June 27, 2014
6 am- Wake up, workout, eat breakfast.
For my workout, I usually do an Insanity video, but break up the week with short runs. Running along the main road, I get stares, cheers, and sometimes running buddies in the form of kids jogging along beside me in their 10-birr sandals. People clapping, giving me a thumbs up, and saying “Izosh,” (be strong), in addition to the sun coming up behind the foothills of the Bale Mountains, makes for a pretty good start to the day.
8:30am – 12 pm- Work.
Now, during the first three months Peace Corps encourages us not to start any work projects, but just to settle in and work on our Community Needs Assessment report. So, a busy workday is completing one interview and setting up another (checking two things off my very short To-Do List). A slow workday, consists of reading through the Amharic Language Manual, trying to memorize 4 or 5 words from my Oromifa dictionary, doodling, and/or reading a book. This routine would sometimes be broken up by coffee breaks, when my friends, Tarik and Gutaa, and I would head over to the buna bet for a macchiato.
Sometimes I make greens, cabbage, rice, potatoes, or tomato salad at home or I meet up with my site mate, Amanda, for a deluxe meal of Bayinet (a variety of vegetables and wat with injera) and Tagabino (a thick wat made from the flour of different beans, known as shiro) at the Wabe Shabele Hotel, affectionately known to us as “Old Faithful.” All other restaurants, besides the T’ibs bet, never seemed to live up to Wabe Shabele or ever have any vegetables in their Bayinet.
When we are feeling especially ravenous, we head to the T’ibs bet for a meal of grilled chopped beef and onion, kept hot on a clay dish with simmering coals underneath.
1:30-5:30 pm- House work.
The afternoons are filled with lots of nothing. Reading, watching movies or TV shows on my laptop, and doing crossword puzzles make up a normal weekday. Occasionally, writing a section of my CNA report makes me feel extra productive. Although, sometimes I feel quite restless, I have come to enjoy this alone time just to relax.
2:30 pm- Buna break.
Most days, my neighbors, Mimi and Fire, invite me over for afternoon coffee. As we sip our very sweetened coffee with milk, we watch Komud (the Bollywood drama I wrote about in an earlier blog) with fascination.
6 pm- Dinner.
Dinner usually consists of leftovers from lunch or a freshly cooked one-pot meal of the same types of food mentioned above. Dinner is usually followed by dessert of a banana and peanut butter or a large plate (I don’t have any bowls yet) of popcorn. Occasionally, my compound friends, Yarid and Mimi (a different one), will invite me over for dinner, coffee, and an Ethiopian prank show that seems to show the exact same episode over and over again. Ethiopians don’t seem to notice, however, they laugh genuinely at the same spots every time.
9 pm- Bedtime.
(I think I am turning into an old lady).
Saturday and Sunday
Weekends consist mostly of my weekday afternoons, being lazy and drinking coffee with laundry and cleaning thrown into the mix. Saturday mornings I head to market to pick up my week’s supply of bananas, mangoes, cabbage, greens, avocados, tomatoes, onions, and garlic. The market is a trying place, people calling out at you, laughing when you ask how much a kilo of banana costs, kids trying to sell you soap or gum. Recently, with the rainy season in full blow, the market is also just a huge pile of gooey, slippery, depth-deceiving mud that I try to navigate with out falling flat on my face.
It is a not a super exciting life, but it is a good one, full of friends, good food, and coffee (of course). Although the work is not what I expected it to be, I hope planning and implementation of environmental and educational projects will start soon.