects. The man talking about water explains that I am not able to do big development projects like water systems. After we present, the meeting is finished and people who were interested in participating further talked to my counterparts and me.
1315: I get a ride home, and immediately get a phone call from someone wanting to come talk to me now now (Swazi English for right away). I hardly have enough time to change my clothes before she shows up. It turns out she wants money from me for a fence project (if only she’d gone to the meeting I just had where I explained I have no money to hand out!). I explain this and some alternatives.
1430: I finally get to make my lunch and relax after my long morning. Eventually I do some reading and then I do some work in my garden.
1700: siSwati lesson. I was worn out from the busy week and morning, and I really hate daily siSwati lessons, so I purposefully direct the lesson to a conversation about wedding traditions rather than talking siSwati.
1900: I fix dinner.
1930: I work on my VRF, the Volunteer Reporting Form, which is due a few days later. In Swaziland, PCVs report on their work biannually.
2115: I start getting ready for bed.