April Fool’s, local restaurant, big progress in a slow week. April 1-5, 2019. Happy birthday Sabrina! I will never really be caught up on paperwork, projects, but I at least cleared my desk of the required items for Peace Corps and decided to do something for me. So, I sent out the first email to family and friends all year. If you missed it, check your junk drawer.
As predicted, we had very few kids in the Dar Shbaab this week, due to the school holiday. Not one was on hand for the Ping Pong Tournament. I was able to get several lesson plans prepared for the future, as well as those done this week. I mentioned the success of Khalid’s Day Camp, which will continue whenever he is home from University. Seeing this successful activity seems to have been the catalyst for working with another young man. Since the day I first met this young man (maybe 25 years old) he has been every kind of trouble imaginable, but at the same time, I felt there was potential. Like the cat that purrs right before it lays your flesh open. I have pulled him out a few times, telling him that he should be helping me, instead of trying to destroy every activity. Well, he stayed for English on Thursday, which usually means the class disintegrates. But, this day, there was a new girl and her mom, and he was actually helpful. Afterward, I thanked him and asked if he would like to help me with two activities, games, planned for the next day. Not only did he do so, but also became engaged with the “life skills” book. He was actually the lead teacher on the activity from this book. He got off-program a couple of times, but the important thing is he was engaged for “good” and not “evil”. I am really very hopeful of him becoming an asset. We also had a return from one of my favorite University students, another Khalid, the one that helped me with the Write-on competition. He joined in and was another huge help. We started with 3 kids that really did not want to be there and wound up with 10 that just wanted to keep going.
The leaders of the music club and art club were all no-shows, without bothering to call. It is Morocco. This also brought about an example of why the youth here need this “life skills” training. So, there are 12 people, mostly late teens to early 20s, in the house for the music program. This program usually includes singing traditional songs, along with some instrumentals. 12 people that came for music, who sing every week. Without their teacher to tell them what song to sing, I could not get them to do anything. I tried to get them to sing me a song, teach me a song, sing an English song with me. Nope. Hmmm.
I confirmed, with my host sister, as we walked around town, that indeed, we have a restaurant and a muhilaba (which is indistinguishable from the restaurant to the ignorant American). So I decided to go in and have lunch on Wednesday. Small, bright and clean. You walk past the hand washing sink, then bright, white and decorative tiled walls and floors, 3 tables on your right, 2 on your left, small, with green and orange plastic chairs along the walls, and a refrigerated case straight ahead. I ask the fellow behind the case what he has. I understand omelets, and something with sausage. I can see diced chicken and bright orangy-red sausages in the case, along with dozens of tubes of canned lunch meat. I opt for sausage. After a few minutes, the poor fellow leaves with his empty Buta canister to the hanoot across the street, returns. Good to go. Another fellow comes in and starts re-cleaning the spotless floor (well, except for a few new prints by yours truly and the Buta run). This is when I first see the Moroccan version of a mop. He lays a rag on the floor and then places the squeegee end of the long-handled squeegee on the rag. He meticulously folds it around the squeegee and uses the assembly like a mop. Turns out I ordered a sandwich, with sausage-fried egg, and cold fries on the side. It is actually unusual to get hot fries here. It was fine, but nothing like the home cooking of the family. Yep, I had delicious CousCous with the family today. I also found a place in the “station” neighborhood that sells rotisserie chicken. Mmmm!
I made reports and appointments, in preparation for next week’s visit from my Regional Manager. My two activities with Nour were cancelled due to the school holiday. We were advised that Morocco was increased to a security level 2, making us as potentially dangerous as France or Great Britain.
I was on the listening end of two major dramas this week, neither of which I can write about. Those stories will need to stay on the “not fit to print” side (for now).
Ok, it is late and tomorrow I leave early for the big adventure to the Sahara! More soon. I have not had one card, letter, photo or mail of any kind since the first of February. Love to hear from you soon!