Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Bacon, Fez and City Kids

So what did I do in February? Let's see if I can remember. The main thing that stands out is that at the end of the month we had our PPST (Post Pre-Service Training) in Azrou. I was expecting it to be freezing in that area during that time but unfortunately it was just cool. I was just hoping to see a little bit of winter. We had more (mostly useless) training, but it was good to see the group. And that was when we booked our Dublin trip...

So, March was definitely more exciting. On the 13th I left my site (after being there the first couple of weeks) and went to Sefrou where one of my fellow trainees lives. It's near Fez, so in the northern part of the country. On the 15th, 5 of us flew to Madrid (which was sorta cool because it was exactly 6 months to the day after left so and the passport stamps are right next to each other), spent a few hours playing cards and drinking beers in the airport. Ahh, drinking where it's not hashuma (shameful)! Then we flew to Dublin. We got in pretty late that night so we just hung out in the lobby of the hotel (they have a nice lounge and bar) and had a beer or two, ate and then went to bed. On Wednesday, we got up, ATE BACON for breakfast and went out sightseeing on the red, double decker bus. We did the Guinness brewery tour and saw several other sites of Dublin. We walked around, ate good food (Guiness & beef stew for me, at the oldest bar in either Dublin or Ireland) and then stopped at several pubs along the way. When we went back to the hotel, they were having a party with a band so we went and listened to the band and had a couple more drinks (noticing a theme here? No, I don't have a problem, just making up for lost time, ha!). They were a fun Irish band so hung out there for awhile, then moved out to the lobby when they were done. After awhile we went to bed so we could get up and get back to the city for the parade. We were staying near the airport, but it's not far from the city center and they have a shuttle that takes you to the airport for free and then we would take the city bus from there. Pretty convenient, especially since we booked the trip two weeks out and over a hugely popular time there. I could tell I'd been in conservative Morocco too long when every girl I saw I thought looked like a slut, haha! None of which (well maybe a few) would have ever stood out before living here, but man, I was constantly shocked! So lame! Thursday was St. Patty's Day so we went and watched the parade and then secured our spot in a pub. They had a great band so we had a great time talking to and attempting to understand the Irish guys standing behind us, listening to the band and drinking Guiness and Smithwick's. We ended up staying there all day, but they weren't serving food so we left, I think around 8pm or so to go find something to eat. We couldn't really find a place to sit down (everywhere was packed) but we found a sort of cafeteria-like place and grabbed something, then headed back to the hotel. We hung out in the lobby, got better food and then eventually went to bed. On Friday, we ate more bacon for breakfast (we had it everyday) and then went back to town. Our tickets on the tour bus were still good so we rode around some more, stopped a couple of places and walked around. We went to the Jameson Distillery, but it was packed and I didn't think the tour was all that great last time I did it, so we skipped it and just had Irish coffees in their cute lobby bar and then headed out. After more pub stops, we headed back to the hotel. James and I ate steak for dinner since it was our last night (Lauren ate yummy chocolate cake). We had drinks and hung out in the lobby all night (not drinking all night) because our flight was at 6:25 the next morning. Since we had to be at the airport at 4:30, we decided to save a little money and not to keep our hotel room for Friday night since we'd barely be able to use it anyway. We were all tired on Saturday morning, but dozed on the plane and during our long layover in Madrid. We got back to Fez on Saturday afternoon, and then headed back to Sefrou.

I stayed in Sefrou until Monday, when I decided to go see another PCV, Jo, in her TINY little village (800 people) for a few days. We were bums most of the time and just watched movies and downloaded tv shows. It was nice to relax! Then we went back to Sefrou on Thursday so that we could go to Fez and hand out posters and flyers about our Marche Maroc craft fair in Fez to hotels and other places. We did that on Friday as well. It was cool because I did it in the medina so I got to wander around and check it out for the first time. Then we headed to another bigger town 2 hours away to see our friend Lauren. Then I went back to Sefrou on Sunday.

Marche Maroc was this past Thursday - Sunday so I was in Fez each of those days, plus last Wednesday for that. The fair went fairly well. I had two artisans there - my lady that makes the beautiful wool and silk scarves and a painter, who is actually Juan's friend, but due to budget constraints and the fact that Juan is in Youth Development, not SBD, we considered him "mine" so he could come. They each sold a fair amount of stuff and make enough money to make it worth their time. I always want them to do better though! We also may or may not have booked another quick getaway to Pisa, but more details on that later.

Late Sunday night (early Monday morning at 1:30) another girl and I got on a bus to head to Oujda, which is where I am sitting now. She went on to another city from here because we are both helping out at spring camp. It's a camp put on by PC and the Ministry of Youth. We teach English classes in the morning and then have activity clubs (like dodgeball, capture the flag, paper mache, talking about the environment, etc.) after lunch. I've never taught anything before, especially English, so I have no idea what I'm doing, but I muddle through. The kids talk nonstop so I'm constantly shutting them up and trying not to snap and smack one :) I took a note that a boy and girl were passing today and the boy begged me to give it back to him after class. I didn't, but instead gave it to the 2 other PCVs with me to translate out of French. It was pretty flirty so we got a good laugh out of it. The kids at this camp are SO different than the kids I'm used to. They're from the city and wealthy families. Most of them dress much less conservatively than those in my town. They're shocked by the conditions in which PCVs live. It's kind of funny and surprising that they have no idea how some/most people in this country live. They like to flirt with each other so we're having fun watching and gossiping about them! There are 5 PCVs here, all girls - the "leader" does Youth Development (YD) and there is another girl who does the same, then there's me in SBD, a girl who works in the Health sector, and one in environment - so we have a nice cross-section of personalities and people. There are three Moroccan male counselors that we work with. Tomorrow we're going on field trip, and at one point it was mentioned that we might go the beach, which is about an hour away. Hoping that it happens, but we might end up just going to the forest or something.

Anyways, that brings us to now. I'm sure I've missed some traumatizing thing, but oh well. I'll let you know if I think of it. Camp ends on Saturday so I'm heading back to Sefrou to get my things I left there and then I'm going to Fez on Sunday to meet up with Jess, who is on a tour bus as we speak, making her way from Spain to here! I can't wait to see her - it will the first person I've seen from home in 7 months. It will probably be a little strange too, but that's okay, I'm just looking forward to it :) and joining her tour group for some sightseeing 2 or 3 days. April is turning out to be pretty busy (thank god) so I will be on the move most of the month. And as usual I am not proofreading this out of laziness, so, sorry!


  1. So this month I went to Target TWICE and the grocery store three times. I went on a walk a couple times and out to dinner one time even. Haha. Geez, thanks for letting me live through your adventures! It sounds like you've had a great couple months (as long as you don't remember the traumatizing things that may have happened). We miss you and love you!

  2. WOW! Another fat American taking calling herself a "volunteer" when all she is doing is taking advantage of the country she came from and the liberties of the country she is living in. Goodness forbid if you actually discuss any "work" you are doing or I just assume there is none for you to do in a developing nation. Oh right, you are American and are trying to get away with doing as little as possible. Good luck during your time in Morocco.

  3. that "Seriously" person is a jerk, and obviously isn't doing anything helpful with their life if they are just reading random blogs and being negative and critical.
    thanks for the update.
    love and miss you : )