Sundays

Sundays here are so long. I sit on the step of my little hut and look at my watch again. It’s only 3pm.
Any other day of the week I would be halfway through a lesson in something to do with health or Zambia or Lunda, the language I have been assigned to learn, or I would be on the way to the market or doing something for school.

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Spotted, yesterday: a cloud shaped like Africa!

Every day here is so scheduled. So hectic. But that’s what training is.
I wake up at 6am, my bath water is ready at 6:30. Breakfast is (usually) at 7am. At 7:30 I meet Hannah, my friend whos host family lives right down the street from mine, so that we can bike to class together. We are the only ones who live in this part of the village, 2.5 km off of the main road, and just over 3 km from the Peace Corps training center. She is learning Tonga (and will be placed in the Southern Province), while I am learning Lunda (and will be sent to the Northwest Province). But we bike to the same place each morning, and manage to fit in a daily debrief as we fly down the dirt road that we have already memorized for where to avoid potholes and where to swerve around the majority of the sand.
Our language lessons go from 7:45 until nearly 12:15, at which point we return to our homes for lunch prepared by some member of our host families.
In my language class are two other girls, Katherine and Casey, with whom I will be moving to the Northwest Province come September.
After lunch Hannah and I reconvene at 1:30 to bike to our second session of the day. This one will deal in our technical training: cross cultural issues, health training, and generally anything we need in our skill set when we make it to our sites this fall.

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Notes from a cross cultural session a few days ago.

Tech lasts from 2pm until 5pm.
By the time we get home it is usually almost 5:30pm. Hannah and I have had plans nearly every day this week to go for an afternoon jog when school lets out, but we keep getting home too close to dark to do so.
Dinner prep starts at 5:30 or 6, dinner is at 7 or 7:30, and I hang around until 8 or so before going back to my hut to read or do my homework. I am in bed, asleep, by 9. 9:30 at the latest.
Saturdays we have a half day of school, and are finished just after noon.

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The winter sun sets by 6pm here.

So, it is a Sunday. I have the entire day free, a rare patch of time with nothing to do. But what to do? The hours have been ticking by, so slowly it seems.
My bath water was ready at 8 this morning, giving me a nice chance to sleep in (not that I need it here). Breakfast was at 8:30, and by 9am I had the entire day stretching out in front of me.
Yesterday, though, Hannah and I left our bikes at the training center. So, at 9:30 we set off for a jog over to collect them. We finally managed to go for that run! We returned back to my compound to stretch a bit, and when she left I settled down to study. It was only 11am. By lunchtime, 1pm today, I had already made 60 flash cards and had worn myself out studying  Lunda. After lunch I washed some clothes, which brought me to 2pm. The afternoon sun was beating down, so I went back to my hut to finish reading my book and to paint my nails.
And now it is 3pm and I have nothing to do. My kindle ran out of battery (one of the things I hate about reading on a device), so it is charging on my solar panel in the sun. I could stay and read it, but the sun is still so hot (despite it being the middle of winter here), and the winds keep coming in and blowing sand directly at me.
The idea of going for another run has crossed my mind, but that, too, would mean spending more time in the heat.
Two hours until the sun will start going down, and then two more hours until dinner.
It is slow here, but in a nice way, I must admit. Maybe I will go inside and do some yoga. Or listen to music. Or draw little cards to give to my classmates tomorrow. I can do pretty much anything I want.
Because tomorrows Monday, and my hectic schedule will return, once more, and I won’t feel this sweet sense of boredom again for an entire week.

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