Well, it has finally arrived…the day that seemed like it never would. I have arrived to my final site for good, and shall remain here for the next 2 years. I am now an official volunteer, and should theoretically be fully prepared to live on the edge of the Sahara for the next 2 years of my life.
Apologies to those of you who have been waiting for a new update for the past few weeks and have failed to receive one until now. As usual, I have been incredibly busy, yet these past 2 weeks have been an unusual exception since it was the home stretch of pre-service training. In the past few weeks we have crammed for our final language exam, taken it, met up with the small business development group, continued technical training, had a larger thanksgiving dinner than I ever deemed possible, and gotten sworn in as official volunteers. Figuring out where to begin with a blog entry has thus become a more difficult task than it typically should be.
How about I start with Thanksgiving dinner. I'm not really sure what to say about it other than it was better than I ever thought was possible in a country in which its celebration does not exist. Fortunately, however, Morocco is a culture in which most holidays are celebrated by a huge feast of some sort, so in this case, they could certainly relate to it a lot more than something like Halloween. We had about 10 volunteers on cooking staff, who successfully managed to cook for about 80 people (67 volunteers and nearly 15 language teachers and staff members). It was impressive, to say the least.
Following thanksgiving was the tail end of training. This involved a ton of power points reviewing policies and safety procedures...not a big surprise. One of the highlights of meeting up with the SBD group was the SBD vs. YD talent show. For this I decided that it was only necessary to write an end of PC training song and perform it with a fellow volunteer musician. It worked out well...we sang it to the tune of Pink Floyd's "The Wall", and touched on many common training subjects, such as seemingly never ending power points, diarreah, and the feeling one has when initially being dropped off into the middle of nowhere for the next 2 years of one's life. Judging by the overwhelming laughter, everyone seemed to enjoy it.
Swearing in was perfect. We had it held in what must be the nicest hotel in all of Fes; on the top of a mountain overlooking the Medina, right next to some old Roman ruins. Everyone that I have interacted with since being in Morocco was in attendance...including my first host family. It was great to see them and catch up in broken Arabic...they did mention that my language had improved, which was encouraging since it is sometimes difficult for me to tell. Three of the volunteers from my stage gave speeches in Moroccan Arabic, Tamazigte, and Tashlehete...although I had trouble understanding most of it, the host country nationals(HCN's) in the audience seemed really receptive. A job well done.
I am currently in what will soon become my apartment, which I have taken over from a current volunteer. I am very happy with it, especially since I can play put-put golf on the roof(thanks to the creativity of the former volunteer), and get hot showers and internet right away. He even left me a full jar of Skippy peanut butter! His efforts will not be forgotten. This will have to be all for now, however, now that I have my own internet connection, and no longer have training to deal with, entries should be much more frequent(this time I'm serious). Until next time...