Back to normal?  June 8–15, 2019

Overall, things have been slow, as the youth hunker down and study for their exams.  But, we have had a few excellent activities.  International Stop Smoking and the Life Skills for Girls were two of my favorites.  The no-smoking had a nice visual with the plastic bottle “smoking” the cigarette, viewing and discussing advertisements and “speed dating” discussions.  The Life Skills program is currently focused on prevention of HIV and other diseases.  Yes, I brought bananas for the condom demo/practice.  No, you cannot see the photos.


I don’t know where the construction guys have gone, but my area is pretty quiet.


I accompanied my host sister to Fes.  She was planning to see a doctor, and in fact, has not felt well all month.  But we did not take the 5:30 bus, and so we did not arrive until 11:00.  By then, there were 100 people waiting to see this one doctor.  Supposedly he is very good and people come from all over to see him.  I had some business, paying an old hotel bill.  We walked around town and eventually went to Carrefour, before heading home.  She could not get in today.


She has been to my house, and invited me in, a couple of times.  I am hoping the cool relations toward the end of Ramadan were tied to her not feeling well, and not something I did.


I managed to knock out 20 of the 40 hours of continuing education (online) that I need to renew my Pest Control Advisor license.  At home, the 2017 was bottled.


I’ve been trying to nudge my Counterparts into preparing for our Project Development meeting in Rabat, July 1st.  I am eligible to make 2 small grant proposals during my service.  Still no word from the Ministry of Youth and Sports as to the timing of the summer camps.  It is frustrating.


I got my hair cut, my first time in my town.  He did a good job, taking his time.  The first two experiences, in “big city” salons were like a race to see if they could impress me with their speed.  As he was blow drying, the rain started.  $3, 4 with tip.  While the rain did not help my hair, nor the cherry farmers, it did keep the lawns alive and settle the construction dust.


I accompanied my host sister to the Cherry Festival in the nearby provincial capital of Sefrou and the biggest event of the year around these parts.  It is a three-day event.  Big stages, lots of music, parade, people selling food on the street.  We met a very interesting young man in the taxi, who joined us for the day.  He actually helped me with meeting some commercial folks that I hope will help me with my leadership camp/job fair.  One of the men, from a local trade school, turned out to be a friend of his uncle.  He invited us to join them for Cous Cous.  We cruised the town, looking for festival events, but fell short.  There were cherries for sale everywhere, but no cherry pie, drinks, fritters, or anything made from the cherries.  We missed the Agricultural exhibit while we ate breakfast.  Breakfast was a dish I would not have ordered, but it was good.  In the tagine, with eggs, was something I recognized from the old city markets.  In the market, you see shredded meat, suspended in solidified fat.  In the dish, the melted fat with salty, chewy meat, and eggs, soaked up with bread, was mmmm good.  It was also followed by a bout of diarrhea, but I would still order it again.  I tried to attend the music at the prison, but they would not let me in.  Why put it in the program if you are not going to let us in??  In the afternoon, we met three of my favorite Peace Corps Volunteers for coffee.  Then, we followed them to a small craft fair.  One of the host moms was a VIP, so we followed her to some good seats for the big event of the day, the crowning of the Cherry Queen.  However, because of our travel restriction, I had to leave before she arrived, to get home before (well, pretty close) dark.  I had hired a private taxi so that we could cut it close, maybe see her, but everybody is on Moroccan time, and it was not to be.


After Ramadan the clocks turned back.  This means half the people are now on different times again (old and new).


Made a few new contacts that I hope to be helpful for projects, a Youth Association Leader and a Middle School Gym teacher.  I have 5 new English students.  The cousin of the President of the Beledia, a man with an interesting story (later) and 4 middle school students.