an ordinary day in september

Friday, 3 October 2014

After being asked to share more pictures of our life here in Rwanda, I decided to capture a single, ordinary day in pictures and words. This is Friday 26th September.
5:56am - the sun is up, and so is Lucy. We hear her shouting from our bedroom, "Come and see this lizard! Hello!"
6:10am - after dragging myself out of bed, I head outside to walk Sheila, our dog, around the yard so she can do her business.
6:25am - I get in a quick pilates workout. To my surprise, and the kids' amusement, Christian agrees to join me.
6:45am - the shepherd arrives with the day's milk, 2 litres. Christian goes out to get it while I head to the shower. Today there is both water pressure and electricity, which means I can use the shower (instead of filling a bucket and tipping it over my head). Happy dance!
7:00am - breakfast. Our weekday breakfast consists of weetbix and fresh fruit (banana and passionfruit) for Christian and I, and cornflakes and yoghurt for the kids.
7:15am - Christian's hair is looking shaggy. He has a late start today, so I give him a haircut, followed by Alexander. The girls get a fringe trim.
7:35am - our house help, Jackie, arrives, and is very amused to see me cutting hair.
8:30am - while I clean up all the hair, Alexander retells me last night's letter story.
8:40am - after playing a memory game with the girls, Christian heads off to work. Today he's meeting Marieth, our colleague, to do some paperwork and accounting.
8:45am - we start our first lesson of the day, talking about staying healthy and treating minor sickness. Of course, we play doctor. In the meantime, Lucy entertains herself with some animals in her bedroom, "It's the jungle!"
9:20am - we move on to letter work. Today it's the letter L.
9:30am - after giving the house a tidy up, Jackie is ready to start the laundry. There's a lot today.
9:45am - I'm surprised to see Christian back already. He starts cutting and grinding the meat we bought at market yesterday so it's ready to go.
10:10am - morning tea break. I cut up some pineapple and apple, and the kids enjoy eating it on the verandah. I make myself the first cup of coffee of the day.
10:30am - while the kids play outside, I sit down and work on colouring my clothing sketches. So much fun!
10:50am - Christian does some emailing. Although it's slow, the internet is working.
11:00am - after a good break, we're ready to settle down to work again. Handwriting, followed by maths.
11:25am -  I get started on lunch prep. We're having leek and potato soup.
11:50am - Alexander has finished his maths work, and starts practising the recorder. The girls have decided to help Jackie wash the verandah, which means they will get soaking wet.
12:00pm - Christian has been invited to a school graduation, which is supposed to start at 12. He heads out to find Fred, the student we know, so they can go together. As he leaves, he tells me he has no idea how long it will last.
12:05pm - the soup is on. While it's simmering, I get Alexander started on his Danish work. We follow it up with reading on the verandah.
12:35pm - the soup is done, and so is Alexander. While I'm putting the lunch out, there are a couple of dramas to attend to. The girls are soaked (as expected), and Alexander has scraped his shin on the obstacle course outside, and is screaming. I give him a cold cloth and the girls some dry clothes.
12:55pm - we finally sit down to lunch, the kids, Jackie and I.
1:20pm - Jackie cleans up after lunch, Alexander plays outside, and the girls play stop dance. I take Sheila for a walk around the yard again.
2:00pm - Alexander has started making himself a hockey stick with two sticks and masking tape. The girls want to make one too. I start working on some photo templates so I can make a photo book of our summer holiday.
2:45pm - Lucy is complaining that she's tired, so I put her to bed. Outside, Isabel and Alexander get into an argument. Isabel comes inside and lays on her bed, and Alexander heads outside the gate to play football/soccer with his friends from the neighbourhood.
3:00pm - Jackie has made bread.
3:40pm - the girls start arguing, so I put on a movie for them, "Emil og Ida". They love it!
3:55pm - Alexander is home again, asking if his friends can come in with him. I agree, but limit it to those he was with as lots of kids start running over to see if they can come in too.
4:20pm - Jackie is finishing up washing the floor, then heads home. We'll see her again on Monday.
4:50pm - Christian is home again, and is exhausted from his outing. I send the girls outside to play.
5:20pm - the girls and I take Sheila out for a walk, just as Gerard, the night guard, arrives. Alexander asks if he can stay home with Christian.
5:45pm - we walk quite far, and spot a few wildflowers on the edge of the corn fields. Isabel picks one for me, and one for Christian.
5:55pm - we arrive home from our walk. We help Christian water the strawberries, as we aren't allowed to go inside. Alexander has made a surprise for us - a lovely drawing.
6:05pm - I give the kids a warm shower while Christian gets dinner organised.
6:15pm - dinner time. We usually eat a light meal in the evening consisting of bread and spreads. Christian has also fried up some eggs. During dinner, the power goes out. Luckily, the candles on the table are lit, which make for a smooth transition. Once again, we are thankful we gave the kids their bath before dinner.
6:40pm - Isabel tries to draw by candlelight while we clean up after dinner and get ready for our Friday night movie. Christian makes popcorn and I put some lollies/candy in a bowl.
7:05pm - the kids have voted for "Emil og Ida" even though the girls have already seen it today. We laugh at Emil's funny antics, and Lucy is especially amused by how Emil's father shouts his name.
8:15pm - the movie is over, teeth are brushed, and it's time for bed. We get the kids settled, and Christian announces he's also ready for bed. It's easy to feel tired when it's so dark.
8:30pm - I make myself some peppermint tea and watch a movie. It's relaxing to watch by candlelight.
8:42pm - the power comes back on, so I walk around the house switching off lights.
10:30pm - the movie is over, teeth are brushed, and it's time for bed. 

Our days here are a different kind of ordinary. A lack of external activities means most of our days look, and feel, exactly the same. However, the unpredictability of the culture here means things can pop up or change at any time, making every day feel different. One thing we're learning is to stop and take advantage of things when you have them, such as water, electricity or internet.

To get a glimpse of our everyday life back in Denmark, you can see an ordinary day in January 2013February 2013, or September 2013. I'm planning to join Ali Edwards in documenting an entire week from 27th October to 2nd November. Care to join in?

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