So it’s taken 3 months for me to get my blog online… and then another month (and some change) to write and publish my first post. Whoops, sorry Mom. While I’d like to blame most of the delay on a lack of a decent internet connection, I have a feeling that most of the people reading this will know that in reality I’ve just been procrastinating the shit out of doing this. Alas, I have tentatively gotten the blog up and running mostly to my liking. My plan is to try and post around twice a month; mainly because that gives me about two weeks to wait until the last minute to write a blog post, but also because that’s about how often I have a shoddy internet connection. However, over the next few days I will be on vacation, so I believe I will have better access to the internet. My plan is to get a couple posts up to my blog before I return to my town for a few weeks. While I will definitely be posting written content here, my idea (and hope) for this blog is to be more of a visual representation of my experience by way of photographs and videos (and speaking of, I would appreciate it if you could check out the video I made. It took a while to edit and it’ll give you a general idea of my first 9 weeks in country, minus all the technical and language sessions…that is, if I managed to upload it). With all that said, I would like to formally welcome everyone who decided to click on the link leading to my blog and then take the time to read the stories I have to share.
Right, so now on to the good stuff. For the past four months, I have gotten many of the same questions from most of you (i.e. friends and family). While I have tried my best to answer them all in some (read: passable) capacity, I recognize that they don’t always end up well thought out or adequately detailed for any variety of reasons. Therefore, I figure I will dedicate my first post to answering the most frequently asked questions I receive. Le wi go:
Q: What exactly are you doing?
A: I have no clue. Just kidding. I’m a Peace Corps Volunteer, but more specifically a Secondary English education teacher for what is the US equivalent of middle school aged (ish) kids.
Q: Where are you?
A: Sierra Leone. Which is a small country about the size of South Carolina in West Africa. It is bordered by Guinea, Liberia, and the Atlantic Ocean.
Q: What do you eat?
A: When I first arrived in country, myself and the other volunteers had host family’s cooking for us. Typical meals are rice with plasas, which are stewed vegetable leaves; granat soup, which is a peanut stew; or boiled cassava and gravy. Fish and chicken are commonplace as well. Occasionally, we would get served pasta…with ketchup and mayo. It’s interesting. However, now that I am at site, I cook for myself most of the time (the exception being dinner Mon-Fri). I’ve become excellent at making pancakes.
Q: Do you have electricity?
A: Nope. I also don’t have running water.
Q: What is it like?
A: Try to be more vague. Kidding again. But in reality this is a super broad question and incredibly difficult to answer. So your gonna have to be more specific. Also, it’s awesome.
Q: Are you enjoying yourself?
A: Definitely. There are days where I get super frustrated or discouraged at any number of things (i.e. language barrier, almost no resources for the school, public transportation, etc.), but I enjoy where I’m at and the people I have met. Sierra Leone is the most beautiful country I have ever been to and the people are incredibly giving.
Q: What does a typical day look like?
A: I’m usually up by like 6 or 7 am. I open up the kitchen windows to get light in my house and go outside to brush my teeth. I make breakfast/eat sometime before 730am and head to school by 7:45ish. I get to school around 8am and start teaching (hopefully) by 830. By 150, I’m done and head home to make a snack/lunch if I don’t eat at school. For the next few hours, I read/do chores or errands/grade papers, and then around 5ish I go to the field near my house to either play soccer or help coach a girl’s team. When it starts to get dark, we finish playing, and I head home to wash and eat dinner. After, I usually watch a movie/tv or read some more, and then go to bed around 9 or 10.
Q: Do you like the other volunteers?
A: Literally do not know what I would do without them…probably go crazy.
Q: Can I send you mail?
A: Yea. Message me on Facebook and I’ll send you the address.
Q: Are you living with anyone?
A: Nope, I’m living on my own. For some reason I thought that it would be a good idea for my first time living by myself to be in Africa. Idk man.
Q: Any crazy stories?
A: Duh. But those are better left for being told in person.
Hopefully, I covered most questions and answered them more thoroughly. If you have any more, just shoot me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or fb message. But, I want to end my first – and future – posts with something slightly different; I want to end them with a list. This is mostly because I think content lists are fun, but also because it allows me to cover other things that happen during my service but aren’t necessarily applicable or detailed enough to be included in my writings for that blog post. Each time the topic for the lists will be something funny or obscure or informative, and will have 7 items (because 5 is too short and 10 is boring). The items are in no particular order, unless stated otherwise.
7 Most Ridiculous Things I Have Witnessed Thus Far In Country:
- A bat flying out of the hole in my pit latrine.
- 16 people fitting into (and on top of) a taxi…at one time.
- An okada (motorbike) transporting two living pigs thst were tied upside down to the back.
- A Land Rover transporting two goats through the capital city, which were just standing on the roof rack while it was moving.
- A soccer goalkeeper kangaroo kicking a heckler in the chest while wearing cleats.
- Me vomiting out of a taxi window, while pulling up to one of the busiest junctions in the capital city.
- Sierra Leone. Like holy shit it is beautiful.