Monday, October 16, 2006


I have a headache - my first really bad one since I got here. A good night's sleep will resolve that...and then tomorrow we leave for CBT phase III. During this phase the SBD programming people will come to interview us individually about what we want site-wise. This is a chance to think about my experiences over the past month and how they might have changed my interests/desires/needs. I stayed up late talking to one of the current volunteers - he had some good strategies. He's the only person who works with woodcarvers so he has had a lot of opportunity to go to craft fairs and to become the woodcarver expert. He also reminded me not to tell any HCN anything that I don't want the whole town to know, and that anything I tell someone can't be taken back, so to be careful with what I choose to reveal. I gave some more thought to the imaginary boyfriend thing and decided it's better not to lie. Perhaps to avoid being fixed up constantly, I can put an end to it by saying that I am here to focus on work. It's not in Moroccan culture to understand that people want time to themselves.
Thinking more about the action plan - the timelines reminded me of the Planning and Scheduling days back at Stone and Webster, with a little bit of Quintessence timelines thrown in. How nice to be able to draw on that experience! I always liked timelines. We're supposed to develop an action plan that we implement with the artisans during CBT Phase IV. I have to think about it over the next week, of course, but I think a nice bonding exercise with some cookies seems in order! Maybe chocolate.

We find out where our sites will be on the 28th - the suspense, speculation, rumors et. al. will be over. I have been listening to information but not seeking much, since much of it seems like potential misinformation. We could be anywhere, working with any set of artisans...

In today's discussion of leadership, we had to think of a leader from our own culture (however we defined that) who we admire and why, and a leader from another culture who we admired and why. I chose President Tilghman (of Princeton) and Nelson Mandela. It was nice to take myself out of Morocco for a minute and think about Princeton and about my time in South Africa! It was also interesting hearing the choices of some of the other people...I have said that I don't see our group as particularly altruistic compared to what I might have expected ahead of time (maybe small business development doesn't lend itslf to the altrusitic as much as maybe environment or health would) but there were a lot of pacifists among the leaders our group admired....

So...while I am gone I will send some telepathic messages cheering on the Mets and on a friend who is running the Chicago Marathon (she usually stayed with me the night before - a tradition I will miss) and try to attend Edie's pumpkin-carving party in spirit. Next month I'll miss my first home Harvard or Yale game since I graduated. Well, I said I could miss anything except Reunions...there's a lot I'll be missing (and/or attending in spirit).

Also - almost forgot to mention - we got another book today. Participatory Analysis for Community Action. It's a small book but I don't have much more room in the plastic bag! The picture is of some pillows at the Auberge made with traditional Berber designs.

Pumpkin carving will be a somewhat wistful affair, with you in Morocco and J. and K. in New York. But Becky, Julia, Fred and I will soldier on -- despite the reported pumpkin shortage! We'll carve one in your honor...

I hope your headache went away quickly. And I hope you get whatever site you want! Looking forward to hearing about it...
Dear Sharon,
I'm here at the Princeton Alumni Association office, thinking about you as we get ready for Harvard weekend. You will be missed. After you learn about your assignment, please do read your hotmail email and let me know if you think there might be a chance for a Princeton Journeys group to "swing by" to see you next April...
Leslie Rowley S95
Exec. Mangager, Princeton Journeys
So, Sharon, it looks like this is a more efficient way to contact you than email, albeit it more public! But given my website, I certainly can't claim to be concerned about being identifiable on the web!

My words of wisdom on being single - be honest about it, once you are at your site. The people there are going to be your colleagues and friends for two years, and you can't keep up a lie for that long, or with people you will come to know well. I usualy just laugh off people's concern about me being single. While you can understand that in their culture being single (and even more being childless) is a disaster, you're not Moroccan, and in due course they will have to understand that you are different from them. They might try to set you up, guys might hit on you - I'd suggest taking it with a good sense of humor.

Or of course you could pretend to be widowed! :-)

As for life here - the political situation is looking pretty good these days - maybe the Democrats will really take over! - living in a house (yeah, I'm really back in my house) is crummy, and I can't wait to go back on the road!

Hi Sharon -- I just noted that you said the blog is faster than e-mail. So I'll reiterate my e-mail question. Is mail coming through well enough for me to forward a package of mail to you?
Pumpkin shortage! I didn't hear about that! I jsut had pumpkin in the l-eid couscous!

As for whatever site I want...we have no idea what the option are...just a lot of rumors and speculation!

Leslie - I just saw your e-mail but this blog is much faster than hotmail. I would love to join the group at some point so will let you know when I know!!!! Thanks! (I missed being at Harvard weekend too - I might have said Yale in the post...that shows how far away I feel...)

Joy -thanks for the words of wisdom. They advise it to avoid fix-ups as well as because it doesn't make sense in their culture, but I've pretty much decided I have to be me.

Edie - I have gotten three letters from you so yes, but I don't have room in my suitcase for a pile of things, so I think best to wait for my new address. If there is a SMALL pile I can handle it but I had completely full suitcases, as you know, and didn't anticipate all the Peace Corps books and magazines I have already received!
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