Working to balance the debt…
One truth that has become apparent to me these last 6 months in Rich is that I will inevitably get more out of this experience than the work I do for the people of Morocco can possibly make up for. I’ve been given the gift of time, quiet contemplation, travel, music, food, friends, and a beautiful view of sky and mountains that amazes me more with each sunset.
This isn’t to say that all these gifts don’t come at a price. Each day continues to be a struggle with language, culture, religion, travel, the double edged sword of quiet contemplation, sickness, and the constant underlying stress of never being completely comfortable in your surroundings. But these cost pale in comparison to the lessons learned and the growth gained.
It is the work that I try and accomplish that helps me think that maybe the people of America have made a good investment in sending me across the world to Africa. With that in mind I thought I would share a little bit of the work that I have been doing here in Morocco.
The most consistent job I have is that of English Teacher at the local Youth Center. I am now teaching 6 classes a week that range from beginner to intermediate high. While I’ve come to appreciate the routine that having scheduled work provides me this work doesn’t strike me as making enough real difference to calm my fears of inadequacy as a volunteer. I want something bigger.
With that in mind, at the end of last year, my sitemate and I sought funding for a local community park. We acquired the funds and set out to build a community gathering place for women and families with the hope of finishing the project by the end of March. A month and a half later and I’m sad to say the park is still in construction though we did manage to put some plants in the ground and build some benches that are being used by mostly children and women. With the help of the local government (never a given) the first phase of the project will be done in a couple of weeks. I did take some pictures of the planting day that you can see below.
Teaching and a park project along with helping Peace Corps train the new volunteers and some other small work with local English classes and clubs keep me fairly busy but not feeling completely satisfied.
As Daniel Burnham once said “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood.” (Quick book plug for The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson)
In the next few months I’m hoping to start working with a local women’s association that is looking to market and sell their couscous at local markets (this would be my first real experience helping the women of Rich), and I’m starting to work with another PCV (Peace Corps Volunteer) to develop a Dar Chebab (Youth Center) curriculum that could be used by other volunteers to teach, not just English, but other important skills like technology, public speaking, and entrepreneurialism. The hope is that this curriculum could be used as a sort of “Youth Development in Morocco for Dummies” and help volunteers Develop Youth rather than just teach English.
I know it has been a long while between posts on this blog but please take the time to comment and tell me how you are doing. I’ll be looking to post again soon with a little more about how my life is going and give a glimpse into my mindset but for now I hope this finds you happy and working towards a life goal.
P.S. The internet isn’t working well enough to let me load pics right now but I’ll try tomorrow.