Updates!

  • The new Trainees are here! They’re probably in their CBT sites right now, being introduced to their new target languages. They’ll be visiting their sites when everyone from my staaj is gathered for In Service Training (IST), so we won’t meet them until they swear in and move to their new sites permanently. We have one volunteer in my souqtown who will be COSing (and who will be missed), and we think two new volunteers will be coming. This is all very exciting – my staajnmates and I are no longer the PC Morocco newbies! This is going fast…
  • I went to a wedding all decked out in a caftan (pretty dress), tesbinit (red, yellow, and black scarf traditionally worn at… we’ll say dances, I have no good translation for aheydus), and the black eyeliner all the ladies wear here. This getup was a two family effort, and everyone thought it was great that I (a) was nervous about having some lady stick a black makeup encrusted sharp stick at my eye and (b) that I preferred the tesbinit over the yellow bangly scarf because it could have been said, in a stretch, to match the caftan – why this mattered to me, the ladies simply did not know. Wearing the caftan, apparently, no scarf was not an option – and the tesbinit went over very, very well. The greatest part was running into people I knew and having them not recognize me at all, a few times even after greeting them – maybe my tashelheit is improving after all! When this happened, a girl I went to the wedding with would be quick to point out ‘Han tarumit’ or ‘look, guys, it’s the foreigner!’ Good times, and really good food – freshly slaughtered something (people discussed whether it was young cow or ram, I never heard the verdict) on skewers, followed by tajine with stewed plums, couscous, and fruit. Yummy.
  • I spent a few days with a new friend here – she’s 25, and seemingly pretty progressive for being from around here. She understands a fair amount of english and wants to learn more, and is very patient helping me with my tash.  There’s still a bit of a language/culture barrier, so I can’t relax around her quite as much as I do with my american friends, but we’re almost there. And it feels really nice to have a friend like that in my site.
  • As briefly mentioned in the last post, I bought an oven! It was 4,400 Ryals – 220Dh, for those interested in the price in a monetary unit which actually exists. It’s a small oven that attaches to the big butane tank I have for my stove, and hopefully sometime soon will be cooking goodies like banana bread, cookies, calzones, cornbread, and more. But for now it’s just hanging out and looking sad, because while I thought I could just buy white flour in my town I’ve been advised against it – much better to buy flour in my souq town. As for the wheat flour I mentioned, I helped my friend and her mom sort through the wheat grains (pulling out rocks and such), but then I had to run off to the wedding, and I haven’t gotten the sorted wheat to take to the grinder yet. And so I wait.
  • I finally talked to the head of the local middle school about teaching English! I think I’ll be teaching tomorrow for the first time, although I’m not quite sure about that – I still need to drop by the school this afternoon to confirm.  This is the first day, so things are a bit hectic and I believe schedules are still being pounded out. If things go as discussed, I’ll have two classes that I’ll meet with twice a week for an hour each class – 4 hours a week, 2hours on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. He said something about getting books from the ministry of education, so hopefully we’ll have a (British leaning) textbook soon.
  • My semi-sitemate got herself sick off something last week – jury’s out on what – and spent several days homebound. I went over there only intending on spending an hour, but ended up over there for about a day and a half.  We spent some time with her host family, who I hadn’t seen in almost two months, and with a few of the elementary school teachers in her town (who mostly just speak Arabic and French, but speak some English and some Tashelheit, so we can muddle through).  I also didn’t fast one day during Ramadan, and made that day up while I was hanging out at my friend’s house. We mostly watched Grey’s Anatomy, which is a terrible, terrible addicting show I advise against.
  • For this week: I hope to teach my first few English classes, then head to Imilchil for the wedding festival. Theoretically, historically people would come from all over to go to the wedding festival to meet someone favorable and then get married on the spot. While it’s doubtful weddings really happen anymore, it sounds like lots of people do get engaged (at first site) at the festival, and it’s a really big souq – livestock, carpets, clothing, food, and I have no idea what else.  On my way back, I hope to finally pick up a fridge and some flour so I can get a little more self reliant with my cooking! Full report, and hopefully pictures, to come.
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