Daily Life


In light of the fact that I am in my last year here, I thought I’d post a little poem about my daily life.

This is difficult for me to do,
Mavanze can’t be explained
But “Kasiku” means walker in the night,
And that’s my village name.
And people with village names
Are more legit than the rest.
So I’m tackling this poem head on,
Get ready for my best.

To get to my village, take a cab.
At the gas station you’ll push.
Stalking taxis, begging, pleading,
Cuz no one wants to go in the “bush”.
On the way here’s the music:
Mshasho, The Dogg, Celine.
Some chats about life and the classic:
“Will you marry me?”

At the entrance to the center,
You’ll find “Tiger” our mascot.
Though he is infested with fleas,
He has the cutest trot.
He might be a little awk
But he’s as loyal as can be.
And on my way to school he stalks
While peeing on each tree.

Then there’s my lovely house.
A random collection of rooms
But they’re all smooshed together
Surviving Kahare’s music booms.
Mine is obviously the best –
It’s painted glacier blue.
Here live a lot of spiders,
And flies and crickets too.
The clutter is overwhelming;
I have a lot of stuff!
But I need my room to keep me sane
Cuz my life here’s kind of tough.

In the morning, I wake up at five
(if I survive those hallucinations)
I walk to school, it takes an hour
I’m drenched in perspiration.
On the way I tour the village,
It’s quite the gogeous site.
Pink sunrises and rolling plains,
Huts drenched in morning light.
And then there are the fires
As people cook breakfast.
The learners call out “Morokeni!”
As they join me in my quest.
And the little children have a dance
That they made up just for me.
They call it “Chindele” –
“White person” in Rukwangali

At school I have only one class,
I wish I could teach more.
But Grade 8 is worth the walk
And I try not to make them bored.
Harry Potter – themed competitions
Jeopardy and poetry reading;
But still I give tests once each week
To ensure that they’re succeeding.
Don’t worry, I’m pretty strict –
And if I hear them speak
Their own language and not English,
It’s detention once that week.

After school its a quick lunch break
Before I start Job Two
I eat PB&J and watch a show
In my room of Glacier Blue.
But time to myself is over
Almost as soon as it begins.
And then its to the Center
(I hang out with more kids!)
Their ages are quite varied:
Zero to eighteen.
Each lesson must be catered
To apply to what they’ve seen.
Geography, Bio, Social,
Vocab and spelling tests.
I try to reach each learner
To ensure they’re trying their best.
And above all we read –
And read and read and read.
They must grow in their English,
And our books provide the seed.
I’ve probably read The Giving Tree
A hundred million times
I could recite it in my sleep.
Every. Single. Line.

But the lessons all seem minor
And a class is just a class
You have to look at individuals
And they seem to be growing up fast.
Mungeli is the grumpy one,
But if you get him to smile,
It makes you feel you’ve done your job.
And it all seems worthwhile.
George is the most defiant,
(More than a fifth grader should be)
If you ask him to follow rules,
A frown is what you’ll see.
Muhepa always asks
Eighteen thousand questions
You’d think he was unsure in life,
But he’s firm in his convictions.
Morina’s hard-working,
She wouldn’t miss school for the world.
But her studying face is just a mask
When her laughter is unfurled.
Maggah is serious, Likuwa precocious,
Ihemba always dances.
Kankala fixes things that break,
While Diksa just romances.
Hellena is the quiet one,
Martha is the proudest.
Ngombio tells all the jokes
And Ntjamba laughs the loudest.

And then there’s my favorite child
That I’ve ever met in my life
Sadira makes me happy
And she takes away all strife.
She’s strong, a leader, caring,
The best family member you’ve seen.
Taking care of three children,
And she only is fourteen.
She studies with me every day,
And now she is the best
Learner at the center
Thus she trumps the rest.
So when I stop to think about
Leaving this place in a year,
It’s not the sunrises I’ll miss most
Or the spiders, though they’re dear.
Its the kids who wear me down,
The ones I put up with each week.
I will miss them more
Than this poem could ever speak.
At the end of the day I sit
By the fire as it cooks
My porridge and spinach dish –
It IS as gross at it looks.

I talk to mom, Anna,
She’s my best friend here.
She give me gossip,

I tell her stories
While her children are always near.

Eveline sit on my lap,

Just repeating my name.

While Eliza plays on my phone

And talks about first grade.

As soon as I get to my room,

I pass out on my bed.

Though my room should be cleaned,

I’d rather sleep instead.