Thursday, October 26, 2006


Back in Azrou after CBT Phase III. Thanks, Debbie and Elisa/Jenna, for posting my entries! I have some new pictures and hope to post them this weekend before (drum roll please) site visit. We hear our site announcements on Saturday (although now there's a rumor that it might be tomorrow night) and then go off on Monday morning to our sites, back the following Monday or Tuesday. I really hope I'm at a site with internet access!

First, a quick report on Phase III, and then I'll check my e-mail, and then I'll be back if I can. Phase III had two parts for me - being well and being sick. It was in the '80s when we left Azrou and the day after we got to TimHdit it had to have been 40 degrees cooler (sounds like Chicago). That's all well and good, but all of my appropriate clothing was in Azrou - I had switched from the short sleeves to the 3/4-length sleeves but that's about it. Plus I took a shower and had wet hair. Myth or not, I got sick. Achy and feverish and sore throat - I went to school and slept and didn't eat much and wished I had chicken soup but basically had no appetite. Called the doctor and went through a list of my symptoms and he prescribed amoxycillin and I felt much better and was able to enjoy l-eid.

L-eid sgir (small) is the small feast (the one on the stamp on my change-of-address letter is l-eid kbir, the big feast, and I'll describe that when the time comes). It celebrates the end of Ramadan. People getup early and have tea and cookies and visit each other in the morning and have more tea and more cookies. Our families visited each other and we visited our artisans and it was festive. In the afternoon, my friend and I sat in the sun and studied (nice to feel well enough to do that). The day ends with couscous. It really felt like a nice holiday day.

The state of Illinois sent me two absentee ballots. Vote early and often? I sent back just one but I may laugh about that for the rest of my life. I got the toys from my niece along with some of the cutest notes ever written. I have subjected just about half of my fellow trainees to them; the only reason I haven't subjected all of them is that I haven't seen everyone yet. Got a few other letters too and some magazines. Thank you!

Last night there was a party at the TimHdit volunteer's house for my host sister, who is going off to Italy before phase IV to marry a man who (as I understand it) she has not met. I'll have more to say about this later, but I know she is sad to leave her family and I am sad for her. But that's where the opportunity is for her to have children and to have a better life. My host family has a son in London and a daughter in France too. But last night was about celebrating. There were about 20 women there (and only women). Katie, the PCV, made pizza and pasta and chicken. There was some music on her iPod, but when one of the women went home and got a Tamarzight tape the party really went into full swing. People were dancing - yes, including me. You wrap a scarf around your bottom and (as one of the LCFs here said) "you shake what your mama has given you." I didn't have a scarf, but then again, I'm not sure I had the moves anyway. We danced for hours to the same song (somehow every time we changed it it got changed back). When we got home, my host mom gave me some traditional shoes. It'll be sad to leave TimHdit, in a way. She told me I am welcome back for a Saturday night stayover and I would like to visit!

Thanks to text messaging, I heard about the Mets. Down to the ninth inning of game 7! My brother-in-law and oldest niece went to that game! I think it would be a good story if the Tigers would win - they've had a magic season - but always root for the NL in my heart. I thought about calling in to the class officer's meeting - a nice dose of home, and I would only stay on the phone as long as it cost less than air fare from Chicago to Princeton - but I was in class; next year, maybe. Last (for now) I want to remind the people in Chicago to look up the Casablanca sister-city souk at the Cultural Center in December. You can see what products the artisans here make - and buy some!

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