Thursday, August 20, 2009

The way home.

There are days I love the transit bus and days I detest it -- for the exact same reasons. Today was one of the good days. Standing around waiting for the white van to appear, seemingly the only one anticipating its arrival -- until it actually noses its way into the parking lot and my fellow villagers somehow materialize to lunge upon it, 40-some people jockeying for a vehicle that should seat 15 and won't leave with less than 22 (not counting toddlers, watermelons and the occasional poultry), still stopping to pick up stragglers along the way.

I've learned that if I want a ride home I have to shed any sense of decorum and so I do as the Moroccans do, maneuvering for position, throwing elbows and staking a claim by getting one limb, any limb, in past the sliding door. The women are the worst; more than once I've seen a veil torn off by the mob. My muttering hayawanat! ("animals!") amid the ensuing hoopla wasn't quite under my breath; the young man next to me laughed and shared it with the young man in front of him. Next thing I know a woman with perfectly kohled eyes has snatched away the plastic bag I'm holding over my head (so as not to crush my precious kilo of pears), and before I can protest she's also commandeered my arm and hurled me into the window seat next to her.

Behind me is a substantial Berber woman with flashing gold teeth, a baby strapped to her bosom and three toddlers in tow. I in turn grab the youngest and plop him into my lap so she can maneuver the rest of her brood into place. She promptly forgets about us and attempts to sit on top of us both, crushing the little one's legs. My kohl-eyed friend shoves her away, laughing. We're all laughing, through all of it, and this is what I love about the transit van, how laughing at me seems to bring us all together into solidarity. Look how the poor thing's sweating, someone says; I've adapted to Morocco but not to the heat, I reply as someone hands me a tissue, and we all laugh again.

Then the Q&A session begins: Yes, I'm learning Arabic. No, I don't speak it very well, not yet, but I'm trying. Yes, I live in (our village). Because I'm a volunteer at the dar chebab. Volunteer. Volunteer. I work without being paid. Yes, there's a dar chebab in (our village). Yes, I live alone. No, I'm not married. If God wills it. Yes, I'll try to fast during Ramadan. No, I'm not Muslim, but I respect your religion. No, don't close the window. Yes, there's a dar chebab in (our village). It's next to the new taxi stand. Yes, there's a new taxi stand. Yes, I live alone. No, I'm not married.


There are days when the exact same scenario can exhaust/infuriate/humiliate me. This was not one of those days. This was one of those days when I feel wholly alive and more in the moment than I've ever been before, wind in my face, sweat pooling in the small of my back, all eyes on me, and I'm myself in this strange country, and I am happy.

Back from camp.

I do mean to write about summer camp, from which I've just returned, but this is what came out instead tonight. Maybe tomorrow. Meanwhile, here's an email I just received from one of my (female) campers:

to my sweet heart rebecca

hi Beccy, i am fati from the el jadida camp, i miss you so mush and i hope that you are ok

i really miss your teaching and every thnik in the camp, i hope that you read my email and you send me , i love you so much Bbeccy i really do

take curre and don't forget your student fati please ans please say hi to said , tim , chris and said

by by kissssss

Tonight's bedtime reading:

Nick Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn's long piece in the New York Times Magazine, excerpted from their forthcoming book "Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide" -- a book officially at the top of my wish list.

Quote of the day:

"I am exactly where I need to be, I need to be exactly where I am …” Amy Steinberg, "Exactly"

1 comment:

jawado said...

hey becki

i wish u are doing well, yesterday i came acrosse yr blog, i read all what u have written on it, i like the pics, the diaries, the event of yr daily life and so onnn. i hope to meet u again