"No human, nor any living thing, survives long under the eternal sky. The most beautiful women, the most learned men, even Mohammed, who heard Allah's voice, all did wither and die. All is temporary. The sky outlives everything. Even suffering." - Bowa Johar, Balti poet.

11 December 2008

Britney Spears…Sheep killings… Humdullah!

Salamu 3alkum!

Well I thought that today would be the perfect day to get everyone updated on life here in Skoura while my host father is upstairs killing one of the two sheep for L3id Kibir. I am zoning out the sound of the sheep screams with some annoying Britney Spears because her voice is so off pitch and annoyingly loud that I cannot hear anything else. PERFECT. The only time I listen to that woman is when I was back home in the states, having a few vodka tonics and wanting to dust a move to some pop music on the night club dance floor. I am an 80’s music fan above all things, but sometimes you just gatta cave into the music your generation is known to sadly enjoy, and also one dollar You-Call-It’s are hard to say no to. Oh how I miss home at this moment, and it is sadly from mentioning Britney Spears.
Life here in Skoura has been getting better week-by-week. My first week here was a nightmare due to sickness, eviction, no language skills to communicate in my community (still true to this day), and my moudir and I not yet seeing eye-to-eye on things to be done at the Dar Chabab (youth building in DDarija), but I know in time it will change. That first week was a bit overwhelming, but look! I have survived! I know that there will be more challenges along the way of this road I call Peace Corps, but I am here to enjoy the ride. If that means some drama, then so be it. I am here to do a job and enjoy Morocco, and it is just like life back in America, shit happens… but I guess in America there is no real language barrier but you can at moments not understand a darn word one American is saying to another. Got to love American slang.
I will start teaching at my Dar Chabab after L3id Kibir. Last week I gave oral and written tests in English so I know where all the kid’s levels are in the language. There are some that impressed me very much and others that just need a little more help, but will get to their level in time. I also met up with some of the kids to see what kind of classes they wanted me to teach. They all want English at all levels (beginner to BAC advanced, and even Adult classes which should be fun), an English movie night, and both a girl and boy sport class. The boys want to learn volleyball and the girls I think want to learn Yoga or hip-hop. I know yoga but hip-hop… umm not really. I might have to ask for hip-hop DVD’s to learn, there is ALWAYS youtube The kids want me to teach more, but with never teaching English until I got to Morocco, I am taking it slow, but I promised more classes by February so the kids that are taking the BAC exam have more time with me to get ready for it.
The BAC here is the SAT of Morocco, but it is more intense because if they do not pass this exam, they cannot go to college and they will have retaken the WHOLE year and takes the exam again. I mean in the USA if you do not do well on the SAT it is hard to get into a college, but you can still go or at least go to a community college and work your way up. In Morocco, that is not an option. It is common sadly in this country for only 30% of high school students to pass this test. I am not joking when i say that this is a hard test. There are some things on that exam, at least in English I could not answer, and that is my mother tongue. I hope to help the kids in my town as much as I can to be prepared for that exam. It might also help me with my grammar as well in English.

Maybe I will return from Morocco with a better understanding of my own languageJ Forced into learning the grammar rules of English.
It has been decent weather here in Skoura. It has been getting very cold at night, but warm throughout the day. It is very different from the people living north of me in Morocco working for Peace Corps. They have gotten at least 15 cm of snow since last week. I am from Michigan and therefore used to the snow, but it is nice to not have to live in a city where there will be snowfall. I can see plenty of it from my window that is on top of the High Atlas Mountains. I will miss the snow once Christmas comes around, but that will probably be the only time. I am enjoying the weather so far, but from what I have been hearing from the locals in the area, once April arrives in this part of the country until November, it is unbearably hot and annoying. I remember the PCV I replaced here telling me that there was days when she just sat on her terrace and literally watched her jeans dry because it was so hot and also there was nothing else to do in that town. My moudir leaves during the summer months (May through August) and if he is not at the Dar Chabab, I cannot be in the Dar chabab, so I will have a lot of free time on my hands. I hope though to do summer camps and help out at other associations in my town if they are even open as well. Skoura becomes a ghost town in the summer because of the heat and also it is summer break for kids and traveling is HUGE here. I may even take some time off to see the country moreJ save up my two days off a month and really enjoy Morocco or maybe go to Europe. Who knows where life will take in 6 months or even 3.
I am missing my friends from Peace Corps lately, but talking on Skype has been a blessing for me and communicating with other PCVs in Morocco. If anyone in American has skype OR wants to talk to me whenever for free, download the program called Skype (free download). It is a free way to talk online with people all over the world. It even works to call peoples cell phones through the computer. It is only like 2 cents a minute; a lot cheaper for me than spending 50 Dh on a phone card and using that up within a ½ hour. I can spend 3 hours online at a local cyber and pay about 15 Dh for the whole time. My name on Skype is: hillarylynn23, so if anyone misses me to the point of getting this, you know my screen name to contact meJ Once I find my own apartment in Skoura I will be buying wireless internet so I can be online as much as I want and available for people to contact me better.
Well I hope everyone’s Thanksgiving was amazing and that they had enough turkey and stuffing to last you until next holiday. I also want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I hope that everyone has an enjoyable holiday, a lot of food and spirits to be eaten and drank, and the warmth of friends and family to surround them until 2009 gets here. I will be thinking of all of you during these next few weeks and hoping to find some eggnog somewhere in this country or maybe try to decorate a palm treeJ No one here knows about Christmas, so it is up to me to spread some holiday cheer around here and if it does not work out, at least I triedJ If I have to go through sheep killings for Abraham and all that jazz from the Old Testament, I think I can get some of my family members in Skoura to sing, “Its Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas” or maybe pop in the video White Christmas and sting some popcorn to place around my bedroom door or something. Wish me luck in trying to get that translated in to DDarija for me.
Well I am off to help my host sisters try to make the food for the big dinner tonight. I have tried to help in the kitchen a bit, but whenever I enter that room, something gets broken so I am not sure which duty they will bestow upon me with out it ending in some or of damage to property. Mom you wouldn’t be proud of me in the kitchen here in Morocco, but then again you know how much cooking experience I have and the kind of food I prepare (organic cereal and raw veggies with hummus). What else can they ask from me? J I can make some good food, but with the supplies that are given to me here, I am limited on what I am used to making back in the states. That now said I could now push myself in creating new masterpieces of culinary art that will astonish the masses! I am on a mission to come back to my host family’s house and make them something that will wow and amaze. It might take a while, but I WILL succeed!

MISS EVERYONE!!!! Keep me updated on things back home and tell me how my Red Wings are going this season! 3afak.
Hillarylynn23@hotmail.com (this is also my MSN screen name) or
Skype me at: hillarylynn23

Tbark llah 3lik!