Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Site visit! A group left for the bus stop at 6...then another group at 7...then more until finally there were two of us left. My family came to get me! And they drove her to the grand taxi station. I went to the gendarmerie and it turned out I didn't need to go and they were a bit miffed...and I went to the police station and I had been given the impression they would be expecting me, but they did not seem to know why I was there. I went back later and they told me what I needed to do to get a cartz de sejour (the working papers). Later I realized I was supposed to get a phone number but at the moment I feel too embarrassed to go back. I also went to the artisana to meet my counterpart, the person I will be working with. I had been to the artisana a few times already but not with the thought that it would ever be my workplace for the next two years. It has always been empty (of people) when I have been there; I would like to see how tourists react to it. I know the current volunteer had a lot of suggestions on improving the display and the product mix (he wanted it to be more reflective of the region) but didn't get much changed. I am meeting with him this afternoon and I would like to stick to him like glue for the rest of the week but we shall see. I also went to a carpet store where I heard the man was very friendly.

My family is very nice! The mom (who is younger than I am) speaks English well, which is helpful for communication, but we are both trying to use as much Arabic as possible because that is the whole point. The dad was a doctor but now he is a member of the parliament so is well-known around town; he goes to Rabat every week. Last year he went to Washington and went to Peace Corps headquarters and met with Bill Bradley! Tiger blanket last family; Bill Bradley this! They have three kids, ages 14, 10 and 2. Yesterday I was sent to the hanut and brought the little one; it's fun walking with a little kid. They have internet, with the French keyboard...so it's taking me a while to write this.

Today I went to the post office and the bank (all of these are our site visit assignments) to find out how to get a box and open an account. I didn't open the P.O. Box yet because there are two post offices in town and I have to see where I might live and then I will go to the closer post office. I don't have to decide where to live just yet, but when I meet the current volunteer I will see what qdvice he has. I also went to a pharmacy to introduce myself. Other assignments include going to the hospital to say hi, going to the local government office and locating where to get food (I already know that...and by the way I don't want you to get the impression that the supermarche is a big store - that's just the name on the sign and it's bigger than the hanuts, most of which are too small to walk into. This is like a convenience store but it does have a selection of products). My mom and I went to the souk this morning - lots of produce. We drive; it will be a long walk when I have to do it. But it's a nice souk; the group will have a field trip to it next week when everyone is back.

Time for lunch, the big meal of the day, which works for me. They have a snack at six and a light or no late meal, which also works for me. Lots of fruit and so far healthy, good food. I am staying in the daughter's room, and I feel a bit awkward about displacing her, but she doesn't sleep here anyway; she sleeps with the grandmother. I hope I made it clear that she can come in for her stuff anytime.

More when I can...I don't want to be on the internet too much; I am supposed to be spending time with the family and beginning to integrate...

Dear, Aunt Sharon: Is there Mc Dolnds there?Send me a picher of the 2 year old. Love Sabrina
Not in Azrou but in big cities there must be. I will send a pic when I can. Did you ever get the one of Muzun?
How long will you be staying with this host family? In the long run, will you be with a family or on your own? Just curious...
P.S. to Sabrina - I heard about the lyme disease and hope you feel better soon!

Edie - I had just answered your question and then some but my eyes are too tired to re-create it today!
Congrats on the new assignment in Azrou! I'm sure you'll be great there. There could be many advantages to staying in the same place. What a relief to finally know. Glad things are still going well.
It was a relief, yes, but I think a lot of time was ill-spent on rumors and speculation. I tried to stay out of it (and still keep abreast of the rumors) but I may have some suggestions for them...
Let's see... re how tourists react to the artisanat (note spelling) - having been a tourist in various artisanat offices in Tunisia and Morocco, they are where you go to find out the absolutely upper limit on prices before you start to bargain in the suq (or souk). Only rich people who are afraid to bargain actually shop there. The artisanat tends to have mostly higher end stuff but also a worse selection than the suq, too.

McDonald's - there is one in Casablanca, or at any rate there used to be. I was in Rabat shortly after it opened, and one of my Moroccan colleagues was really miffed because when he asked one of his kids what she wanted for her birthday, all she wanted was to be taken to Casa to eat at McDonald's.

And thanks for the heads-up about the French keyboard - I was wondering about the qs in your post! I suppose after a while you'll just have to learn to type on one. I had to use one for a while at one point, and I managed to learn. Then I got hit with a Swiss keyboard and all my learning was useless.
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