Monday, October 23, 2006


(Debbie again, posting for Sharon - Written September 24)

The roving pack of barking dogs didn't keep me awake in Azrou, but there was a dog in TimHdit that did - seemed to be barking outside my window. Inspired by the suggestion of one of the guys in the group of trainees, I came up with this haiku in the wee hours of the morning:

Animal control
One person with a shotgun
Would take care of it.

Apparently in one town that did happen.

In many ways TimHdit would be the ideal site - it's accessible, it has electricity and drinkable tap water (which I'm back on), but it had no cyber. There's a volunteer here, in her first year, who learned Tamazight (the Berber language) and is learning Arabic now (the residents tend to switch, not that I can always tell at the moment). She lived with my host family when she arrived, so she visits often. The artisans are weavers, and she has a good relationship with them. The Program Assistant has asked me more than once ifI would mind a rural site - I asked other people and they said he hasn't asked them; I wonder if that's because they have a site in mind for me or because they already told him more specifics. I have the sense (from one of the current volunteers) that they want to put the women in rural sites for safety and security. But I think my sister might be right - this level of roughing it is probably enough for me, and I should tell them. If I do end up in a site like this, I did not bring - or even designate to be sent - enough cold-weather clothes. It was summer on the first day of fall and fall by the afternoon, and apparently it's a long, COLD, snowy winter. That last box of stockings and socks from the final repacking? I miss them.

There are other trainees in my group who have blogs. My experience - what I'm choosing to write about, that is, and it is a choice because I'm leaving so much out - is what I think my friends and family would find interesting, what I would talk about if I called on the phone. But you might try to search for other blogs to add further context - especially pictures. If I can get some links I'll add them. There are two web sites of current volunteers - Cory Driver's and Nam LaMore's - that some of the trainees in my group looked at while getting ready to go to (and were highly complimetary of...Mine is probably too chatty for someone who doesn't know me, but that's OK).

Ramadan: My official statement is "don't ask, don't tell." Well, since the "don't ask" part is unrealistic, I just won't tell. I've said - and I'll sitck to it - that my priority is being attentive and able to concentrate in class, and if it takes water and food, so be it. Some families have a pre-dawn meal, which I was going to ask to be woken up for - mine doesn't, which is just fine. Mine has l'ftur, a break-fast, at sundown and then dinner at 1:00 am and then they sleep as late as possible - I told them I'd join them for l'ftur and then nes (sleep). They understood! I helped shell chick peas (Hms - sound familiar?) for hgira, the traditional l'ftur soup - Halti Halima got a big kick out of my pantomiming that I make soup too - out of a can - and that one of my specialties is dialing for delivery (not completely true but true enough - and it made them laugh - and is part of exposing American culture to other people, which is one of the goals of the Peace Corps). You're not suposed to gossip during Ramadan - so we got some out of the way beforehand - or wear cosmetics (something I can live with to be outwardly respectful). See comment section for more delicate info.

The picture is from CBT phase 3 but this is as good a place for it as any - a traditional wedding cape produced by the TimHdit cooperative.

Comment from Sharon - Women who have their period are exempt from fasting those days. That'll coincide with my next home stay. We have no secrets!
But you know, if you don't fast for health reasons (sick, pregnant, have your period), you're supposed to make up the fast some other month! Which would surely be MUCH harder... :-)
Yes, I do know that! A lot of people make it up right away after L-Eid. All I can say is that everyone seems to be in a better mood now that it is over.
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