“When we are young, we don’t take anything too seriously. But slowly, this set of daily rituals becomes solidified, and takes us over. We like to complain, but we are reassured by the fact that each day is more or less like every other.”
6h00-6h30: Wake up! I usually write or read a bit in the mornings while the children are getting out of bed.
6h30-8h30: Homework time. Many of the children, predominately the younger ones, use this time to finish up homework, while some of the others use this time to sleep in as others draw or clean.
8h30: Breakfast, which always consists of rice and dal. Normally the dal (which is a broth with a few lentils) has chickpeas in it and occasionally pumpkin or potatoes. I then do the dishes as the
children put on their uniforms and gather their books.
9h15: By this time the children have left as they have a half-hour walk to their school which starts at 9h45, and they are in school until they arrive home around 16h00. Right after they leave I go for a run. Though this means setting out moments after consuming a mountain of rice, I’ll take what I can get. I get a lot of attention for running, as a) I am a westerner and get the unfortunate attention that goes along with it, and b) because no one here runs for fun. Oh, and I am also wearing the ridiculously weird-looking barefoot running (toe) shoes. I am quite use to people looking at me as if I should be in an asylum though, and it sure isn’t going to stop me from my morning workout. In the afternoons I usually go for long walks, read on the roof, write, and occasionally head the hour into town to find wifi. I also usually help the cook for an hour or so after I come back.
16h00-18h30: Homework time. I usually help the same few kids with social studies, science, math, and English grammar. Since there are three fourth grade girls, I usually am pretty good at each exercise by the third round! If no one needs help then I work with the youngest boy on his reading or create extra math problems for the students who are struggling.
18h30: Dinner, which is the same as breakfast, though the dal is always a bit different depending on what veggies are thrown in that day.
19h00-20h00: The children on cleaning duty help clean the homework room and kitchen, while the others draw, finish homework, or do their own thing in their rooms.
20h00: By eight most of the children are in their rooms, though it is usually another hour or so before the lights go out. I often end up in the girls room talking, dancing, or singing with them until I call it quits and head to bed.
The six girls sleep in this room, and though there are four beds, there an empty one as the girls prefer to sleep two (and even three) in one bed to keep warm. The boys have two rooms between the eleven of them, and I am pretty sure they all stay in their own beds unlike the girls.
Here is the bathroom and the cleaning chart that goes with it. They also take turns helping the kitchen, doing the evening dishes, and cleaning the house.
Here is the kitchen and the cook (and her three year old, “little man” as I have dubbed him, who lives here as well).
Do the boys work in the house as well?
They do! And they do their own laundry. Actually yesterday the cook was gone, and so a fourteen year old boy was the one in charge in th kitchen! Much better view in equality here.