The Average Monday

er5:55 a.m.- The chances are I’m already slightly awake because I can hear my neighbors animals clucking, braying, and mooing. Some sun is slanting through the window I probably forgot to close the night before, or left open to get some air circulation.

I pull up a corner of my bug net and crawl out from underneath, walk to the adjacent room, and start to heat some water on my gas stove for breakfast and coffee.

I open my front door to head to the latrine outside, and am usually greeted by Beau, the neighbors dog, who prefers to sleep on my porch every night.


Fed, dressed, caffeinated, and ready to go. I wheel my bike out of my house, if I didn’t leave it outside, and say hi and bye to the neighbors before heading to school.

6:40 a.m-
I ride up the tiny dirt path from my house, past the boutique where I give a quick greeting, cut through the yard of the clinic, ride down my favorite part of village that I call the “secret garden”, up a slight incline that cuts through the yard of the pre-school where I’m greeted with either chants of “tubabu,” or tiny “bonjour Madam”s. Avoid the impromptu game of soccer on the soccer field, roll between the cotton fields already full of women picking, and arrive at school.

Secret Garden

6:55-7:00 a.m. –
Arrive at the Lycée Departemental of Soubaka and greet any professors hanging around.

7:00 a.m.-
Teach a lesson to 5emeB. The quieter of my two classes.

8:55 a.m.- 
Me: “Ok are there any questions?”

The class: “Noooo questions! Bye bye!”

*If Tuesday also teach 5emeA, the rowdier classes*

9:00 a.m.-
Cross the school yard, accompanied by a student from class carrying my backpack for me, and greet all the children who pass, this is mostly done in French unless one is daring enough to do so in English.
Meet up with all the professors, who aren’t currently teaching, under the “teacher’s tree,” as there is no teachers lounge, greet every single person individually (per the culture) and hang out for awhile.

Around 10 a.m. or so depending on how long I stick around to chat
– Hop on my bike and take the same path back home.

Greet the neighbors.

Go inside and do one of the following: grade papers, read, nap, wash dishes, think about what to each for lunch, or talk to another volunteer on the phone.

12 p.m.-2: 45 p.m.-
It’s “repos,” or “rest” time. All the kids come back to school for lunch. Everyone is either eating or napping so don’t bother trying to get any work done.

Mid-day study session

3:00 p.m.-
Everyone should be back at work or school.

Since I have no classes in the afternoon I’m free to do whatever I want aka grade papers, plan lessons for the rest of the week, go sit with my neighbors and chat , head into town, etc.

5:30 p.m.-
Go for a run with my neighbors dog, Beau. By now school is over, and I will probably be breathlessly greeting a lot of my students on my run while they are passing me on their bikes, heading home.

6:00 p.m.-
Get back home, greet my neighbors and their kids. Stretch, and fetch water to take a bucket bath.

Where my run starts and ends

6:15 p.m. or so- Start cooking dinner. It’s dark by now.

7:00 p.m. or so- Head over to the neighbors house for traditional tea, and listen to them chat with other neighbors in Jula or Cerma. I chime in when addressed in French.

9:00 p.m. or so-  I bid everyone goodnight and head inside to get ready for bed.

9:30 p.m. or so- Crawl back under my bug net with my Kindle and read for an hour or so before going to sleep to the sound of the neighbors, animals, and balanfones, before getting up to the sound of roosters, and starting an average Tuesday.


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