"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.

29 October 2010

I Finally Got Inked In Morocco!

It finally happened! I got my Morocco tattoo! Every country that I have lived in I have gotten a tattoo or has a cultural heritage symbolism for me. One in Italy while study abroad in the summer 2005. A Croatian tattoo in honor of my heritage and the close bond I have with my wonderful sister, and now I have the khmissa, the Moroccan version of the hand of Katima. It is beautiful. I took over two hours and it was the most painful tattoo to date, but it was worth it :)
I do not have a photo of it totally healed, but above is my tattoo artist, Ziki, showing off his talents on my upper back. SHUKRAN SIDI!

World Map Done!

With the money that my mother's church donated towards my dar chabab to denefit the kids that come to the building, I used their money to buy the supplies needed to create this world map. My wonderful mudir, Khalid, donated the canvas and white paint from his studio (yes, he is an artist! awesome) to put towards making this map.
It took a couple weeks and some very dedicated Moroccan youth, landlord, and site-mate, the map is now done!
Enjoy the photos and I want to thank my mother's church again for donating their money to something that brought many students together to create something that will last years and affect the youth that come to the dar chabab to further their education and curiosity about the world around them. God bless your parents :)
** Local kids helping out with the map**

** The map SLOWLY coming together :) brush stroke after brush stroke**

** Thanks to Abdou and Lisa for their hours of labor and love towards this project**

**Thanks also to Marissa and Faye, my fellow YD staj-mates. They were amazing and so helpful! this project could not of been done without their help**

14 October 2010

Tanger, Tetouan, and Chefchaouen- Last Moroccan Vacation

What a trip! By far one of my top 5 mini Moroccan vacations. Once COS conference was over and things settled down, I went on my finale vacation here inMorocco as a PCV. One of my close friends in Peace Corps and a friend from Khemisset came along with me on this littleadventure. We had a car so we really got to see a lot of all three of these cities. We began with just wanting to see Tanger, but once we had a car, we decided to make the most of the time we had and see the other two cities too.

> Chefchaoen

Tanger is by far my favorite northern Moroccan cities. It had the perfect mix of Spanish, Arab, and Africa blends in culture and architecture. I got to walk around the city for a while, visit the famous American Legation, and got to chill at the cafe where they filmed The Borne Supremacy.
Once we got our fill of Tanger, we hit the road to Tetouan for a quick coffee break before arriving to Chefchaoen.

The Tetouan souq was HUGE! I almost got lost. There was a beautiful palace that was right in the middle of town. Tetouan was one of the most Spanish/European influenced towns of the north. The architecture of the townmade me feel like I was in southern Spain walking around the main streets. Also being spoken to in Spanish the whole time was wonderful. I'd rather be
"Hola"ed than"Bonjour"ed any day.


Once we left Tetouan, we hit
the road to our finale destination, Chefchaouen!! Located in the Rif Mountains. This town is famous for the color blue that is used throughout the city and the location within the Rif Mountains is one of the most breath-taking locations in Morocco. Check out this link for more on this information on this city: http://wikitravel.org/en/Chefchaouen

If anyone decides to visit Morocco, you have to check out Ozt, Tanger, Wester Sahara, and Chefchouen for sure.

Chefchaouen stairs>

Just A Little Taste of Being A Woman In Morocco

I love Morocco. I truly do. The majority of the people here are some of the most kind and welcoming people I have ever met, but at times, the men in this country take it upon themselves to remind me the ranking in this culture really is when dealing with gender issues. I understand that they think that the way they greet non-Muslim women is a compliment and that out of 100 women ONE will enjoy these kind of comments, but the 99 others do not. I took this comic from a fellow PCV's blog and wanted to share with you. I am happy to of joined Peace Corps because it was one of the best things I have ever experienced in my life thus far, but also, one of the hardest experience I have ever been through. AGAIN, I remind you that not all Moroccan men do this and I do not see every Moroccan man in this light, but since moving from a small rural village to an urban town filled with foreign women married to Moroccan men, it is hard to even walk to the local haunt to buy milk without some daily harassment. I just want to share another side of my Peace Corps experience. Both the good and the not so good.

link: http://thesocietypages.org/socimages/2010/09/02/women-and-street-harassment/

10 October 2010

COS Conference DoNe!

Close Of Service (COS) Conference is DoNe! Last week was one filled with LONG meetings to help my staj "reintegrate" into American life again, getting my teeth checked out along with my finale physical and the many trips to the lab to drop off samples of bowel movements and blood. Also I cannot forget to add the usual unemployment protests and enjoyable walks from Rabatville to Agdal. Honestly, it is not a truly authentic stay in the capitol of Morocco without at least a couple protest going on outside of the Parliament Building which was located across the street from the hotel all the volunteers were staying at last week.
I had meetings with David, the Country Director along with my programing staff YD lovingly calls "A-Team." It was nice to be able to share my experiences and recommendations from these past 2 years+ of my PCV life.
It was good to see SBD together again with YD chilling at HQ. Catching up over drinks at non-Moroccan food restaurants was great! I got to sit down with a lot of other people in my staj that I never had the time to get to know as well as I wanted. That was a blessing.
After the COS conference, it was nice to see that most of my fellow staj-mates are in the same boat as I am with what the future holds for us once we sign that little red book on November 12th. When I was able to talk to other PCVs and listen to the RPCVs (retired peace corps volunteers) talk about what they went through, it took some of the stress off of me and reminded me that I need to be patient with myself and that things will work out.. also this traveling bug I have is something that will always be with me. We shall see how long I stay state-side until I start getting antsy again:) well that is all for today! Hope all is well in your world and keep a look out for my next entry which should be up by the end of this week, Inch Allah.