Ok, so I'm finally back... well, finally... I got back early because we were trying to travel around a taxi strike that never ended up happening. You gotta love it. Let me first say that I was completely humbled, embarassed and encouraged this week due to the varying encounters I had. This will be a quick overview of the experience and I'll make some observations in the above posts.
So we left as a group early on Sunday for the other side of the Atlas mountains. It really wasn't all that far but because there was no direct road we had to go around them. We spent the night in a town in the central part of Morocco (for safety's sake I'm leaving out names, but if you want to know them... get in touch with my parents) where we met up with our host volunteers. My training partner was Katie Rosenbaum and our volunteer was April or قاوتار as the people in her village call her.
Right of the bat I was impressed because it was quite obvious that my volunteer dove much deeper into the culture than the others present, for better or for worse. For those of you that know me, you know that would be something I would get excited about.
The three of us broke of from the rest of the group to start getting to know each other and start talking about our week. We left the next day for the town where she does her shopping to get groceries for the week and then it was on to her site another 100 or so kilometers away in the Draa Valley. The landscape changed drastically from our training town to there. We went from a stunningly green, mountainous landscape to Mars as the training staff put it. The ground was dry and very rocky and it was hot and windy. Mind you it is spring so "hot" is not HOT. It gets up in the 130s during the summer and no one wants to do anything and who can blame them.
Our volunteer had decided instead of renting a place in the village, that she would build her own house. It was a spectacular mud house added on to her host family's house including her own courtyard, sitting room, bedroom, kitchen and bathroom. Needless to say I was rather impressed.
While we were there we visited the local health center and observed a day of vaccinations, negotiated the market, toured the town's water facilities and just tried to glean as much information as we possibly could from our volunteer.
We also spent a night with a host family. It should have been two, but there was supposed to be a strike so we had to leave early. That was a wonderfully awkward evening filled with hand gestures and a lot of surrendering to "I have no idea what you are trying to tell me"'s. The kid, ابدال علي was a whole lot of fun, but he was loosing his teeth due to some major cavities at the age of four... one of the many reasons we're here as health educators.
The next day we left to make our way back to our training town which was a two day journey through Marakesh. We arrived safe and sound with no nastiness along the way. I was among a group of all girls that made it into Marakesh, it was an intersting group.
There's the quick version...