** From March 24th. Apologies… the internet has been temperamental. **
I have never been able to function on limited sleep. I always need eight hours, minimum. Anyone who has lived with me in college knows that. Well, Tanzania has definitely tested my limits.
The first few weeks here I actually worried about having too much time, how absurd. Now that I have settled in, found activities, and know what I want to get out of this experience, the days are never long enough. And they are getting faster. At first days and weeks lasted forever. Then it felt like the days lasted eons but the weeks were somehow passing quickly. This week the hours started to fly.
My days here consist of the following: I wake up at 6:00 and try to use the internet before running or working out with Shealyn, than I rush to breakfast at 7:30 and get to class by 8:00. After classes end around 12:00 we eat lunch. After lunch I hang around the gate chatting with Martha, our day guard, and listening to Tanzanian music. Occasionally I will walk downtown with friends to visit the tailor or grab a soda. Then I grab some chai, slackline and pretend to do homework until 5:30 when we run over to the primary school to play soccer with the staff and the locals. At 6:30 I return to campus, shower and sneak into the kitchen and get thrown orders – they are used to me showing up now. After dinner we listen to a short presentation by the “mwanafunzi of the day.” Then I get pulled into a game of “Kardi Moja” with the staff until I realize it is already 9:00. I do some homework outside under the moon, chat with the night guards and other staff, have deep introspective chats with student friends, realize how absurdly late it is, panic, remember I have to journal (which takes forever) and then go to bed. And sometimes somewhere in there we go places for lectures, community service or field work.
Yesterday I faced the consequences of sleep deprivation and got sick. I had to take a short trip to the clinic, FAME. No worries, I’m fine, I learned Doctor Frank has a legendary history and a sweet woman told me I look smart, so it was a fulfilling trip. However, the medicine he gave me to lower the effects of the other medicine he gave me made me sleepy. I promptly returned to campus and passed out for four whole hours. Oops.
I have learned that sleep is important to functioning – who knew!? But I have also learned that every experience is important to take advantage of. Maybe I am always tired and I keep getting distracted from my homework but it is the spontaneous experiences that teach me the most and that I’ll remember. I received no truer advice for this trip than that from a former SFS student, “you’ll sleep when you get home.” I just have to make sure I don’t keep getting sick… I suppose that could be considered counterproductive.
NOTE: The night after writing this post I was doing homework (obviously way too late) and my throat started to hurt. I woke up with… you guessed it… yet another fever. Welcome, flu. Two full days of sleeping later I finally am starting to feel like a person. (Hopefully I’m not preemptively declaring this again). Karma’s a b*tch. Will I ever learn? Probably not. But really, I should start sleeping…