Saturday, October 11, 2008

In absentia.

Several letters from home arrived this week via snail mail. In the dormitory atmosphere of our seminar site, mail call definitely adds to the feeling of being at summer camp. A month into training, the experience still feels more like camp than like reality. (Then I try to negotiate a squat toilet while wearing jeans and a long skirt to brace against the Middle Atlas wind and rain, and it feels quite real. Also cold.)

Along with the cards from my family, I received my absentee ballot. How exotic to be voting surrounded by my fellow PCTs, sipping mint tea, half a world away from Nebraska. Then to go to l-bosta (the post office) and try to negotiate the mailing thereof – such a relief to realize it was not 500 dirhams but 7 dirhams and change, or about a buck. Hope my vote gets back to the States in time – and hope my vote will actually count.


This has been a frustrating week as far as PC training goes. Too many children’s games and not enough language learning. Great to have everyone together again … but the dorm setting took its toll on us all.

And it’s cold – damn, it’s cold! I’m only just realizing how very lucky I am back here in Immouzzer, where my host family has western amenities including hot water and a heater in my room! Afraid I’m being spoiled, only to be dumped at my new home in a couple of months to find a hole in the ground and a water source in the center of town.

Still, I can feel myself making progress. Not least in what I am able to tolerate – despite the above paragraphs, my patience already is not what it would have been even a month ago. And adapting to so many things – the cold, the hygiene, the inability to communicate – is easier than one imagines before one is simply thrown into it.

That I continue to feel so zen about it all either means I’m on the right track or I’m in a state of shock. Draw your own conclusions.

On the phone front:

If your phone rings once or twice but no one’s there and no one leaves a message – it may be me signaling you to call me … give me a buzz!

Currently reading:

“Loving Frank” by Nancy Horan (so nice to finally be able to escape into fiction again … my brain wasn’t having it for the first several weeks … )

Quotes of the day:

“If trapped, stay alive!”
– from the section “Dogs and Other Animals,” Peace Corps Morocco Safety and Security Manual

“But remember: Better to throw it out than to throw it up!”
– from the “When There Is No Fridge” section of the Peace Corps Morocco Kitchen Guide

More photos from Azrou:
View from our hostel: Sheep, cemetery, homes, cedars, mountains

Mouthing the words “F***, it’s cold!” on the walk to the post office

Kate looking lovely behind her scarf

Jeremy’s traditional Moroccan slippers

Fatima in front of Azrou’s dar chebab

Talking with some women we passed on one of our power walks along the highway out of town

Mountain view from the main street


Reid leads a training exercise

With Kara, wearing my stereotypical Peace Corps hippie outfit (complete with lack of personal hygiene … too bad this blog lacks Smellovision!)


Krista said...

Love the pics! Keep them coming.

Quote from this week at work:

"I'll remember tomorrow." I the only person who finds this funny?

Melissa said...

OOoooo, civic responsibility from Morocco! Peace out, lady, you are too cool. Naomi and I are pulling together a care package for you. Email me if there are specific longings we can send your direction.

Lane said...

I love your updates! Looking forward to more.

Anna Jo said...

Lovely photos!!

Molly said...

I, too, hope my vote counts. It is exciting to get an absentee ballot, though, isn't it? :) I feel that whatever the outcome of this election, I shall be very very hungover the next day for class.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for keeping us posted. Yes, this is actually going to be my first presidential election working in the newsroom. I'm excited and exhausted already.

jill said...

oh, that's totally the size of the package i was going to send you, so i'm sending it. they aren't going to throw it away when it gets there, right?

sorry you're so cold. it was 96 here yesterday. too hot. i did an outdoor craft market and so did not appreciate the heat. it was just like the farmers market, and i found myself missing getting a visit from my lovely ladies. miss you!