Sunday, April 15, 2007

There and Back Again

So we've been in our group training town for 2 days now and we're headed back to our Community Based Training tomorrow morning for our 10 day long stint. I'll be out of touch for a good long while. As the training progresses it is getting more and more difficult to find time to make it to an Internet cafe. Life has kind of sped up just a bit. Language has started to really click although I am in serious need of a larger vocabulary.

In general things have started to settle down mentally. I've hit a groove, which for me usually brings on frustration, but here it has brought the opposite... I'm a bit comfortable. I'm where I'm supposed to be and I can feel that very intensely.

So that's just a general "how I'm doing"... let me now share some rather funny little stories...

My host family is pretty cool. My host Dad doesn't really speak or do anything for that matter. My host Mom is the only one I communicate with and it can be a little frustrating at times because the whole cross cultural communication just doesn't happen sometimes. She only understands when I use the correct conjugation and really doesn't pick up on hand signals making communication surprisingly difficult. I prided myself on getting a message across when I didn't speak the language, but this has been rather humbling. So for this last CBT phase it was short and so I only broug one pair of pants which broke my own rule for myself about always bringing a backup of whatever I'm bringing with me. As we say "s Tamazight... mushkil bizzef!" (big problem). I forgot the key to my room at our school house so I had to leave in the rain in the night to go get it. Now you have to understand that the "town" we live in is like 7 houses on the side of a mountain. There are no lights, stores, roads or really any sign that there is a town there at all. This meant that I had to navigate a thin and muddy trail in pitch black on hilly terrain to go get my key in the tattered and worn flipflops that my mom begged me not to bring ;). I would have brought my flashlight but it was locked in my room. I made it there alright and was doing ok getting back. My hands were muddy from catching myself a couple of times. As I reached the house I thought I was home free and then true to form I slipped and fell in the last possible place I could have fallen in the mud. Well as I said before... I only brought one pair of pants. Not a positive situation. My host Dad let me use his Jelaba which is a long hooded robe you wear over your clothes, so I wore it with no pants. Awkward

The other story was the day before. I was talking on the phone out on the roof of my house. I had told my host family that I was going upstairs to study. They must have forgot because they saw the door to the roof was open and they shut it. The door locks from the inside and the only way to open it from the outside is with a key. I yelled for a while but the didn't hear me. Finally I called her on her cell phone... yes no running water, sparce electricity and a cell phone... but as I told you before the cross cultural communication just wasn't happening in person and it most assuredly wasn't going to happen over the phone. All she understood me saying was "door". I had to climb down the side of the house. They saw me doing that and freaked out until they figured out what had happend. Needless to say my family laughs at me a lot.

We have the next ten days there isolated from communication and I'm sure there will be more stories and finally some pictures of my host family.


Andrew said...

sounds like you're having a blast.

Rachel said...

Welcome to Peace Corps Morocco!! Loved your stuck-on-the-roof story. The great times are just beginning :)

Rachel Beach

Ed Jordan said...

I understand. Hungarians used to automatically say, "Nem ertem" "I don't understand" because my conjugation was wrong. I remember, in our early months in Hungary, taking a baby bottle to the hotel restaurant at 9:30 at night to get milk for our daughter. Eniko had told me that the word for milk was "tej" so I asked for tej for the baby, and handed the bottle to the waiter. He didn't understand. I used German, Milch. He didn't understand. English. He didn't understand. Other waiters came to help. None of them understood. I began acting out milking a cow, while saying "tej." Finally one of them goes, "Na, ertem, ertem." "Ah, I understand." He told me to sit down, while he took the bottle to the kitchen. After about twenty minutes he comes out smiling and shaking a bottle full of brown liquid. "Tea for the baby, he said, with citrom (lemon juice)!"

So, I can relate Samuel.

Ann said...

i love that you had to climb down a wall. hilarious. i would have just sat down and cried.