Monday, November 30, 2009

A typical day in Mapaki

With just 3 weeks left in my internship, I thought that I should finally post something about my typical day in Mapaki. I’ve been meaning to do this for some time, but at least I’m getting to it before the end of the internship! :-)

I normally get up early, around 6:30 am or so. Village life starts early, and most people here are up and about even before that. I wake to the sounds of roosters crowing, people talking, my neighbours cooking and sweeping their yard, and people coming back from mosque.

I usually eat breakfast around 7:30 am or so, and then go and say good morning to Chief, Sallay, the kids, and the other women in the kitchen, plus whoever else is around. Kouame and Mabinty often stop by the guesthouse in the morning to discuss plans for the day.

Some days I stay around Mapaki. I work on the computer (the photo is me in the office in the guesthouse), check my email, write reports, do some research work, etc. Sometimes I do chores like dishes or laundry (although I get in trouble from Mabinty for doing my own laundry instead of giving it to her to do), or sweeping out my room. I usually spend time every day sitting outside and watch people go by, or I read. Sometimes there are events going on here that I participate in – for example, there was a District Council meeting here on Wednesday afternoon that I sat in on.

Other days I visit the other schools and communities that I work with. Usually Kouame and I go by motorbike to these other places, villages like Maso, Makambray, Makonkorie, Mbarr Line, Mathombo, Bumban, Yele, Moria and Mayagba. I visit the students, meet with the teachers or deliver letters from schools in Canada and collect replies from schools here to send back. Visiting the schools is a lot of fun. The furthest schools are a little over an hour’s drive away, in Gbonkolenken chiefdom. The closest ones are outside of Mapaki, just a 10 or 15 minute drive.

Often in the evenings I do an interview for my thesis research. I generally do yoga every other day. Later, after eating dinner, I usually go to the library to read in the electric light. Sometimes I watch part of a movie on my computer, or stay in the guesthouse office to do some work that requires more quiet and concentration than the library provides. I go to bed early, usually by 9:30 pm or so. Without electricity, there isn’t much to keep me up late at night.

It’s a pretty quiet life, but very relaxing and peaceful. I can’t remember the last time I was getting 8+ hours of sleep a night consistently and I quite enjoy it. I might have to keep up my going to bed early habit when I get home!

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