November 16, Day 473
Up at 6 am. I feel emotionally drained but major pressure to attend this event, so I get out of bed right away for once in my life.
Take a cold shower. It’s a really hot this week. The kind of heat that doesn’t cool off at nighttime; you just sweat non-stop. The cold shower is magical.
Get dressed, gather the muffins, fruit and Starbucks coffee and put it all in a reusable shopping bag that I can strap to the back of my bike. Put the French press in my backpack.
Olive is chillin on the front porch, so I go outside to say hello.
He runs beside me as I bike to the local motel where the mini-regionals is being held. Somehow I have been asked to be the security warden for my region. That means if an emergency happens, it is my responsibility to be in communication with the volunteers in the region and track their whereabouts and make sure they know what to do.
Today’s meeting is a review on what to do in an emergency and a practice for communication. Last year we held mini-regionals in a nice village five hours away that has good shopping. This year, they decided that it would be too far for us to travel to that village in the event of an emergency, so my village has been the determined consolidation point.
Almost none of the volunteers agreed to come to this event because my village isn’t exactly exciting to travel to (I think it is though!). When I told the woman from Peace Corps who is running mini-regionals she asked the volunteers to please reconsider and attend. So, we’ve got a whopping 4 other volunteers coming, besides me.
Olive and I ride down a long, dirt road to the main road and I hope that my bike tire doesn’t burst. It doesn’t.
Arrive at the motel and she’s waiting for me in the parking lot. I lock up my bike and meet her. We go inside to the conference room, which has amazing air conditioning, and start preparing.
A few minutes later I hear a scuffle and some yelling in the lobby. I go into the lobby and see Olive wandering around the motel looking for me. The staff is in a tizzy freaking out that here is a dog indoors and trying to shoo him out. Poor little buddy is confused and stubborn. He likes to follow me everywhere.
I apologize and take him outside, where Lark is sitting at a table sipping coffee. I say hello and tell Olive to go lay down in the shade.
A few minutes later, two volunteers who are traveling from about two hours away text me to tell me they will be late because the bus didn’t show up. So now they must look for a hitch to join us.
We plan for the day and hook up the projector and agree on who will present what. My job is to draw a map of the village and make sure everyone knows what hotel is our consolidation point in an emergency.
I’m going to be honest, though. If an emergency happens and we have to evacuate, I’m probably just going to cross the border and go to South Africa since it’s so close. But nevertheless, this exercise is important.
About an hour later, the volunteers arrive and we begin the day. The woman from Peace Corps teaches some, I do some stuff. It goes off without a hitch. I have plenty of muffins left and the woman working at the front desk says she would like to try some, so I save them for her. I steal all the bottles of water and mints at everyone’s chair that they don’t want. We don’t waste free stuff here!
Afterwards there is a delicious lunch served by the motel in the next room with some life changing potatoes involved. Holy smokes, I want to be buried in these potatoes when I die.
We finish up around 1 pm and I take some lunch in a container to eat for dinner, too. Woo hoo, I love it when the Peace Corps visits and we get so much free stuff!
Say goodbye to everyone and walk over to my bike. Olive waited for me in a shady spot near my bike. He’s a good boy.
We ride home.
I’m literally SO exhausted. I have been telling myself that I couldn’t relax until I got through mini-regionals, and now I did.
Go to bed.
Sleep for about five hours.
Get up, delirious. Hanlie and Thomas invited me to come over tonight and swim and catch up.
Change into my bathing suit and shorts and walk over to Hanlie and Thomas’s. We go outside to the pool and sip drinks and chat. I bring them the rest of the muffins in a container that is theirs that I borrowed and their saw to return.
Soon it’s 9 pm and I’m an old lady, so I have to go to bed.
Hanlie gives me a ride home. Of course, her jack Russell dogs Didi and Dapper come with us in the car. As we are riding home, I see Olive sniffing around and call to him from the window. He gets excited and chases the car all the way to my house.
Dapper growls at Olive, so I take Olive inside and say goodbye to Hanlie. I’m so thankful to have Hanlie and Thomas as friends here. They really look after me, and I’m grateful.
Head to bed.