A week ago a friend suggested that I blog about what my daily schedule is like. I had been thinking about doing this but wasn’t sure if anyone would be interested. I mean for the most part my day to day is pretty basic. But I understand that friends and family think I’m living this ultra exciting life and are curious about it. So here’s a week in my life.
First off, I no longer set an alarm unless I have early transportation to catch (or we are at Peace Corps training). I have a basic routine every day, but sometimes I choose to just sit and stare at the ceiling or chat with fellow volunteers for hours. I listen to tons of podcasts and audio books. I read a lot (as you know from a previous post) and occasionally I spend hours watching movies and TV shows.
Monday – woke up at 7:15 and stayed in bed until 8:00 listening to podcasts
8:00-9:30 … breakfast/drink tea/workout and yoga/meditation (I’ve been following a 30 day fitness app since August)
9:30-10:30 … went to weekly souk in next town south of me. This is the weekly market where I buy fruits and vegetables and a few other foods. You can pretty much buy anything at souk (household items, school supplies, clothes, and animals). I usually go every other week to get fruits, veggies and olives. Once a month I buy a kilo of pasta, raisins, almonds and walnuts.
11:15 … washed up and dressed
11:50 – 2:00 … at the Dar Taliba for Project Soar. I eat lunch with the director at 12:20 and we start our program at 11:45.
Afternoon … at the beginning and ending of each Project Soar module the girls conduct a survey. So today we started a new module and I had to prepare the surveys and results and send to the Project Soar Headquarters. In addition there is a report and attendance to be done for each workshop. The rest of the afternoon I prepared for my English class tomorrow, chilled out, read and did wifi stuff.
6-8:30 … kaskrut with my host family. Kaskrut is tea time and a regular part of most Moroccan’s life. During this time I drink many glasses of Moroccan mint tea, eat a lot of bread and olive oil and watch Turkish soap operas. I also my food scraps to my family for the sheep, goats and donkey.
Back home I crawl in bed under 4 thick wool blankets, finish reading a book on my Kindle and fall asleep around 10.
Tuesday – woke up at 7:15 and stayed in bed until 9 listening to podcasts. It’s really cold and I don’t want to get out from under all the covers.
My morning consists of eating breakfast, enjoying a cup of tea, going over notes for English class, talking to Jessica from Project Soar, working out/yoga/meditation, and reading.
Noon – 2:00 … at the Dar Taliba. The bread isn’t delivered until almost 1:00 so no English class today. My counterpart and I discussed the Project Soar session for the next day – she had to hand write some stuff to use for the activity. Peace Corps teaches you patience, flexibility and resiliency.
Afternoon … Fellow PCV Natasha came over. She’s in the town I go to for souk. Her computer charger died so she’s been coming over every few days to charge her computer. The rest of the afternoon was spent reading, doing wifi and making sure I have everything for tomorrow.
7:00 … made dinner and cleaned up
8:00-10:00 … podcasts under the covers!
Wednesday – woke up around 7:30 and listened to podcasts until 9
9:00-11:30 – usual routine, but no workout or yoga today (my back is not feeling it today!)
Noon-2:00 … Dar Taliba for Project Soar and lunch
Afternoon … stopped at 7anut (small store) to get toilet paper. The rest of the day was the usual wifi and reading time. Around 5 I ate a yogurt with musli and some fruit.
7:00 … started listening to podcasts and fell asleep around 8:30. Apparently I was tired!
Thursday – pretty much the same morning routine as before. Did a little yoga to help with my back pain.
Noon – 2:00 … lunch and tutoring at Dar Taliba. On Thursday’s I do tutoring, which consists of about 10 girls with various questions on their English homework.
Afternoon … same old same old. Fixed dinner around 5.
6:00-11:00 … listened to an audio book while cuddled under a pile of warm blankets
Friday – it’s couscous day!! Seriously my favorite food in Morocco (maybe ever?)
8:30-9:30 … finished listening to the audio book
9:30-11:45 … breakfast, tea, podcasts, yoga, and reading. WhatsApp’d with Ayoub, a university student from my site who is studying English in Marrakech; he asks me clarification questions on words and phrases he finds in books and movies – I consider this a form of tutoring.
11:45 … started boiling water for a bucket bath/enjoyed bucket bath
12:50 … call to prayer. I wait until I hear the call the prayer before heading to my host family’s house for couscous. The kids leave for school at around 1:20 so I chat with them for a bit as they get ready to head out. The rest of us eat after my host dad gets back from mosque – usually around 1:45.
3:00-5:00 … English Club at the high school. When I showed up today I was told it was canceled so I trekked back to my apartment. Again, flexibility! Spent the rest of the afternoon chatting with fellow PCVs and friends/family back home. Finished reading a book.
7:00 – Audible finally updated my monthly credit so I downloaded the book that my book club back home will be discussing tomorrow (I’ve tried to stay up with the books they are reading). Listened until around 10:00.
Saturday – woke up at 8:15 and listened to audio book
9:30 … breakfast and tea while listening to book, plus a little yoga
Noon – 2:00 … lunch and Project Soar at Dar Taliba
2:00-6:15 … finished listening to audio book then a little wifi (yes, I finished 4 books this week)
6:40 … FaceTimed with my book club! It was so awesome to see everyone and chat a bit about my life as well as the book. Hoping to make this a regular monthly thing now.
7:30 … podcasts until I fell asleep around 10:00
Sunday – woke up at 7:30 and listened to a podcast until 8:00, when I had breakfast and tea
8:30 … washed my hair
9:00-11:00 … did laundry, yoga, straightened up around the apartment
11:00-4:00 … the weather has been back to normal February weather the last two days so I went to Tinzouline (the next town south of me) and hung out with Natasha at a cafe while she used my charger and we both did wifi stuff (including me working on this blog). Grabbed lunch at another cafe around 2:00. Saw my English Club counterpart and we discussed some upcoming activities (he also said we will no longer be meeting on Fridays). Completed the Project Soar reports and attendance for the last two workshops. Bought some bananas and oranges for the week.
Back at home I put away the fruit, went to the 7anut for more toilet paper and had to make two trips cause I didn’t take enough money the first time (I planned to buy 2 four-packs but he had a new 12-pack!), finished this blog and grabbed my laundry from the roof.
Not sure what I’ll do the rest of the evening but it will probably involve a book or a few podcasts. Oh and I need to prepare for Project Soar for tomorrow!
In addition to listening to podcasts and audio books and reading, I sometimes watch movies from my hard drive or shows on Netflix (my wifi resets on the 18th so I try to use all my unused data on the 17th). Also, some of my reading each day is reviewing language.
Sometimes on Sundays I don’t leave my apartment cause I need a mental break.
During the winter I clean my house once a month (though honestly it’s been since just before everyone was here for Christmas!). During the rest of the year, when my windows are open, it’s at least once a week if not more because of the dusty wind every day.
Every couple of weeks I go to Agdz, which is a 40 minute taxi ride away. This is where the bank and post office are and I hang out at a cafe (usually with other volunteers), eat pizza and get food I can’t get in my site (oatmeal, cheese and Nutella). I also dump my trash here because my site has no garbage collection.
Once a month I travel to Ouarzazate, two taxis and under 2 hours away, to pay for my wifi, hang out with other volunteers, eat msmne (delicious flat bread similar to naan), chicken nuggets and fries, and get food (peanut butter, musli and strawberries/peaches and such in season fruits that aren’t available at my sou).
While my technical work day is only about 2 hours a day, my work includes all interactions with host country nationals every day and time preparing for each class/workshop. Because I eat lunch at the Dar Taliba every day (and with my host family on Friday), I try to use school breaks to eat with other community members. It’s starting to stay light later now so I’ll soon start having more kaskruts as well.
I’ve been asked what is a bright spot and what’s the hardest each day. Sometimes gathering the mental strength to leave my house is the hardest. Some of this is due to the language barrier – I’m far from fluent and I struggle understanding most things some days – and some is due to constant harassment. I’ve been reluctant to talk about this with friends and family back home as I want to be careful of casting an unfair light on this country that I do enjoy living in. But it’s a daily reality and I’m working on a blog post to address this. The bright spot is knowing I am making a small impact on everyone I come in contact with every day.
This has been a really detailed and long post! But I wanted to leave you with a few pictures.