Lauren in Morocco

This Blog has no direct association with the Peace Corps.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

June, entering my 5th month in Morocco

First of all, let me just say I am sorry I haven't updated my blog in about a month. I sometimes prefer emailing the whole group because I can say anything I am thinking. I've officially been a volunteer for one month, but I've been in country for 4 months. During June I lived with my second host family and worked in the sbitar. A normal day for me is: waking up around 5:30 because that is when the roosters start or the sheep run through the middle of the house, I normally pretend to sleep until about 7, because waking up at 5:30 makes for a long day, I eat a breakfast consisting of bread and tea with my host family, I go to the sbitar from 8-12, I eat lunch around 2. Let me pause here and mention that lunch is the longest and most important meal of the day in Morocco, so we normally start the process around 12:30 by drinking tea and sit until the food comes around 2 and then sit more and drink more tea. By this point I've had about 4 hours of sitting with my host family understanding part of what's going on, so around 4 everyday I need to get out of the house and go for a walk to different duars (villages), then from 6-dark I run because I am training for the half marathon in Marakesh next year. After dark it's the same sitting and eating routine as lunch, plus reading. I think I finally have a grasp on the language, well when I am at the sites of other volunteers I do. Most other volunteers are replacing volunteers so their families understand that you are not going to understand every single thing at first and their families tell me I am doing very well with the language. No one in my host family seems to understand that I've only been learning the language for 3 months and I am told almost everyday that I know nothing. That is quite alright, when I return to America I will have an extremely above average confidence level. The other day my host grandmother was standing outside of my room saying all kinds of crazy things and I just said I don't understand, I don't understand. She was trying to tell me the lighter didn't work, now if she would have just said lighter and does not work..I would have understood. Instead she was using the Arabic word for stick and the Arabic word for lighter...well A. I never learned Arabic and B. I don't think I know the work for stick in Tamazirt either. I would say I know about 90 verbs..Which is enough for any day to describe what I am doing and all nouns concerning people, clothes, houses, the sbitar, water, food, the outdoors, and traveling...All of which should suffice, but my host family likes to switch it up. One morning this week I exited my room around 7 and there were about 30 people in my house, my host mother said they had already eaten breakfast because today was special day and gave me some dates. I asked her if it was a holiday and she said no, but did the harvesting motion...So I used the verb to harvest and the word for field and the answer was still no. She said we work very hard all day and eat breakfast, then rice at 10, the couscous, and finally tajine. From what I could gather no one was working, so from what I could gather from language..I think this was a day maybe to celebrate the end of harvest and hard work. One man from each family in our duar came to our house and ate, the older men in one room and the younger in another. Then around 4 all the women from town came to our house and we all ate. I will never really be sure what the event was for that day, other volunteers live relatively close to tutors or mentors who may be able to answer this question, but I live 2 or 3 hours from anything of the sort. That night the women in my town tried to teach me how to make bread and when I said I didn't know, she said you will never learn our language. Maybe it's just me, but I see no correlation between learning a language and making bread..ahah. I had a lunch meeting with all of the teachers in town this week, before they went on summer vacation, about potential health lessons and projects and that was very productive. They also told me if in September, when they returned, I wanted to play soccer...Then we would start a community soccer league. I also went and found our town association (the government of our town) and had a meeting solely in Tamazirt about potential projects and duars in the area with no water. I have a scheduled meeting with the Rice (the leader of my area) in two weeks, which I am looking forward to. I have also found a house, so in August I will be able to move. My conversations with teachers were also good because the teachers are very educated and I was able to receive varied viewpoints on cultural issues which I will write more about later.