10.21.2015

Routines

This is usually the first thing I see in the mornings

I love routines. I like knowing what I'm doing today, tomorrow, and, if possible, 4 years from now. Obviously this doesn't always happen, but when it does, I thrive. I carefully structure my day so I can set objectives, to-do lists etc. When I'm in Ngatt, I have a carefully constructed schedule I keep, depending on the day, and my days usually follow this schedule with few exceptions.

The joy of Peace Corps is that it isn't a 9-5, Monday through Friday job. If I'm just not feeling like doing anything one day, then ca-va, I'll sit home and have some needed me time! If it tickles my fancy to do a day trip to Tibati, then that's OK too. If I'm feeling particularly motivated, then I'll put the nose to the grindstone and work my butt off. While Cameroonians' schedules are immensely flexible, my life here is pretty predictable.

As I near the end of my service, I've come to cherish my routine. It gives me ample time to work, relax, challenge myself intellectually and physically, and to enjoy my community. Here's a glimpse into a day in my life in Ngatt:

We all need a good night sleep

5:30 am - The goats start bleating and the kids at the Qur'anic school next-door start their loud recitations. My alarm goes off, which is more a formality than a necessity as all the noise would wake me up regardless of my alarm.

5:30-6:00 am - I lay in bed, snuggling up to Metis, plan my day, and stretch.

6:00-6:15 am - I drink a cup of tea or coffee, eat a banana with local honey and peanut butter, and get dressed for my run.

6:15-6:45 am - Instead of running immediately, I usually opt to read a chapter or two of whatever book I'm in the middle of before I begin exercising.

6:45-7:30 am - I run 5-10km either through the savanna (during the dry season) or on the paved road (during the rainy season).

7:30-8:15 am - I'll work out some more by doing an Insanty video.

8:15-8:45 am - Time to do a half hour of yoga with Yoga Download podcasts!

8:45-9:15 am - I usually spend a half hour doing sit ups, push ups, squats, or whatever else strikes my fancy.

9:15-9:30 am - I head over to the well and fetch a few buckets of water for the day.
The Path to my Well

9:30-10:00 am - I shower, eat breakfast, sweep, and perhaps do a sudoku or word search.

10:00-11:00 am - I'm a book nerd, so I'm not ashamed to admit that I spent this hour reading.

11:00-12:00 am - I head over to the hospital, and on Mondays-Fridays I give a talk on a given health topic, which usually lasts for 30-45 minutes.

Let's Talk about Polio

12:00-2:00 pm - I hang out at the hospital and do some private work (write blogs, chat with staff, whatever) just to show my face around town and be availible if anyone needs me. These are like my 'office hours'.

2:00-3:00 pm - I usually read more, work on PhD applications, prep for future presentations at the hospital, let kids in the house to color. This is really an open-ended time of the day.

Well, at Least he Didn't Draw Maggi Cubes Today...

3:00-4:00 pm - I cook my lunch/dinner as I listen to a few podcasts on politics and the news back Stateside.

4:00-5:00 pm - This is the time of the day where I'll sit on my outdoor bamboo bed, or if the sun isn't too brutal, I'll lay in my hammock and read or study Arabic as the neighborhood kids play in the yard.

This is the Life

5:00-6:00 pm - My landlord or his brother usually come by at this time, sometimes flanked by their kids to bring me some couscous and sauce. Oumarou and Ismael normally hang out in my house for a bit before they head off to the mosque for prayer. We chat in candlelight and sip on chai and talk about anything and everything, and a lot of times look at my globe and discuss geography.

6:00-8:00 pm - I wind down, do some bedtime yoga, listen to music or a few more podcasts, write in my journal etc.

8:00-9:30 pm - I read even more, and soon begin to doze off from the lack of light.

9:30 pm - I can't stay up much past 9:30, mainly due to the fact that my sole solar lamp is pretty weak, so the relative darkness lulls me to sleep until the goats wake me up the following morning.

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