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A Day in the Life

In the "Cult of Escapism": A Day in the Life

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Day in the Life

I´m often asked what a “day in the life” is like in Peace Corps and my response is often several minutes of babbling, during which the listener loses interest and finds someone more interesting to talk to. I don’t have a concise answer because I don´t have a daily schedule. Which is good. Coming from college and Cubicle America, I prefer a self-made schedule that´s different every day – it just makes it difficult to write this post. But here´s an attempt – maybe this will help me next time I´m asked in person. Unless it´s not the babbling so much as the body odor... 

(Note: The following could be any day of the week, except Sunday, which is soccer day. In an area with about 90% unemployment, Saturdays are like any other day.)

6:30am – 9:00am
Wake up, eat breakfast (either cereal or peanut butter smeared bread) and clean up bat poop. If I have time, I read for about a half hour.

9:00am – Midday
This has nothing to do with this post
Meet somebody to do something. So vague but the best way to specify is through examples: I may be meeting with a group (cooperative, organization, etc.), or following up with small business owners, or teaching a group better management practices, or meeting tourists. It may be none of these things, but those are pretty common activities of mine.

Midday (I stopped wearing a watch a few months ago because in Panamá, time is nearly irrelevant, so “Midday” is what you get.)
Return home, put some music on and exercise. Shower and de-stink just long enough to cook lunch (rice and root vegetables or rice and vegetables, if I have any). Prepare for an afternoon meeting.

3:00pm ish until Late Afternoon
Meeting. Depending on the group, participants will arrive 30 minutes to 2 hours and 30 minutes late. This is normal. My tourism group is the best – we consistently start about 45 minutes late. Cooperatives are the worst – if they say 8:00, show up at 11:00 and you still might be early. Generally, I´m either facilitating a meeting or co-facilitating (as is the case with the tourism group when I work with site-mate Laura).

This does - me facilitating an in-site seminar
This means I steer the meeting without many personal contributions – opening discussions, clarifying, and keeping the group focused. In this setting, it´s critical that the group generates the content – this is more sustainable than telling them what to do. I will step in if I feel the ideas are off-topic or simply don´t make sense, but mostly I just bite my lip when shitty ideas get tossed around and hope they figure it out on their own.

Late Afternoon
If I´m free by 4:00 or 5:00, I´ll play volleyball or soccer till sunset, which is consistently from 6:30 – 7:00pm, and head home.

7:00pm – 10:00pm
Cook dinner, do dishes, write in journal (the birthplace of blog posts), read in my hammock, maybe play harmonica. In bed, mosquito net tucked in, by ten.

That´s what I´d call a “day with work.” Looking back at my July calendar, there were 15 such days. Knocking out Soccer Sundays, that´s 57% of my days. In July. June and August probably look totally different but I don´t have those calendars in front of me and I´ll be damned if I go find them just for you.

Non-“day with work” days in site typically feature laundry (done by hand with a brush), walking around and visiting peoples´ houses and a healthy dose of hammock time. Then about twice a month, I´m either in the city or otherwise out of site for something (e.g. a seminar, helping another volunteer in their site, etc.).

I like the largely unpredictable, constantly changing schedule and I think this is the right time of my life for this type of living (for those who don’t know, I’m 23).

I´m not sure if that post was any more concise than usual, but hey, at least you can´t smell me through the computer. 


At September 9, 2011 at 5:26 AM , Blogger Ila said...

I was just told the trailer was so shitty because they had to rush to put something together for comicon. in my opinion they should have done the black screen with just people talking and saying cool batman type things and then have the logo appear.


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