You wake up to the sound of the local mosque blasting the call of prayer. You cut up some mango for breakfast and sit down in your apartment living room to look over your plans for the day. You also take some time to pray over the conversations and interactions you will have today. As you wrap up your morning you throw on your best tennis shoes, knowing that today you will be on your feet a lot.
The heat from the sun surrounds you with a warm embrace this morning on your way to the university. Luckily it's dry season, so you don’t have to worry about the possibility of a tropical monsoon soaking your walk. This sunshine on your face is a familiar feeling, as you’re now three months into the five-month dry season, and you can’t remember the last time the temperature was below the 80s.
You said yes to adventure and that’s what this place has given you. Most mornings, like today, you wake up to the weirdest and loudest bird that seems to be right outside your window. You eat a quick breakfast because the team is leaving early for their trek into the part of the jungle known as Yanesha land. You hop into the back of a truck and hang on as the driver dodges tree branches and limbs, potholes, and other cars coming down the tiny dirt road.
The sun peeks through the blinds as you are woken up by the neighbor’s rooster whom you have lovingly named Reginald. It’s not his fault he sounds like he’s dying. To add to the symphony of your Zambian alarm, you hear a “thump” on your roof as an avocado falls from a tree. You get out of bed and savor the warm breeze coming through your window that helps to break up the humidity while you sip your coffee.
Your alarm goes off, although it isn’t your cell phone. It is the call to prayer rustling through the window. When you first got to the field, it startled and confused you, but now it is a gentle reminder of the beauty of the culture and the reason for your being here in this city. You start getting ready for the day, slowly going through your morning ritual. You check your phone to get an idea of the weather - you’ll be out all day. You grab your coat, a pair of good shoes, and you're off!
This city is in the center of Europe and is home to people from more than 180 nations. Imagine you’re standing in the heart of the city. You can hear at least four different languages. You smell cigarette smoke and roasting sausages. The brisk breeze blows your hair back as you hurry to get to your subway stop. On your left are coffee shops, an electronics store, and a shopping mall with tall apartment buildings in the distance. On your right is a 100-year-old cathedral, its dome showing the scars of war.