We arrived to the volunteer camp a few days ago and were greeted by getting dots put on our foreheads.

It really is a camp, and I kind of feel like I’m on Survivor. Everything is outdoors except my bedroom (though the bugs don’t seem to know the difference). I walk everywhere barefoot. There are hammocks for reading. Our meals are served outdoors and we only get meat twice a week. There is a small store on camp where we can buy water, Coke, or chocolate. We write down what we take and only pay on Mondays.

I wash my clothes in a bucket and hang it dry (though it never really dries, on account of the constant monsoons). When I was packing for this trip I brought as little as possible, thinking the idea of “just having to make due” seemed charming and adventurous. Now, as I sit out in the heat between torrential downpours, scrubbing my clothes in a bucket filled with dirt and bugs, I find myself asking myself things like “Really? I couldn’t have packed just a few more pairs of panties? REALLY?”

Shockingly, we have a small recreation room that has a few computers where we get free internet (though power outages are frequent and I usually experience at least two in the course of writing an e-mail). The recreation room also has a library of books left by previous volunteers. Unfortunately, most of them are in German (except for one written by one of my old IU professors, and another one advertised as “the closest you can get to having an affair without actually having one”).

The amount of down-time we have had at camp over the last few days has been making me kind of panicky and delirious. Luckily, volunteer work finally starts tomorrow. (I think it does, anyway. Every day they seem to tell us it starts tomorrow).