No Director, locked in my house, planting gardens.  March 20-31, 2019.  A really great activity for International Tree and Water Day, teams making posters and preparing to plant trees, fizzled away before we could get the trees planted.  But, this is Morocco and next month will be just as good.  My Director’s son was in the hospital all week and so I had run of the place, or, shall I say, it had the run of me.  A lot more kids come in, because they know that I don’t know who has joined or not.  When there is no Director (every Friday, and all this week) it is just wild.  Picture a scene from a Mad comic book and you get a sense of it.  It is all I can do to stay cool, and try to minimize the hitting, wrestling, grabbing, stealing, vandalizing, and maintain the “wait your turn” policy at Ping Pong and other games.  Trying to teach an English class is a joke, but I try to stay on the program.  I regularly need to clear the place out and shut the door so I can finish a class or activity.  My biggest challenges are Hamza and a couple of other grown men who just like to disrupt every activity, as though they were 10-year-old boys.  Still, I really want the Director to have some away-time, because sometimes I need to be gone (for meetings and such) and I am sure it is tough for him when he is solo as well.


My Darija classes continue with the high school English teacher.  She and other newer teachers across the country, have been striking.  All youth activities continue.  In fact, one of the University students and I have started a new program, when he is home during holidays, “Khalid’s Day Camp”.  He has just received his certificate, with hopes of working at a summer camp and these are practice sessions for him, and great life skill activities for the kids.


My host family continues to help me in so many ways.  I finally got to do something for them, as I planted two gardens, one at the country house and one in the small courtyard of the sister with twins.  Both were planted all from seed, so it remains to be seen if anything good comes.  We did get some much needed rain this week, so that will help.  We also experienced a tremendous hail storm.  It really stripped the trees and I am sure did a lot of damage to crops.  The piles of hail remained to the next day in some spots.  Naturally, the boys were having a field day pummeling each other with ice balls, with a few sailing into, and through, the Dar Shbaab doors.  I figured it would be easier to keep the ocean from landing on the shore, than to stop them, so did not even try.


I got locked into my house and had to take a hammer to the lock to get out.  I would have felt worse, but the landlady knew the lock was bad.  Still, she locked the door, went out of town and ignored my calls.


I finally met the former PC LCF that lives here.  She has been in America since my arrival.  Very nice.  I had met her sister, who runs the women’s weaving co-op.  There was a group of Australians visiting the co-op, and she invited me over.  The Pope is visiting Morocco and a group from our little village was actually invited to the palace in Rabat for his visit.  It will be interesting to hear about that encounter.


One of the mentally challenged men and I have been singing Michael Jackson songs on the street.  The kids love it.  Today was the first day of a two-week school break.  I plan to accompany my host sister and her daughter to the desert at the end of the week, for just a couple of days.  More to follow on that.  For now, I have a Ping Pong tournament planned for Tuesday, as lots of kids told me they would not be traveling and would be coming into Dar Shbaab.  We shall see.


Today, not only did I get caught up on the Blog, but finished a major activity report for Peace Corps, covering every single activity I have done since arriving in my village, in multiple pages of detail for each.  We are required to do this every 6 months.  I know you get busy, but I sure do appreciate hearing from friends and family at home, so drop a line when you can.