I’ve been remiss in posting – here’s a little of what I’ve been up to in the last month:
- English Classes: I’m on my third week of teaching at the middle school this semester, and overall classes are going really well. I asked for more class time and fewer students per class this year, so I’ve ended up with 6 classes, 4-9 students per class. I have a basic framework for the lesson plans, and the classes are all going through it at vastly different paces. The important part, though, is that with the small class sizes I actually get relatively attentive students vs. the chaos of 30 students in one room I had last year. Hooray!
- Basketball Hoops: We’ve got the metal for the basketball hoops, and I watched sodering equipment get loaded up into a car to get taken to the school yesterday afternoon. Insha’allah, the metal will be cut and sodered, starting today.
- Wheat: Ok, so this isn’t a project, but I’m still really excited about it. I’ve been trying to buy wheat for a really long time, but when I ask most people respond with some variation of, “‘oh, I’ll give you a bunch of wheat for free, ask me about it sometime later.” I’ve been given small amounts of wheat flour a few times this way, but I never return and press the issue because my conscience won’t let me just barge in on someone’s house and demand that they give me a lot of flour for free. But I found a seller! I am now the proud owner of what is probably 10+ kilos of wheat grain, cleaned but unsorted, for 65Dh. I lugged it from the seller’s house to my host family’s house yesterday on my back with a very bright purple wrap skirt I got in Mexico (12 years ago now?); normally the lugging is done with a black shawl with bright embroidery, but I’ve yet to obtain one. I’m going to go over to my host family’s today to sort it after I teach, and then I’ll take it to the mill and have a reasonable amount of wheat flour for the first time in my service! I’m overwhelmed with the possibilities – wheat pasta, pancakes, bagels, baguettes, pizza, tortillas, foccacia… yay!
- It’s shucking season! Being social at this time of year often involves sitting down around a large pile of drying corn and shucking for the length of the visit. Yesterday, while waiting for the wheat (and around eating lunch) I managed to get a solid four hours of shucking in. I’m a pro now; it’s one of the few activities that I can do every bit as fast (if not faster) than the locals around me. It’s repetitive, but there’s something a little satisfying about watching the big wicker basket repeatedly fill with corn that will one day turn into corn couscous or harsha. As a bonus, the corn that’s still juicy gets thrown on a nearby burner until it’s appropriately blackened – corn on the cob! Yum.
- Fes! I went to Fes to see my very talented friend Socorra perform at Cafe Clock, as well as to hang out with some friends I hadn’t seen in a while. I managed to spend much longer in the Fes medina than I had on previous visits; Helen Rose and Donna and I window shopped with vigor. We were all present shopping; I made out with some nice gifts for my favorite ladies back at site.
As always, there are some project ideas lurking in my head and in conversation with different community members – notably, I got approached and told about an association in my town that I’d never heard of yesterday, so it’ll be interesting to see if that lead goes anywhere. For now, I’m going to go make my best approximation of creole grits with soft-boiled eggs for breakfast (I’m perfecting this) and clean house a little before heading off to teach. Have a good one!