My morning routine
20.03.2016 - 28.03.2016 23 °C
Even after only one week, my mornings are beginning to follow a routine of sorts. I always wake quite a bit earlier, but my day begins at about 6:15am, to the sound of Prakash knocking on my door, crying “Good morning Andy! Black tea!” It took me only a day or two to learn to be ready for this, except for the day when there was a lot of extra chores to be done, and my tea came at 5:45.
The tea has a dual purpose. Of course, it’s a nice wakeup ritual, but it also serves to keep me out of everyone’s hair for at least half an hour, sometimes a bit longer, while they go about their work.
One of the biggest morning chores is feeding the sheep. At this time of year there isn’t a lot of vegetation for them to eat, so they are given a mixture of molasses (a by-product of the millet wine-making process; more on that another time) and rice bran. They are brought out of their pens in two sittings and gather around one of three enormous tubs of this homemade feed. They make fairly short work of their breakfast, then go back into their pens to await the arrival of their shepherdess.
Some of the morning chores I’ve witnessed are not part of the everyday routine. For example, one morning the entire garlic crop – enough to last the family a whole year – had been harvested before I finished my black tea. Another morning I emerged from my room to find someone already at work splicing bamboo to build a fence around the field where the corn is about to be planted. This field is on the sheep’s route, so the fence is needed to protect the young plants from trampling and worse. Anyway, the fence was basically completed while I was sitting there eating my breakfast that day.
And another time I was invited into the kitchen to see how the buffalo milk is churned. The buffalo doesn’t give a lot of milk at the moment, so it takes 3-4 days to collect enough to bother churning.
Breakfast is between 7-8am, then I have my bath/shower by about 8:30. Often by this time there might be a student or two dropping by for an early morning chat, so I either do that or read my book in the sunshine for a while before getting ready for school. By 9:30 I know to peek outside to see whether my escorts have arrived, and we head off to school around 9:40.
The walk to school is one of my favourite parts of the day. After setting out from home, we collect more people along the way, a bit like the Pied Piper. The more confident English speakers will happily chat with me about school, life, whatever, while the shy ones prefer to listen. Either way, they seem to be taking it all in.