Good Friday was a school holiday, so the only thing on my schedule for the day was church in the morning. I was happy to have some time to keep catching up on all of the things that have been piling up since Peru. Even though I wasn’t actively stressed about them, I don’t like falling behind, and my to-do list was far too long for comfort.

Random fun fact of the day: there is a 99.9% chance that I’m currently using crepe paper as toilet paper.

The Good Friday service was the usual two hours of me understanding nothing, but this time it was slightly better because I have a friend! Her name is Anna, and she’s a teacher at another school in town. She and her mom go to our church, and Ruth introduced me to them saying, “this is Lara. She’s very lonely… be her friend.” Oh thanks. I guess I can’t complain though because now they’ve taken me under their wings, and I don’t have to sit alone anymore! Plus, during the service, Anna whispered what scripture passages were being read, so at least I could kind of follow along.

After the service, we all went over to the school to pray over the building, the students, parents, and teachers, and the school’s quest to become accredited. They’re been trying for five years now to get the official government accreditation, and they meet every requirement. The problem is that no one will pass through your application without a bribe, and Pastor Daniel refuses to pay. At some point, I’ll explain more of the background of the school, but the important thing in this situation is that a lot of kids are on scholarship. If a bribe is paid, that means less kids get to go to school. Not being accredited isn’t the end of the world. The school can still operate, and the kids can take the exams they need to go on to further education. With accreditation though, the school will attract more students, and with that, they’ll be able to give more scholarships to kids who need them.

I don’t know if you can read it, but the label on the muffins is “butter muffins”. I don’t know what that means, but I can’t imagine that they’re anything less than calorie-packed and delicious.

For the rest of the day, plus all of Saturday, I holed up in my room and got stuff done. It feels so nice to be able to cross things off of my list! Friday night, my third sister, Myra, arrived from boarding school in the south. She’s on holiday now for about the next month. With her came Pastor Daniel with a pile of baked goods for me, even though I said I didn’t need anything. At this rate, I’m going to roll home from India. Workouts start Monday!

Saturday afternoon was supposed to include a trip to buy me a bike, but that got scrapped when it started pouring rain. I’m really hoping it isn’t forgotten because I will lose my mind if I can’t go anywhere without a chauffeur for my entire trip. I’m working at the school in the mornings, and that’s fine because it’s literally across the street from the house, but there is another project I’m hoping to help with in the afternoons.

This is maybe like 1/5 of the books… I think they said it’s around 4,000 total

At the Bible college that Pastor Daniel started, they are cataloging and organizing a huge donation of library books. Since I’m now a professional library organizer, I said I could help. The college is about a 30-minute walk from the house, but I’m not allowed to walk anywhere by myself. So, currently, the only way I can get there is if someone drives me. That’s fine every so often, but it’s ridiculous to expect someone to do that every day (it also doesn’t help with my “don’t treat me like a princess” campaign). Chances are it will just mean that I can’t go half the time because everyone is busy, and the other half I’ll be wasting hours and hours waiting for rides.

I’ve been struggling a lot with the feeling of losing my independence. I can’t walk alone here because of safety and all that, and it makes me feel like a child. I’m trapped in this house. A bike is my ticket to freedom.

It’s been mentally exhausting couple of days… Yesterday morning, as predicted, I finished the library cataloging job! It’s exciting that I actually estimated my finish time correctly because estimation is definitely not one of my strengths. (For example, I once estimated that there were 200 people at a concert where there were a few thousand. Another time, I estimated the population of our village in Ghana at 1000 people which, in hindsight, is ridiculously low because there are probably at least that many kids in the schools. Oops.) Anyway, for once I was right and with a little time to spare. I finished all of the books about 20 minutes before lunch. Perfect!

Isn’t it beautiful? I put those colored stickers on the spines. Vanessa did most of the pink, blue, and light orange books in the bottom left part of the bookcase, but the rest was all me!

The rest of the day was spent attempting and failing to make plans for my last week in Peru when I’m going to Cuzco and visiting Machu Picchu. I usually plan vacations with my friend Sarah, and we’re a perfect team because I gather a bunch of information, get overwhelmed, and am paralyzed. She steps in, combines her research with mine, and makes decisions. Then, I come back and work out the details. We’re a well-oiled machine. In summary, I can’t make choices because there are too many options. I spent probably 5 hours researching the same thing over and over again and getting nowhere because I have the information I need, but I want someone to just tell me what is best. I feel like this is such a classic girl problem… can’t make decisions. For me though, it’s mostly just in the area of vacation planning. So yeah, got nowhere on the trip details. I’m giving myself a deadline of this weekend to book my tickets (I do, at least, have my plane tickets already, so that’s something).
My big planning attempt was in response to a mild freak out I had when I realized that it’s March, and I’m only 3 weeks away from leaving Esperanza de Ana. How did time go so quickly?? Part of me is trying to ignore reality, and another part is trying to force myself to acknowledge it because it’s best to be mentally prepared. I can tell already that I’m going to have a much harder time leaving here than Ghana. There, yes I was leaving friends, but with my volunteer friends, I knew that soon enough, they were leaving too. Here, I will leave, and life will go on with all of the same people but without me. For some reason, that makes it harder to accept. I don’t know if that makes any sense… My head is all over the place about this.

Anyway, I’m apparently in a rambling mood today. Sorry for all of the mixed-up thoughts, but that’s where I am right now. No need to worry… I’ll work everything out soon enough.

I spent today helping Tony plan a staff activity for tomorrow. We’re going back to the pool where we took the kids that one time during summer school, and she asked me for help coming up with team building activities to do in the water. It should be interesting considering the broad spectrum of the staff’s experience and comfort level with water. We’re starting out with some water aerobics to get everyone moving and used to the pool, so I spent a few hours today watching videos of water aerobics workouts, learning some moves, and putting together a couple of routines. I think I’ve found my new calling, but we’ll find out for sure tomorrow.

Happy last week of summer break! Remember those days growing up? One more week to fit in every last bit of fun because life is basically over once school starts. Well, lucky for me, I don’t have to go to school or do homework anymore, so I’m not enjoying this last week of freedom because of those reasons… I’m enjoying it because we’re currently kid-free. Is it bad that I’m kind of loving it? One more week to fit in every last bit of quiet, tantrum-free time because life is basically over once school starts. Okay, slight exaggeration… but it IS going to become much less relaxing.

Everyone is working this week to get things ready for the start of school/the after-school program/the overnight program. I have been assigned the task of organizing the library which, if you know me, you know that I love books. I’m more than happy to take on the challenge. Vanessa started the process of cataloging and sorting the books, and I’m finishing the work she started. I spent all of yesterday and half of today holed up in the library, listening to music, putting stickers onto books, and entering information about each one into a spreadsheet. The alone time has been great, and I always like tasks like this. It’s simple and a bit repetitive, and I get to figure out the most efficient way of getting it done. There’s nothing better than making a plan, executing it, and knowing that it was done the most effective way. Ah I love efficiency.

Library cave

I made great progress yesterday, and I think I would have finished today if I had worked on it during the morning as well. Instead, Debbie and I had the joy of cleaning the floor in our old classroom. Throughout the course of summer school, it got to be more and more of a disaster. A lot of the kids worked on their models on the floor which means that it was completely covered in glue, tape, glitter, and paint. After sweeping up whatever we could, we went at the paint spots with soapy water and scrubby brushes and the glue and tape with razor blades. Thankfully, Debbie brought some mats that had been adapted into knee pads, so we didn’t have to kneel on the floor or squat the entire time. It made things about a million times more comfortable. Over an hour later, we had a floor covered in only soap, and I felt gross. We mopped to get the soap up and then left the floor to dry. Not my favorite thing I’ve ever done, but at least I felt accomplished at the end. Plus, now it’s finished, and we won’t have to do it again!
Tomorrow I’m headed back to my library cave to finish up the rest of the books. Is it lame that I’m a little bit excited? If only there were more books… It’s too bad that I’ve been so efficient because I only need another couple hours to finish. I’d be happy doing that job all day.