"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.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
This afternoon at the dar chebab I asked three of my favorite "little" girls ~ Hind, Imane and Houda ~ to say something on film for me to bring home so I can remember them. (Click the photo above to watch the video.) How cute are they?!? Basically, they're saying that I'm like their sister, their teacher, their mother, and that when I go home I am to say hello to my friends, my mother and father and brother from them.
We had a good afternoon. My three little girls and I oohed and aahed over some new Arabic books we've received from the U.S. embassy, then they drew me some pictures while a couple of high-school girls dropped in to review their formal English lessons from the past week; then my little friends, inspired by the "big" girls, asked for an English lesson of their own.
Then I chatted awhile with my new friend Malika, who's won the green card lottery and is moving to Seattle in a couple of weeks. I'm so worried about her ~ her English is not at all good enough to survive on her own in the States, and while she says she has friends there, she's a bit vague and I suspect they are merely loose connections. I had to show her where Seattle is on a map, and she was visibly shocked by how far it is from New York. I hope she will find at least a few Americans who are as patient and kind with her as the bulk of Moroccans have been with me here; but, especially considering the current xenophobic anti-Muslim fervor over there ... well, I fear what's in store for her is not the paradise she imagines.
Speaking of the anti-Muslim fervor, here's a great new site created in honor of Juan Williams: Muslims Wearing Things (wow! they're just like us ~ imagine that!)
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.