Thursday, September 23, 2010

Spinning of wheels.

Actually, I've been getting quite a bit done lately, but it all feels like swimming uphill (like a salmon, and not the GMO version). For every resume I send off or contact I network, it seems my list grows longer and longer (and with few-to-no results as of yet). For every report I check off, two new assignments pop up.

Even so, with my days here ever more quickly running out, I am trying to spend more time with the people I'm going to miss. That's the fun part, though bittersweet at the same time.

*  Kabira and her nonstop Big Ideas, most recently her drive to find some land so her family can build their own home, with a shop on the ground floor. I have no idea how she might manage that financially, but I don't know how she manages most of what she pulls off. I hope she makes it.

*  Her mother Rakya, a source of nonstop love and affection, genuinely expecting nothing in return, a rarity anywhere in the world, the one I know I will miss more than any other, the one I know I will cry buckets of snot over when I have to get in that taxi for the last time.

*  Malika and Fotna, two of my favorite students from the nedi neswi last year. They both earned their diplomes and won't be returning. To break up the monotony of days in their remote duoars, Malika says she's considering launching a nedi in her own home, teaching her crochet skills to other young women in the same stuck-at-home situation. She made me another gut-busting rafisa, then we walked to the next duoar to see Fotna, who insisted on frying up some fresh msamen. Then we went for a blissfully long walk, down to a dry, cactus-filled riverbed. When Malika complained of blisters from her fancy shoes, Fotna insisted on swapping her flipflops. That's friendship.

*  Fatima, another of my favorite students, an upbeat joy to be around, and my hand-picked host "mother" for the volunteer who will come to replace me in November. This week she casually dropped a huge new nugget of information in my lap: She is her husband's second wife. Not as in he was divorced or widowed ~ more as in Wife No. 1 lives in the apartment downstairs. I didn't think any of my women friends were in polygynous relationships. Fatima's so matter-of-fact about it: No, she doesn't like it, no the two women don't get along, but that's the state of affairs, she's happy in her marriage, she adores their young son, and whaddayagonnado? All with a shrug of the shoulders, a beaming smile, and an urging upon me of more cookies and milk.

One thing I am not doing is spending much time at the dar chebab, which is still in disarray from use by an association this summer. It will be cleaned out this weekend, my mudhir tells me. Inchallah.

Speaking of time running out ...

Even though it's corporate-created, The Girl Effect organization and its first video launched a great deal of awareness about how educating and empowering girls benefits not only them but their surrounding communities and societies. Now there's a new video, "The Clock is Ticking," connecting the dots between girls' education, their health and a way out of the poverty cycle. Simple but inspiring viewing.

Not your Peace Corps volunteer's Marrakech.

photo from Conde Nast traveler

I first heard this podcast about it, then read "The Magic of the Medina" in the latest issue of Conde Nast Traveler. For a limited view of the tourist's Marrakech, I suppose it's pretty spot on. And the photos are very pretty. But this is so far from typical Morocco. The podcast especially felt more and more superficial and stereotypical the farther in you listen. But, here it is, if you want to read and decide for yourself. 

The Rabat Express ... doesn't have quite the same ring.

photo from The View From Fes

According to a popular Morocco expat blog, Rabat's extensive tramway project is "due for completion later this year." Any chance that'll happen before Nov. 12? My last chance to take a high-tech spin around the capital city.

(I have experienced the zwin new Rabat train station, however, and am tossing in a couple of photos just to flesh out the visuals of this page now that I am camera-less.)

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