I’ve been in Morocco for two and a half weeks and in some ways it feels like forever and others it feels like a couple of days. After spending a week in Rabat for training, I landed in Ain Cheggag (just south of Fez) for my Community Based Training site. Showing up at your host family’s door with two days of language training under your belt is overwhelming, but I was immediately struck by the hospitality of this country. My host Mama Kharima welcomed me with the traditional cheek kiss (I’ve become a pro at this!), showed me to my room and plopped me on the sadary (couch) to bring me lunch. When I had eaten more than I would have in the states and indicated I was full, she directed me to my bedroom and told me to sleep. Communication isn’t always easy when you don’t speak Darija and they don’t speak English, but smiles and lots of hand movements go a long way. Each day I’m learning more and able to pick out random words in a conversation or on TV. My family has hosted other PC trainees which is a blessing in that they understand I need/want privacy and that I truly want to learn from them.
Here are a few random observations and realizations I’ve had over the last week and half:
*Bread is a utensil and eating with only your right hand becomes second nature
*There are indoor shoes and outdoor shoes and you NEVER wear shoes on carpet
*GI issues and a Turk are an interesting combination
*Moroccan Mama’s LOVE soap operas
*2 hour naps after lunch are incredible
*bucket baths are surprisingly refreshing
*being hot and sweaty all the time is the norm
*Friday’s are the best day. Cause couscous.
*there are sounds in Darija that I may never master
*Arabic script only has 5 short vowels and one of them is silent and one is a ‘w’.
*Getting lost 3 times in one day – with no street names – is a great way to get your steps in
*You’ll be told ‘kuli!’ (eat!) even when you have food in your mouth
*Carmex can be used in place of Vicks Vapor Rub
*there is no concept of bedtime