Heading to a new adventure… but I shall finish this one first.
On Wednesday, I found out the name of my final site placement here in Morocco. I have to say that I was pretty excited in the run-up to this announcement. Imagine if you were going to live somewhere for the next two years and you had no idea what the climate, people, language, or city would be like and you get an idea of how I was feeling. All the while I was doing my best to not have any expectations of what I might get (easier to deal with whatever comes at you).
Alas! The wait is over, and I am pleased to say that I will be living in Rich, Morocco starting November 18, 2011 (Inshallah!). While I haven’t been able to do too much reading on the location, I have gathered the following information….
The population is about 28,000 and it is a Souk(market) town for the surrounding areas. This means that I will have access to most of the items that I may need and most any food that I may want (not including bacon of course). The good news is that it is located in the foothills of the Atlas Mnts. and has a nice river running through town. I’m told that there are plenty of trails in the surrounding mountains and am looking forward to running/biking and exploring the area. I’m looking forward to seeing the place in person and will certainly give a full report as soon as possible after I arrive.
Here is a link to a picture (though I’m sure it’s not this pretty everywhere) http://www.flickr.com/photos/barnflakes/1937672993/in/photostream/
But before I get ahead of myself, there is much to discuss about my current city of Ras Lma!
My day to day life is pretty standard really and I plan to do a blog post soon about what that looks like, so for now I’ll just give the highlights….
I got a chance to check out the youth soccer games in town and they were a blast to watch. All the kids that are normally yelling “Elias, Elias, Elias!!” (my Moroccan name) as I walk down the street are now running around playing soccer. It is really great to see and this is probably the most productive thing I’ve seen most of them do since I’ve been here. They are really into it and they are really good for their age. It was really good to get a chance to see the games and it also felt good to be there, as I was the only adult that showed up to watch the games (not something parents do in Morocco). I will certainly be working to get more parental interaction in Rich.
It’s been an interesting last couple of weeks in the food department. It started with my first taste of Moroccan Snails. The weather has turned to fall and in Ras Lma that means rain. And with the rain, comes mothers with their little boys and girls carrying buckets and collecting snails in the morning. Those snails are then washed and cooked for all to…. Enjoy (question mark?). I will say that they weren’t that bad, but they had a very distinct Ras Lma soil taste to it (and if you saw the soil in Ras Lma you would know that much of the soil is actually burnt trash. That said, they are one of Rachida’s favorite snacks and so I did my best to convince her that I liked them so she wouldn’t feel bad making them again….. Sadly, this worked.
Monday is the Islamic holiday of l3id kibir and for anyone with a stomach for blood I would encourage you to google the holiday and see pictures of the ritual killing of the sheep. I’m told that I will be eating nothing (and I do mean nothing!) but sheep for the next few days and that I will almost assuredly get sick from all the meat. I’m mostly concerned about the fact that I will be helping my host father butcher a sheep as I don’t have much experience in such things. But I will take pictures and have a nice post following (not for the faint at heart!).
A few more pictures to end the post and a couple of final thoughts, as my mother has requested more about how I’m feeling in my blog.
I did watch a movie today that I would highly recommend, it’s called The Message and it’s about the rise of Islam during the time of Mohammed. I am shocked at how little I actually know about Islam and it was a good intro to the history and beliefs. Why not see if it’s on Netflix or available at the local library?
Right now, I’m feeling pretty good about life. I learn about 10 new things a day and everything is still pretty fresh. I’m unsure of how I will be able to help but I am certain that the cultural exchanges that are taking place are more than worth my time, regardless of how “successful” my other “work” might be. I’m just overwhelmed at how different the culture is yet how alike the people can be. I’m struck by how much seeing new cultures and meeting people with different world views can change the way I think about myself. I’m hopeful that I can continue to grow with the experience and give back a small amount of what I am gaining.
That’s all for now… Please comment and give me feedback about the blog if you have any. If you don’t have any feedback, then just let me know how you’re doing. Love to all. – T