"Shwiya b shwyia" is Darija (Moroccan Arabic) for “little by little.” It’s how things get done in Morocco … and it's how I'm progressing as a Peace Corps volunteer here, working in youth development.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
OPALS at the dar chebab.
Waiting their turn.
Few weeks back, the director of my dar chebab casually mentioned that I should come by the next morning (I don't usually work until late afternoon, when kids start getting out of school) because "women will be here."
OK. I came ~ and was shocked to find the courtyard filled with at one point perhaps 50 women, all waiting to see "the doctor."
OPALS' traveling clinic.
The "doctor" was OPALS ~ one of two major organizations in Morocco that work to combat SIDA (AIDS). They were offering free HIV tests. That's all. I never could get a handle on whether the women realized that and were smart/brave enough to come for the tests, or whether they were hoping to have various ailments treated. I sat with the waiting women, several of whom mentioned having high blood pressure, or rheumatism, or other miscellaneous aches and pains. Were they disappointed? Offended? They didn't seem so.
Late into the afternoon, long after the OPALS truck was gone and I was trying to teach various levels of English in one chaotic classroom, the women kept coming, poking their head in the door to ask where the doctors were. My conspiracy-laden mind started to wander, and wonder: Were the women lured in with promises to be treated by a doctor ... or were they smart enough to *pretend* they had come for other purposes, so they wouldn't feel ashamed to be getting an HIV test? Or am I looking for issues where none exist, and they're simply smart and educated enough to know that everyone should be tested, on a regular basis?
Either way, they got tested, and that's a good thing.
With my new friend Aicha and her little girl, Hajar.
And my other new friend, also conveniently named Aicha.
I can't post my mailing address or phone number here (for security reasons), but send me an email or leave a blog comment with your contact info, and I'll let you in on the top-secret digits.
I'm also on Skype!
FYI for phone calls: Morocco is 6 hours ahead of Central Standard Time.
Wish list for my dar chebab
ESL picture dictionaries or workbooks
Elementary-level books; beginner novels
DVDs (esp. Wal-E, High School Musical, appropriate kid movies, especially sports themes; cartoons)
Chess/checkers (very cheap @ Target)
Pingpong balls and paddles
Deflated soccer balls or plastic balls
Craft and beading supplies
Darija: Moroccan Arabic Salaam u 3alaykum: “Peace be upon you” (greeting) Wa 3alaykum ssalam: "And upon you peace as well” M’slama: Goodbye (“With peace”) Labas?: Are you well? Kulshi bixir: Everything is great Dar: House Dar chebab: Youth center
Mudhir: Director Shkrn: Thank you WaHHa: OK Mzyn: Good Bzzf: A lot; too much Shwya: Little; less; not enough Inshallah: God willing (“I hope”)
Frxhn: Happy Hshuma: Shameful
The opinions expressed on this blog are my own and do not represent the views of the Peace Corps, the U.S. government, the Moroccan government or any other institution.