Monday, 5 January 2015

Typical Day

My intention was to write about a typical day volunteering in Grenada because I realized I hadn't ever described a typical day. So I set out with the intention of capturing my day.

Work days start at 5:45 a.m. and if you are my colleagues who live in Grenville or Woburn it starts much, much earlier. But for me I can get up and grab a quick shower. My shower was fixed before Christmas and without the effects of Chikungunya I can actually get in and out without going down the hall to the boys shower. You have to turn on the shower before you get in because it is heated with an electrical coil- as crazy as that seems to mix water and electricity!

99% of the time I put on a dress, but today I wore pants because it poured rain last night and my office doesn't have glass or screens on the windows so mosquitos love to hang out after a good rain.

Brent is a sweetheart and lights the stove and puts the kettle on for a cup of tea. So by the time I am out of the shower and dressed the kettle has usually started to boil. Breakfast is pretty easy. Eggs are readily available and always free-range! We buy three dozen at a time. Now that we have a toaster I can have eggs and toast.

Aiden and Owen are up by 6:30 so I get to chat with them while I pack a lunch and pack my bag. My backpack for work always seems to weigh a ton. But after you get the laptop and 1 litre of water it starts to add up.

Brent and I leave by around 7:00 a.m. where he drops me at the bus station. I have learned to be picky about what bus I get on because I could end up with squealing tires and soca played so loud I think my head will explode. I was lucky this morning the bus with a female conductor came by a recognized me so they stopped to pick me up. (Some buses wait at the station for passengers and others only pass through to start picking up fares outside the city- so this is a pass through bus) I like this bus, usually it is slow and I also like that she is the only female conductor I have seen in Grenada, so if I am spending $4XCD I like it when she gets a cut.

The bus ride is about 30-40 minutes, with hair pin turns up steep cliffs, lots of blind corners and narrow bridges. I sit on the drivers side because then you aren't looking out over the side of the road at the vertical drop that awaits one little mistake. I try to preoccupy myself because it never feels safe, so I count stray dogs or goats.

Sister MaryAnn taught me that you don't pay the conductor until you are almost at your stop because buses break down or they randomly decide to go back to town and not finish a route. My trip is $4XCD. I am really lucky to live in St George because this is where all the buses end or start. So I only have one bus to catch, but if you live in out lying areas you will often have to catch a bus into St. George (the wrong direction) so that you can get going in the right direction.

NEWLO always has staff there when I get there. Gone are my days of being first to work! Usually we hold a morning staff meeting in the staff room, but today we had to evacuate. A fish had been left in the fridge for three weeks and the fridge had been unplugged!! The smell sent us all heading for the exits. We held the meeting in the computer lab.

The day starts off with prayers, scripture reading, often a parable or story to reflect on and sometimes singing. Today we had singing. I dread singing because we are all not singing from the same song book. Presbyterians in Canada only know slow painful hymns that absolutely require an organ. Here they have upbeat happy songs everyone knows the words to but me!!

Monday's the students have assembly in the court yard. It starts with the raising of the flag and singing the National Anthem. Then a staff member leads the assembly it is also a mix of spiritual songs, scripture, motivational words and information for students. Then the students head to their departments for a rap session. Rap sessions are where the students talk about topics of interest or are guided in discussion by staff. Today Ms Francis caught me after the assembly and asked me to do a session with her students on setting goals.

So I did some quick prep and then led an hour session on goal setting.

Mrs Douglas, who I share an office with was not at work, so we connected by phone and I was able to get a couple of things accomplished for her. I then proceeded to review a bunch of curriculum to make sure the table of contents were correct before we published them. Mind numbing but needed to be done.

At 1:50 Sister MaryAnn called me to see if I wanted to catch the bus with her- which I always do because she is so awesome. However on my way out Sister Margaret said she could give me a lift to town! In the end Sister MaryAnn got a lift with a new staff member and I left with Sister Margaret, who proceeded to cross herself when we got in the car. I told Mr. Felix that it did not bode well for his driving skills! Sister says she does this whenever she gets in a car, but I think this may be a cover story!

We got back to town around 2:40 and I needed to meet Brent at 2:45 on the other side of a hill that separates the Caranage from the downtown. Unfortunately there were two cruise ships in which makes it crazy busy. Ironically it makes walking through the Sendall tunnel easier because traffic moves slower- not slow, slower. I actually caught myself marvelling at how close I can walk to a moving car and not freak out. In Canada if I was that close to a car I would be screaming at the driver, here it is just what you have to do.

Brent and I have a spot to meet and he was on his second pass when he picked me up. As we headed home I spotted a friend from work who normally doesn't come into town so I gave a holler. I really love seeing people I know in town, it makes you feel like you belong when you aren't just a stranger to everyone.

Tonight by the time I had got home I was tired. Just getting back to work and reading pages and pages for errors was tiring. I was also worried about some of my colleagues and I could feel the weight of not knowing what was going on pressing on me.

So not really a typical day, but then no day is typical. They are always changing, but I really love being at NEWLO, I love the staff, I love what they do and I really enjoy getting to know some of the students.

I found this Youtube video and it is basically my ride home from the bus station at 8:49 you would turn to the right and we would be at the bottom of that road.

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