I wanted to update yesterday, when I had oodles of free time, but there was no electricity in town. This happens most Saturdays, all Tuesdays, and some other days. But we have electricity in town more days than not, so that’s a bonus. None at home.

I feel like I’ve written a number of letters to the same effect as this post topic, but nonetheless, I continue to receive questions, so here goes.

For now – in training – my days are semi-routizined. I get up around 6 to dress and take tea, then leave the house to walk to class about 7:15. It’s only 30 minutes (or thereabouts) but I like to arrive early. It gives me time to look over my notes before we start. 8 AM sharp, it’s KISAWAHILI NA BAS KISWAHILI (SWAHILI AND ONLY SWAHILI) for a number of hours, with a handful of ten-minute breaks scattered in throughout. Because it is only me and one other student, and because we’re semi-competent in the language, it’s a “discussion-based” class. The first hour or so is usually just us talking about our day, how life is with our host family, what we’ve been learning outside of class, funny stories, accidental adventures, and the like. Good times. I still have a tendency to respond to everything said to me with “Tena, tafhadali?” (“Again, please?”) but that’s more reflex than anything else. We had a practice oral exam on Friday, which went well. I’m feeling much less overwhelmed. Nzuri sana.

At 12 or 12:30, we are released for lunch. We usually go to the same restaurant (there are only 4 or 5 decent ones in town) and linger over Fanta before returning to the general meeting site for afternoon technical lessons. If we have any spare time after eating, we all play frisbee as a group or sit on the grass and read the newspaper or just chit-chat about how much we miss cheese. No, really. This happens almost daily.

At 1:30 or 2, the afternoon session starts. Some days, my assigned training partner and I hop on a matatu (public minibus) and head to a government-run health center, where we’re practicing skills like needs assessment tools and networking. Other days, we have a lecture about culture or politics or proposal writing or whatever the powers that be deem a useful topic for us to study. We review homework and have discussions … it’s a lot like college, actually, although the class size is bigger.

We get out of that around 5. Most days, I walk home to sit in the kitchen house by the fire with my host Mama, who helps me practice my Swahili or do my culture-based homework. Some days, the other trainees and I will find some restaurant/pub/business establishment in town and watch some of the World Cup game. This is made difficult by the strict 6:30 PM curfew, but meh. It’s still cool.

Dinner is usually on the table at my house by 7, and I’m always expected to do SOMETHING useful, even if it’s just carrying the pots in from the kitchen building to the sitting room. We eat and chat in KiswaEnglish, then my parents and host siblings take tea while I do my homework by headlamp. Thing Megan Does That Her Host Family Finds Hilarious #98726592: Reading books/writing/journaling/studying with a flashlight stuck to her forehead via elastic headband. Most nights, I’m in bed my 9:30, although sometimes I rebel and listen to podcasts on my iPod until I fall asleep. Whoa, cool, right?

When I get to site in a month or so, my days will be ridiculously varied, oddly intense, and expectedly frustrating. For now, although I wish I had more free time to do things like check my e-mail in cybercafes, I nonetheless take some comfort in the predictable rhythm of my weeks.

Kwa sasa. (For now).

Almost out of internet time, so I’d better wrap this up. Hope your lives are going well. Anything you’d like to see a post about? Mention it in the comments.

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