A Day in the Life of a Peace Corps Nepal Trainee

I’ve been in Nepal a little over a month and I’m almost halfway done with Pre-Service Training (PST)! The past five weeks have been intense, full of Nepali language classes, technical trainings, projects and gardening. However, I’m feeling more and more integrated every day, my language skills are improving (very slowly) and I’m starting to get into a routine, which feels really good.

While every day is a little different, I thought it would be cool to give people an idea of what a typical day in the life of a Peace Corps Trainee (PCT) looks like in Nepal.

Sunday – Friday

6:00 – 6:15 Wake up

Okay, this is actually the time I get out of bed. Usually the animals wake me up around 5:30 but this morning I woke up at 4:30 to blasting puja (Hindu prayer ritual) music.

6:30 Drink khalo chiya

My aamaa (mom) always brings me khalo chiya (black tea) in the morning as I’m getting ready for class.

6:50 Walk to Nepali language class

I’m lucky I only live a five-minute walk from our classroom!

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My daily commute to Nepali class

7:00 – 9:00 Nepali language class

My language class, or cluster, has only four people in it. And, luckily, they are all pretty cool. It’s really nice being in a small class setting because it’s super chill and much easier to actively participate, which is crucial when learning a new language. We spend about 90% of our class talking about biscuits and samosas but it’s amazing how much we’ve learned in just four weeks of class!

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9:15 – 9:30 Daal Bhaat

My first daal bhaat of the day! In Nepal, this meal is considered lunch, which is hard for me to get used to since this is breakfast time for me. Daal bhaat literally translates to lentil soup (daal) and rice (bhaat), but it’s also typically served with tarkari (vegetables). Sometimes, though, if I’m lucky, my host family will make me a tareko aanda (fried egg) or some tareko aalu (fried potatoes, A.K.A. french fries!).

9:30 – 10:15 Study

I usually spend some time reviewing my Nepali notes and studying in the sun on my host family’s roof.

10:30 – 12:30 Nepali language class

Another two hours of talking about biscuits and samosas in Nepali (and other important stuff, like grammar, of course).

मलाई बिस्कुटहरु एकदम मनपर्छ

मेरी समोसा साथीको नाम रासीन हो

म हिजो बिस्कुटहरु खाना खाए

12:30 – 17:00 Afternoon training

My afternoons are always a bit different. Sometimes we have a technical agricultural session in our model garden. Sometimes we walk to town for cultural, medical or safety trainings. And sometimes we just spend the afternoon working in our gardens at home or studying.

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An afternoon of technical training in our model gardens. In this session we learned how to properly layout a garden.

17:00 – 19:00 Free time

We don’t get much free time as PCTs, but during the evenings I usually spend some time hanging out with my bahinis (little sisters) and bhaai (little brother). Sometimes we exercise (they love to exercise!), sometimes they help me practice Nepali, and sometimes we just hang out in my bedroom or outside.

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Climbing trees with my bhaai on the hunt for hariyo paat (green leaves) to make compost for my garden

19:00 – 19:30 Daal Bhaat

My second daal bhaat of the day. I’m still getting used to eating the same thing twice a day, every day. But on the bright side, I’m much better at eating with my right hand now!

20:00 Bed time

By 8 pm I’m ready to get cozy in bed and read a good book or watch a few TV episodes that I have downloaded on my external hard drive.

Saturday

I’m used to two-day weekends, but in Nepal, Saturday is the only day off. Fortunately, my host family lets me sleep in a little bit, which is a nice treat at the end of a long week! My Saturdays typically vary a lot – my first Saturday here, for example, I went to a temple in the morning with my family. Yesterday, I decided to go on a hike to a monastery called Namo Buddha with some fellow PCTs!

I always try to get a few productive things done as well, such as laundry (by hand!), cleaning my room, working out or taking a shower (taking a shower is NOT an every day thing here and typically requires some planning). Usually, in the afternoon, I walk into town (about 15 minutes away) to do some shopping, access WiFi at a café and sip on some dudh chiya (milk tea – my favorite!). Just like during the week, my evenings are usually spent with my host family, eating daal bhaat and getting in bed around 8 pm.

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Exploring Namo Buddha, a nearby monastery

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Doing laundry by hand. It’s hard work!

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Shopping in town

 

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