After the site visit, we spent one more week at our CBT (community based training) site, where we were tested for language proficiency. Everyone passed at a novice high level or above – I received above novice high, but below what I would have liked. Hopefully I learn quickly how to pick up language outside of the classroom setting.
On Sunday morning my Staaj came back to Ouarzazate, and today everyone is leaving again. Yesterday we all got dressed up and walked to the government building to be sworn in as Peace Corps volunteers. There were short talks from the US Ambassador to Morocco, the Governor of Ouarzazate, the PC country director, and the top PC Trainee in each of the three languages we were learning. Then the ambassador swore us in, we had juice and cookies, and we went on our way.
In the afternoon, I took advantage of a free tour we were offered of a movie studio – movies filmed partially or in whole at the studio include Jewel of the Nile (the first movie there), Gladiator, and upcoming Ben Hur flick, The Mummy Returns, Kundun, etc. It was pretty cool to be in Tibet, walk through a doorway and be in Rome, then Jerusalem, then Egypt…
Yesterday evening they had a Tamazight drum/dance group play on the roof of our hotel, and a bunch of us joined the ladies dancing – they dance together in a line, often just clapping or joining hands and moving (a little similar to the dancing at Greek Orthodox church festivities).
This morning I’ve already said goodbye to most of our staaj – most people left in the morning, but I’m on a noon bus and the people headed to Tata are leaving at 2:30pm, so a few of us are still milling about. I’m going to spend the night in my souq town, hopefully meeting the volunteers there and opening a post office box, and then I’ll be heading to my site – I’m very excited to start getting to know my town.