Friday, May 23, 2008

Why not? Anything is possible!

It's official - I'm a volunteer. Our stage swore in on the 19th and took the oath of service. This all happened at probably the swankiest hotel in the region - a 5 star resort built exclusively to cater to movie stars coming through town to film in Ouarzazate. We spent the afternoon lounging by a beautiful pool surrounded by cushions and palms. It was a weird contrast to what we were about to go into.

I am settling into my site pretty well, visiting people in the village, learning how transportation works, registering with all the correct officials, setting up a PO box (in a language I do not speak), and all sorts of other daily challenges. I'm glad right now it's the hot months and I'm not allowed to leave my site because I have a long road of settling in and integrating ahead of me. My host family has been wonderful, though, cooking me vegetarian food, serving me tea WITHOUT sugar (a rather unusual request around here!), and helping me learn Tamazight.

Right now I am updating from my souq (market) town. It's about two hours from my village and in order to get here I have to leave at 5:30 am. This is my nearest internet cafe, grocery store, pay phone, etc., and I should be here one every week or two weeks.

In other news, we hosted a volunteer talent show at the end of stage, which was a really good time. Someone had suggested that I fire spin, which I declined because 1) I am nervous in front of crowds and 2) did not have my fire poi with me in Morocco. At a friend's insistence, I agreed to do it if he could find me the materials to build fire poi, giving him a ridiculous, impossible list of hardware to source - in Morocco - not knowing any of the local words. I should have known better. Peace Corps Volunteers are notorious for ingenuity and resourcefulness. A few hours later I had some rotating keychains, lengths of chain, paraffin and 4 meters of wick! It turned out pretty well actually until flaming bits of it started flying off, though no one seemed too terribly concerned about this. I am 100 percent certain that if I tried that at a hotel in the US I would have been escorted out!

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