"I'm sorry I fell asleep on you."

Trip Start Mar 04, 2007
Trip End May 2009

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Flag of Morocco  ,
Monday, February 4, 2008

Last week on my way to get a vaccination shot, I fell asleep on an adolescent Moroccan boy. When I snorted and startled myself awake, I apologized profusely. He smiled sheepishly and said "If you need to use my shoulder, its ok." I think I even drooled on him. Classy. At the next stop, his mother and sister invited me to sit with them and eat some lunch. They were delighted that I spoke Tashelheit and wanted to know my story. So for the next 6 odd hours I sat next to the 15-year-old daughter, who is now my new best friend. About half way through the trip, they decided that I would stay with them. I complied. We got off the bus, went home, ate some dinner. I was introduced to the rest of the family and spent the night and they saw me off in the morning. They absorbed me like a sponge absorbs water. The funny thing is I would never do this in the States, but in Morocco I feel it's the norm. The unexpected hospitality is truly delightful. I look forward to seeing them soon.
In December I went into the villages surrounding mine, in order to "aid" my counterpart. The nice thing about going to a place you've never been is that people haven't had to put up with 6 months of you having the language capacity of a 2 year old. So when I starting blabbing about the importance of washing hands and boiling drinking water, they thought I was brilliant. They were captivated. They listened intently. If someone muttered under their breath they didn't understand what I was saying, another person would turn to them and explain with total seriousness. I made jokes, held babies, wrote names, had tea, promised to return, plotted my run for Senate. I felt a sense of accomplishment that has been sorely lacking in my time here.
As I mentioned in my previous blog, a group of men in my site expressed interest in getting a local association started. And by golly they did. This development is a big step forward, they managed it themselves and got it done in a marvelously short period of time. I predict that this association will be active and a great asset to the community. I approached them with my first project (installing water into the sbitar) and they agreed to provide the community contribution via work. The project is hopefully going to be completed by mid-March.
As the association just started, I asked a few of the men what they wanted. They prioritized the installation of water, building of a barrage, and starting a women's weaving cooperative. For the 3rd priority, I set up a meeting between Rabha and some of the men in the association. Rabha is a woman who runs a weaving cooperative in a village near my site. She also happens to be the definition of "the bomb". She is very smart, motivated, and quite the looker.. A few weeks earlier, I had asked her to come down to talk to some of the women in my village regarding the cooperative, and she kindly agreed to do so as well. Flash forward, to the meeting- the men were adorable. They ooh'd and ahh'd over woven bags and handicrafts. Overall they were incredibly enthusiastic and excited, which is a good indicator that the cooperative will come to fruition. No matter how excited I may be about something (and it doesn't take much these days) unless the village is excited about it too, nothing will happen.

I'm bad at closings, so Happy 2008 and Vote Obama.
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