"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.

16 May 2010

6 Months In Counting

Well on the 12th of this month marked all my fellow staj-mates official 6 month countdown to finishing up our service in Peace Corps, Morocco. I can not believe that 21 months have already past, and that there are only 6 more months of work to be done! This means my last summer camp, my last Ramadan, and my last summer/fall here in Morocco. I am both excited to be almost done, but sad to realize that in 6 months, I shall have to say goodbye to the life that I have made for myself here these last (almost) 2 years. I mean I am almost ready/prepared to do so since my site change, but there is a difference between leaving a site and leaving a country.
I have to keep in mind that 6 months is still a long time, but from all the RPCVs (Retired Peace Corps Volunteers) I have spoken to, time flies by in a blind of an eye your last 6 months, and then you are signing that pretty red book and officially becoming an RPCV.
My goals for the next 6 months are a bit different than my other staj-mates due to the new situation I am in by being a new YD volunteer in Khemisset so late in the YD game, but I am looking forward to what these next/last 6 months of my service will be bringing me. I hope to start up a world map project, to do some sort of SIDA activities, start up an art class along with a couple hours dedicated towards English classes, and maybe some Yoga/Pilate's classes, if the students are interested:) But most importantly I am wanting to prepare as much as I can for the PCV that will be replacing me since he/she will have the time to really get things started in this site. I am just laying down the ground work, getting to know the community, and giving this town an idea of what a YD volunteer is/does, and hopefully I will be as helpful as can be with whoever is going to be taking over this site in November.
Bring on the last 6 months! I am ready and very excited to see what will be going on!!!!

12 May 2010

Khemisset. A Place To Call Home.

It is official. After two weeks of being homeless, and Peace Corps working as hard as they could to find a proper site for me, I have a new site for the rest of my service in Khemisset. My new site is in northern Morocco, located 80 km from the capital, Rabat, and about an hour away from Meknes.
It is nothing like Skoura.Skoura was beautiful in its own dessert like way with palm trees, kasbahs, donkeys, mountains, and welcoming people. Khemisset is green, has horses, a lot of farm land, and forests! Its weekly souq is as big as my old sites "downtown" area. The medina is huge, it has week long veggie souq, two main square areas, cafes at every corner, and even a tennis court/rec. area including a swimming pool. Khemisset is known for their horses and you see them on every street either working as a taxi service around the city or hulling local produce to souq. I went from a very rural area to a very urban area, which is something that I need to get used to. Even with Ouarzazate 45 km away from me back in the south, Khemisset is almost as big, and even more busier than Oz.
I am Khemisset's first Youth Development volunteer, but I am not the first PCV in Khemisset. I have an awesome site-mate and best pal, Lisa, that has been here her whole service. She sworn in with me 21 months ago, but works in a different sector of Peace Corps. Her job is to work with the local artisans in Khemisset. There are other PCVs in the region and I look forward to meeting them all and hopefully collaborating with them and Lisa throughout the rest of my service.
The new dar chabab that I will be working in is HUGE! seriously, HUGE! It has a theatre, three huge classrooms with many windows (very open space), a long hallway that connects to the other part of the dar chabab where there is room for computers, a music room, and art room. It has been under construction for 7 months now because it is becoming what we call here in Morocco, a model dar chabab. This means that this building is the ideal dar chabab that the Ministry of Youth and Sports (the ministry is the reason why YD works in Morocco, PC YD works under this umbrella of the ministry). It is colorful, has a small courtyard, open, and with plenty of space for big projects and events. I got to meet my new moudir and delegate and they are very welcoming and open to ideas, which is perfect.
My moudir and I seem like we will work well together. He is on personal leave because he is putting together his very own art exhibition that will be going on over the summer in Tanger! His work is impressive and I am thrilled to have a real counterpart that is my moudir, and someone who is also passionate about the arts.
Since there has not been any kind of real activities inside the dar chabab in some time, and starting next month the BIG high school exam happens and school will be over for the summer (starting June 10th), which means the dar chabab will be closed until after Ramadan (end of August). This means that I will be focusing in on helping the students in the dar chabab with homework, doing activities/some clubs, and just getting to know them since I have less than a month before the students disappear for their summer fun. After Ramadan though, it is going to be super busy and exciting at the dar chabab in Khemisset,:)
I will be honest that only having 6 months left before I COS (humdullah), I am being challenged with the short time i have left. To integrate into a community, it takes about 6 months, then the real work begins. I only have time to integrate, then I am finished with my service. Though that is going to be a challenge, I am taking this new site by the "horns" or maybe I should be "hooves" :) and getting this dar chabab up and running again. I am going to focus on letting the local youth get to know the me, gain their trust, do some classes and activities, and research/prepare this site for the PCV that will be replacing me in November. That is my amazing game plan and I have my work cut out for me, but I am excited about it.
I can not get into detail over why I was site changed, and I would like to leave that in the past, but I can at least say this, I am finally in a site that I feel happy and healthy to be working in. Skoura will always be home to me in Morocco. My family and friends are there, but I am ready for the next task at hand, which is Khemisset and the youth here.
To learn more about my new home, check out these websites. Just copy and paste them onto your URL. EnJoY.


05 May 2010

Wanted: A Site To Call Home

I am just writing to keep you posted on what is going on with me here in Morocco. Currently I am writing from a nice hotel in Rabat that I have been staying in for a week now. This hotel is currently my new home until the meeting on Friday with the whole Peace Corps staff about where I am going to be living these last 6 months and what I will be doing. It has been a little bit on the stressful side, but I know that things will work out. Also it has been nice to be in Rabat and catch up on things and focus on my life here in Morocco and what I want to do before I COS. I will keep you posted on what is going on when I find out more information. I might be going to El Jadida or another city... we shall see where fate and the Peace Corps staff takes me :)