Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Hi family, friends and assorted blogstalkers! Hard to believe it's been since August that I updated this thing. Part of it is that I've been really busy and haven't had the time for a proper update, and part of it is that I have not been busy with work, which is what I assume you all want to hear about. In fact, I have been busy with anything but.

Seeing as it is Christmas Eve, happy holidays everyone! Truthfully I would have forgotten it if other volunteers hadn't reminded me. My cues are usually that obnoxious music on the radio, scary people on the road and scary people at the mall. This year I have to suffer none of those things. Instead, I celebrated the Eid Kabeer with my host family. It is the biggest holiday in the Muslim world and commemorates Ibrahim's sacrafice of his son Isaac. As you might guess, each family slaughters a sheep. (NB - I had no part in this and refused to watch.) 40 people in my extended family hiked outside the village to a small oasis with our sheep, vegetables, and flour and we spent the entire day baking bread and cooking duez under the palm trees.

Some volunteers will be getting together for Christmas this year, but I'll be home in my site. A year ago I would have thought Christmas alone would be a depressing affair, but I'm looking forward to the quiet and solitude. My friend, a volunteer, came over and we decorated my house for Christmas with some ribbon and origami decorations we made. I'm having guests over tomorrow night. I decided that since my host family shared their holiday with me, I'll share mine. My original plan was to cook up a traditional dinner, but since my host family doesn't really like food they aren't used to, we're just going with couscous instead, with apple pie for dessert.

Thanksgiving, on the other hand, was a huge affair. A group of us gathered at a volunteer's house near Ouarzazate (about 4 hours away from me) and cooked up a storm. We had two turkeys, two chickens, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cornbread, cranberry sauce, lemon meringue pie, pumpkin pie, brownies, banana bread, cookies... all made from scratch by PCVs. Our set up was pretty sweet, too:

In the last few months I've been lucky enough to have five friends come to visit and do some travelling around with them. I've made it up north to the ruins at Volubulis, west to Marrakesh and Essaouira several times, and Rabat and Azrou for work.

In sadder news, my cat Frieda died from drowning in the well. I adoped another kitten in Azrou during training and smuggled it into the hotel, where it proceeded to poop all over the room. Unfortunately that one was very sick and died before I could get to a vet. So now I have adopted another from a volunteer. His name is Salvador. This is him perched on top of my friend Kathy:

Beyond all that, I've been spending my days slowly learning Tashelheet, spending time with my host family, and planning for future projects. The biggest one on the plate is still the Women's Association, for which we have a big meeting coming up Sunday. Wish us luck!
Thanks also to friends and family who are writing and sending packages. Even if it's just an email, it means a lot to me. As I immerse myself fully in my world here, I need to stay connected to family and friends back home. Love to you all.

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