Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Day in the Life of Ilana

A while ago Nate wrote a blog post labeled “A day in the Life of Nate,” so I figured I would finally do a day in the life of me. So let’s begin this exciting journey. My days begin and end much earlier than in the states and if you know me and know how much I love to sleep you would be surprised that sleeping in is 8am. I know, crazy right? So on a typical work day I am usually up by 6:30am at which point I decide if I want to work out, prep dinner or clean. I would say that my week day morning routines have quite the variety and I switch it up almost every day. On days that I decide to workout I do like Nate described pretty accurately as a prison-style workout, which consists of either a yoga routine, a resistance band workout and on especially energized mornings I do a P90X routine. On days that I want to clean, I sweep the floors of all the dead critters from the night before, yes at night moths, flies, and all sorts of other small beetles magically die and land on our wooden floor that also collects and absurdly large amount of dust, there is also gecko poop and on really awesome nights bat pee, once I sweep, wipe down surfaces of small bugs I help Nate make breakfast and begin prepping dinner for the night, which can mean soaking beans, cutting up onions, sunning okra (it makes it less slimy) and making a list of any missing ingredients we need to buy at the shop. Nate and I usually have coffee and fruit or some egg dish and talk about what our days have in store for us. At around 8am, I get dress, Nate leaves for work and I finish little odds and ends, which usually is pumping water. Pumping water is not as hard as it sounds, I am not literally hand pumping water, I plug an extension cord in an outlet and wait for our bottom tank to be pumped up to our upper tanks until they over flow. Pretty simple, yet stressful if it’s the dry season, since our only source of water is rain water. On a side note, rain water is painfully cold, especially on a raining day. I feel as though I am 6 years old again, because I dread I mean dread showering every day and complain about it. You would think I would plan better and shower when the sun is still hot and I am sweating, but nope I wait till about 7pm every night when I am no longer sweating and do not look forward to a cold shower.

The Mabaruma Regional Hospital

Once I leave for work, which is usually around 8:30am I always go to the hospital and open up my office which I share with the statistical clerk, well only when we have one employed. My schedule really varies from week to week, depending if there is an event, I am doing a health talk at a school, I am traveling on the river to do some research or health talk or I am working on a specific project. For example, about a month ago Nate and I and a team of about 6 other Guyanese and volunteers spent 5 days on the river doing surveys at all the schools in the sub region to find out what the most common disabilities are in the schools and what resources teachers have to serve and teach these children. As you can imagine there are no resources for teachers to work with the SEN population and two very interesting findings were that there are absolutely no physically disabled children at the schools, even though we see them at the hospital and children who live on the river are 3 times more likely to have a speech impediment or developmental delay. My theory on why children are more likely to be developmental delay on the river is because of isolation. Some of these river communities have the population of five; yes I wrote that right…five. A community is one family and there is not another soul for miles, I mean miles, and they don’t have a motor boat, just a paddle boat. So some of these children don’t see other children there age until they enter school at age 4. Imagine! Ok back to my weekly schedule. Every Tuesday I work at the Maternal and Child Health Clinic with babies and pregnant mommies. I also do a health talk about family planning, nutrition and hygiene on less hectic clinic days. We also have clinic the second Wednesday and third Friday of each month, don’t ask me why these are the days that the clinic is open, it just is. Not that you can’t get services any other day of the week, but no one seems to come to the clinic other than these specific days. Monday afternoons I run a health club that is named Club HEAT! Club HEAT means Health & Environmental Activist of Tomorrow. Like the name? Yup I came up with that. Brilliant, I Know! Club HEAT always has some sort of project or activity going on, so that occupies my time. This month we did a Cleanest Class Competition, and at the end of this month we have about 4 activities for World AIDS week and then we are doing a fundraiser, which will be a movie night at the local resource center for the kids. The admission is $.50 US to sit on the floor or $1US to sit in a chair. I think we will be showing a x-mas movie. I will write a blog post about that when it happens. Most days I work from 8:30-4:30 and on Fridays it is an early day, which means work only until 3:30pm, freakin awesome!

Dental Hygiene talk with nursery children.

Asking the kids to show me their Pearly Whites

River Trip. Notice the stand alone house.

My friend Dexter working infant clinic.

A busy clinic day.

Evenings! Well at least once or twice a week on the evening we do our laundry, which usually takes an hour to an hour and half, and then we make dinner (which usually is very elaborate, since everything is made from scratch) and watch either a show or movie on our computer. Other nights we use the internet at our jobs or down the way at the Canadian family’s house and then make dinner and yup you guessed it watch a movie or show on our computer. Friday nights are Pizza night! We make everything from scratch, of course not the cheese, which is white cheese; though recently we have figured out that white cheese can mean white cheddar or mozzarella. We never know what it will be, until we take our first bite. Fridays is also cocktail nights, so we buy some rum or vodka (that’s all there is) and make ourselves a little cocktail and talk while swinging in our hammocks.

Weekends have a pretty set routine. Saturday is market day in the morning, cleaning and doing our laundry and the afternoons we usually read, go for a walk or hangout with other volunteers. Sundays, we have brunch with some other volunteers and then hang around the house. Some weekends there are “Games” and we go to those or we go to a swimming hole. Nothing too exciting, but it keeps us entertained. So there you have it. What a week in my Peace Corps life is typically like.

Nate at a river school. I just really like this picture.

Till next time.

1 comment:

  1. I hope you guys have a chance to make a local Thanksgiving feast tomorrow!? Miss you both so much! Happy Turkey/Bush Cow Day!