The second week in my village. September 26-October 1. The time is always very busy. My school day is 8:30 to anywhere between 5 or 6 pm. Everyday for the first week included visiting one of the other student’s families for Kaskaroot, the work for afternoon tea. When I am at home I am usually washing dishes, helping cook or eating. Today I will be in a bigger town for a meeting with other groups, so let me try to dash off a few descriptions. More will follow.
The children. There are a lot of children in this town. They all attend school, but also seem to be in the street (really just a walking corridor, so safe) outside my door all hours of the day and night, or anywhere between here and school during the day. They follow me, call to me in the street, call up to my window, visit me at the store and one day even came to the gate of my teacher’s house calling for me to come out. The group includes girls and boys, including my two “nephews” who are in my house all the time. I am not allowed to send pictures unless their parents give permission, so you probably won’t see anyone but the family. They are very cute, they all want to talk, the brave ones all greet with French style cheek kissing, or a word or two in English. My nephews might throw in a hand kiss and a forehead kiss. They will call across an open field. There are a few occasions when we work with them at the Dar Shbaab.
The water situation is central to life here. We usually have it from 8 in the morning to 10 at night, sometimes more, sometimes less. So, people store water is big jugs and buckets. Not too long ago the town did not have water for 6 days in the summer and the people marched to the central town of Sefrou, several hours walking, in the hot sun, then back, to protest. Things seem to be better since. We only have hot water when we turn on a small water heater in the downstairs bathroom to fill buckets. There is no hot water in the kitchen or upstairs laundry/bath. My family invite me to bath whenever I want, but we are told that the water and power are expensive, so I limit myself to the typical once-every-5 days or so. So far, I have had 2 cold and one warm. This is in addition to daily face washing and fanny splashing after each toilet use. The only sink in the house is the kitchen sink, so everything else is over the pit toilet. This is all quite different from home, but for some reason does not feel like a hardship here. It is just the way they do it.
Also, a year ago, the local natural spring dried up. This is significant because they used this spring to fill a large pool that was a popular tourist destination, and a great source of local pride. It is impossible to know if it will return, but the large empty pool is sad.
My family is very diverse and interesting. Our house is nice, as are all the ones I have visited. I do not know if they are typical for the town, but seem to be. My parents have a small store where they sell produce, bread, sugar and a few other things. My father has a motorcycle, which seems a rarity. He works as a plasterer, though not every day. The also own a plot of land with 100 olive trees, which they planted about 25 years ago, about a one hour walk from town. They grew fava beans there this year. They do have access to irrigation water, which I gather is expensive, and have little ditches and wells around each tree. We also have a yard beside the house where the 2 goats (aka garbage disposal system, need something to do with all those vegetables that are no longer sellable) live. They are quite noisy this morning. My two brothers that are here frequently have a coffee shop near here. More on coffee shops when I next connect.