Not sure which day in July this was. You will notice that all the ACL (Acquisition of Culture and Language) portions of my day are in bold type. That way you can easily see some of the different activities that comprise my ACL “routine,” although it varies greatly from day to day. Today was actually quite a bit less time than normal out in the community, of participation in culture events or conversation (partly because there wasn’t too much happening and partly because I needed to catch up on processing data).
On this particular occasion ACL added up to a total of 7 ¾ hours, rounding to the nearest quarter hour. This exceeds my personal goal of 7 hours/day, to reach the mission’s requirement of 40 hours/week. It is usually easy to fit in closer to 50, though, unless I need to take a day completely off due to a migraine, sleepless night, or other health issue. At this point I don’t plan a weekly day off, because ACL is too much fun, every day invested is a day closer to teaching the Bible, and I’m not sure what else there would be to do anyway. Going swimming or exploring the jungle alone would be a very bad idea, and I can’t exactly call my family, go out for ice cream, or visit the bank just to take advantage of the air conditioning while sitting and waiting my turn for over an hour. And none of my personal hobbies (reading, cross-stitch, writing, listening to radio dramas) are exciting enough to occupy a whole day.
July ?, 2017
6:50 – got up late on purpose today, because I hadn’t been able to fall asleep until nearly one in the morning. Prepared for the day a bit slowly, decided to stick with my plan of not eating breakfast, which is not normal at all. I am NOT a breakfast-skipper. But after dealing with 5 days of off and on intestinal discomfort or outright pain, it seemed like it might be a good idea to give my digestive system a bit of a break. So I didn’t eat anything yesterday, and decided to wait until I actually felt hunger, hoping that would be my body’s automatic signal that it was ready to digest food again.
7:30 – went up to the school. I had planned to sit in on 6th grade Neno Language classes, but seeing that 7th grade was outdoors husking coffee beans, then grinding them in a huge mortar and pestle, I decided to watch and help with that project instead.
9:30 – During recess I talked with friends, then headed back to the village, stopping by the chief’s outdoor hangout, where his wife was weaving a basket. We chatted for a bit; I took a couple photos and jotted down a couple phrases related to basket-making.
9:45 – the electricity came on randomly, probably because the wife of the chief’s oldest son wanted to wash clothes. They bought this “batch” of diesel for the generator, so have every right to run it whenever they wish. We have run out of diesel semi-frequently these last months, so I took advantage of this “bonus morning electricity” to furiously type out language and culture notes, and organize photos, which would use up quite a bit of battery power otherwise.
11:15 – Juliana came over.
11:25 – The power went off. Was finally feeling a bit hungry so ate a two-part brunch.
11:35 – went to someone’s house to ask a quick question. Also found out that the teacher for the Neno language class went to the city. So that means I won’t go up to the school at 1:15 as planned, because 9th grade won’t be having class at all.
11:45 – plantain and coffee.
11:50 – Time with Jesus.
12:45 – Typing out notes from field notebook, as well as transcribing some audio recordings.
1:45 – dishes, taking out trash, dumping compost, shower.
3:15 – preparing for lesson with language helper.
3:40 – tidying house
4:00 – lesson with a friend. She corrected the written versions of audios that I have recorded, of stories and narratives that people tell. I write them out the best I can, then ask someone to edit and try to answer questions about the words or sentence structures I don’t understand.
4:50 – guests dropped in, people from another village who are here because school is in session.
5:30 – Went to Juliana’s house
6:15 – out and about in community, making plans for Culture Events to participate in tomorrow.
6:30 – Quick snack of sunflower seeds, peanut butter, glass of milk. Thankfully, stomach seems alright, so planning on more normal (village context, at least) meals tomorrow.
6:35 – The electricity is on! Washed clothes as quickly as possible…just one load tonight. Leaving sheets and towel (I have two of each, don’t worry) until next week because I really need to print out some Culture Event plans and my rough drafts of audio story transcription.
7:45 – 8:45 – typing and printing while electricity is still on. Productive evening…camera battery and both laptop batteries are fully charged. And I have several pages of new work printed out to study. Yes!
8:45 – Electricity was turned off. Ate sweet potato which had been baking in the oven for an hour. This was the first ever Neno sweet potato I had been given, and I declare them officially delicious. The flesh of sweet potatoes here is white, not orange, and the flavor is different than the orange kind, but they are very good.
8:55 – Cleaned bathroom and hung clothes to dry. This was accomplished by the light of my handy-dandy headlamp flashlight (as my coworkers’ 3-year-old said, “That’s so you can go in caves!”), which greatly facilitates the non-electrically-powered moments of life after 6 PM or before 6 AM.
9:20 – Noticing cards from my church family on the floor in bedroom (you may have noticed that “tidy the bedroom” did not happen in today’s listed events ), I sat down for a few minutes to re-read them. Your words of encouragement and love from back home prompted me to pray for all of you, with excitement to see you in just a few weeks, and thank God once again for the amazing support team He has raised up to hold the ropes for this crazy missionary.
9:30 – 45 – outlined this post, so as not to forget what happened today.
9:45 – got ready for bed, listened to the Neno stories recorded today.
9:55 – head on the pillow, listening to Ephesians while drifting off to sleep.