The Day of Never Ending Work

19 Nov

I’ve got a couple other blogs started but they require a little more thought so in the interest of posting SOMETHING let me tell you about my day today. Miracle of all miracles, despite the 5 am bathroom trip, the cat going crazy climbing the curtain and my roommate’s radio I managed to sleep in. Until 8:30! Rwandans don’t understand the concept of sleeping in and lately despite being more tired than ever I’ve been getting fewer hours of sleep than normal. Part of this is due to the fact that my roommate has taken to playing her radio quite late into the evening only to commence again at 5 am.

My new friend Helen the cat has also contributed to my sleeplessness, at first because she was wearing a cone as a result of being spade and it made a lot of noise on the concrete. Now because of a general restlessness, a result of spending most of her time in my room.Next week I shouldn’t have to worry about her trying to go to her old home so she can venture outside to release some of her pent up energy.

Back on track, so when I finally got out of bed and dressed the first order of business was breakfast. Oddly the electricity wasn’t on (later it I figured it was because the guy in charge of monitoring it was out of town) so tea/coffee wasn’t an option. I settled for pineapple and almonds (from my mom’s most recent and totally awesome care package). After breakfast I did the few dishes from last night’s dinner and lamented about how I had slept in and would now have to do the housework in the heat of the morning. Before starting the laundry I put the potatoes out in the sun in an attempt to get a leg up on the mold situation that set in.

In order to allow ample time to dry my bedding was first up. Fortunately it cooled off a bit, but then it started to rain, a drizzle at first and then more earnestly. The rain didn’t cramp my style because I was protected since I was in my shower. I continued with laundry figuring the sun would come out eventually and my stuff would dry. Still I didn’t want to take any chances to I used my clothesline and rope to make a line in the common room so the bedding could get a jumpstart on drying.

Laundry finished around noon and still it rained. I needed to go to town to buy a broom and some phone credit but debated going in the rain (I become more Rwandan every day). I didn’t want to put off cleaning the floors so I put on my raincoat and headed to town.

Next up was cleaning the floors so I tidied up in my room and then swept my two rooms, the store room, and the common room. Then my least favorite activity, mopping. There are two ways people mop here. The first is using a rag and a bucket of water. This is how I had to mop at my host family’s and it’s my least favorite. The other method involves dumping water on the floor and using a squeegee to push it outside, how I normally mop. Due to the nature of this week’s mess I used both methods, though in different places. I was hoping that my roommate would mop the floors this week since I did it last week, but she worked today and I didn’t feel like waiting around.

We used to have an umukozi (house worker) that would do all this stuff but we had to let her go for reasons I’ll explain in another blog.

By this time it’s almost two so I figure it’s about time to eat something. So I light the charcoal stove to reheat leftovers from last night. I have a gas stove that I’ve been using more since cooking for myself (previously my umukozi did most of the cooking), but I think the wicks need replacing because it seems to take longer than it should.I decided that this rainy day was a good one to make a soup so I started cutting veggies up to start cooking after lunch was heated.

The soup has yellow lentils (bought in Kigali at swear-in) which I cooked for 30 minutes before adding sliced potatoes. After letting those cook for a bit I added some sliced carrots, onion, and what I thought were bay leaves from the market. Still not sure, but they added good flavor. After another hour or so I added garlic powder, another chicken bouillon packet (both from a care package) and some salt.

It finally quit raining after I finished eating so I moved the laundry outside to catch the last couple hours of sunlight and did the rest of the dishes. I figured by this time I was due a rest so I read my kindle for awhile until it was time to check on the soup.

I went outside and realized that I don’t enjoy the sunset outside enough so I pulled weeds in the garden for 40 minutes or so. With the last rays of light I washed the dirt off my hands and feet and collected my laundry.

Unfortunately the last hours of sunlight weren’t warm enough to really aid in drying the laundry. Fortunately the electricity came on sometime in the late afternoon so I got out the iron and ironed my sheets dry. It would have taken a lot of ironing to dry my blanket and pillowcase so I settled on using my sleeping bag and a t-shirt for my pillow.

By this point it was nearly 8 pm so I dished myself up a bowl of soup and decided to call it a day. Haven’t decided if a movie, reading, or more blogging is on the agenda after this.

Tomorrow is my titulaire’s (my supervisor at work) wedding and despite being invited, I’ve had my fill of weddings. Luckily I’m off the hook for going because it’s at another volunteer’s site which is expensive to get to and he’s not providing a car for employees, as far as I’ve been able to gather. So instead tomorrow I’ll go to church, try to keep my patience while I teach the kiddos This Little Light of Mine and then teach English to some staff from 3-5 pm.

Another busy day tomorrow but hopefully I’ll get the couple things I didn’t get to today done. That would be P90x, baking banana bread, and taking a pumice stone to my feet.

PS I was able to take some pictures of the cat ‘being crazy’ so hopefully I can include them in a post about her.

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One Response to “The Day of Never Ending Work”

  1. Jill teVelde November 21, 2011 at 6:40 pm #

    Sounds like a good day. Many days I wish I could live in a simple atmosphere like you do. However, I’m sure I would miss the modern amenities. Still, there is something to be said for limited electricity and community connections. I liked when you said ‘ I become more Rwandan every day.’ I understand the desire / need to have personal space (probably more than anyone else), however, I hope some day soon you will write about how much enjoyment you had in your community. I sense a division btwn u and them, but I feel it will soften and erode very soon. Love to you my most sweet daughter. !
    love, Llama

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