Sunday, December 12, 2010

LEid and getting ready for thanksgiving

*Ok, this blog was written a REALLY long time ago. I appreciate your interest inspite of my delay in entries. I have decided to write my entries a little differently. They will be more like journal entries with dates on them so if it takes me a long time to submit, you will know when I wrote it J Thanks for keeping up with me and my life in Morocco!*

(between the months of October and November)

Hello all of my wonderful family, friends, and blog followers! I thank you guys for checking in and keeping up with what I have been up to and learning in Morocco. So I get a couple of magazines a month from the National Peace Corps Association, and the theme of this month’s magazine is about fulfilling the third goal of peace corps: bringing our experience back home. The official statement of the third goal is … but in my terms, it is about taking our experiences as volunteers and using them to help other people expand their own worldview. I hope that my entries are helping you all see this part of the world in a new, exciting light. I always encourage you to do your own research about this wonderful country and culture that I am immersed in. My point of view should not at all be taken as a generalization of Morocco as a whole, not even as a generalization of the province of Tata as a whole. That’s what is so fascinating about this country! It is hard to believe that even within a few miles of a big city with fancy clothes, lap tops, Mercedes benzes, and washing machines there are communities that have to fetch water twice a day, wake up at 5am to bake their own bread, wash their clothes in a ditch, and are just as happy as those big city folks. Maybe more so. I still can’t get over the wonderful hospitality of my community members. They are teaching me so many wonderful things about how to approach life and daily situations.

Yesterday (October 11th) I did my first lesson at the local health clinic. I spoke to women about family planning and the different methods offered at the clinic. I think that it went pretty well and I was able to explain everything well enough for the women to understand me. Tomorrow, Eric and I are going to do a lesson on handwashing at one of the grade school classrooms. We are going to help them make a poster of their hand prints for world handwashing day.

So for the passed couple of days I’ve been sick with a bad cold. It really sucks to be sick in another culture. I have people telling me that the wind made me sick (which I can understand their logic… wind = cold weather = lowered body temp = harder time for immune system to fight off microbes) and that I’ve been riding my bike too much. They keep telling me that I should stop drinking really cold water because that is what makes you sick. I’ve also been told what remedies will cure it. A mixture of coffee, vinegar, and lemon juice will get rid of it, as well as mixing yogurt with instant coffee as a medicine. My community members also don’t seem to use rest as a way of getting better. I don’t really want to be around anyone because I don’t want to make anyone else sick, but they tell me that I should walk around to make me feel better. I hope my cold doesn’t last for very much longer because I can’t handle having 5 “medical experts” checking in on me for very much longer J They are being very sweet by looking after me to make sure that I’m alright.

I have an interesting story about interacting with forgeiners in my community. On the 14th of octber, outside my health clinic, a group of mechanics set up shop on the road. The mechanics were servicing cars that were coming through the town as part of a week-long rally that traversed all over Morocco. At first I was really excited to see other English speakers and wanded the opportunity to speak with them. But as I kept watching and observed the different, subtle ways that they were treating my fellow community members and their town, I grew a little annoyed with them, maybe even a little bit angry. I started to look at the bigger picture of the situation going on in front of me: This group of foreigners, coming in with no way of communicating with the people, using their road; And when their cars are all fixed up they drive off like they are on a race track when the road is full of kids. I could also get a vibe of prejudice coming from them. I am surprised with my reaction a bit, for I felt a little protective of my friends around me. I wasn’t very comfortable with the idea that the visitors may have thought more of me because I spoke English and am American. And despite whatever I feel, there is no way to change it. That is life. All I can do is be a good friend to my host country nationals and spread the word of understanding and tolerance to you lovely people.

At the beginning of November, I head to Marrakech for another training. I will learn about grant writing and take a break from my site to re-focus my plans and organize a bit more. Thanks to all who keep up with me and in case I can’t talk to you all before, have a Happy Thanksgiving!!!

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