First Day – Things I’ve Learned So Far
- Sunrise can wake you up
- I miss my bed
- If pressed, I can totally drink nearly-black coffee… and I’m very glad I don’t often have to
- You can be exhausted at 10:00 AM
- A mid-morning rain shower out of nowhere is a beautiful miracle
- Playing ‘bounce basketball’ with a 5-year-old while a breeze blows & reggae music plays in the background makes for a magical memory
- You always forget something – a first aid kit shouldn’t be that thing
- Without all our distractions… Days are LONG
- Being dirty all day is not the end of the world
- Dancing with a bunch of kids who have rhythm in their blood & not embarrassing yourself? … Priceless
Everything hurts. My body has been put through the wringer – but that’s ok. It’s astounding to me how much we cram into every second of our lives, because without those distractions the day seems endless! Interestingly enough, I’m less exhausted now than I was at 10:00 this a.m. (it’s 7:30 PM) but my body is worn out. I brought the shoes I walk all day in back home – they’re not good enough. I feel like I just spent a whole day as a PA on an outdoor shoot in Florida.
Was working over at the laundry & slipped off a wood-cement “something”, and scraped up my foot pretty bad. I’m a little obsessed about germs (there’s mud everywhere & chickens wander around wherever they want), but of course I didn’t have any antibiotic cream or anything.
Office wasn’t open, because it’s the weekend, so I went up to the apartment to check for anything – and found hydrogen peroxide. Wasn’t fun, but it did the job. Later on I walked down to the store to check for band-aids & they had them (for sale in strips of 5 from behind the counter) but they wouldn’t cover the scrape without sticking to it, so I had to go without.
We’re eating what the kids eat, and while it’s filling, it’s not much. Breakfast was fried spam and the same dense biscuits. Lunch is obviously the main meal, and we had ‘beans and rice’ (different from ‘rice and beans’) with some fried chicken. For a minute, it felt like home… even though I’m pretty sure one of my pieces was neck. Dinner was a hunk of thick, hearty, homemade bread with crunchy peanut butter. I’m not hungry, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to lose weight out here.
Today was hard. Harder than I expected. I’m sure it’s going to get easier, but I’m really homesick. It’s such a huge difference, and it’s so overwhelming, it just rolls over you. But it’s not about me, it’s about the kids. They love having people around who’ll listen to them, play with them, pay attention to them. The full-time caregivers here are amazing, but they’re also swamped. Having us here gives them extra pairs of hands and people to keep the kids occupied.
Tomorrow is the first day I’ll be here when the majority of the kids go off to school – so it’ll be interesting to see how different the day is.
I’m desperate to get my phone SIM card handled so I can call home. Got a second to check emails & had some… it was a treasure beyond what I’d imagined.
Got some sun today, even though I slathered on the sunblock at least five times. Don’t think I burned, though, so that’s a small miracle.
A fellow ABV volunteer is coming in tomorrow, and apparently a few more on Wednesday – that should be fun. Looks like I might take my days off on Wednesday & Thursday – we’ll see how it pans out.
For the record – my hair hates me… and this weather… but there are moments of absolute beauty out here.