So I have now been on Tinjdad for about 3 weeks. An interesting thing has happened to my perception of time since being here thus far. While in PST time seemed to slow down substantially, time has now seemed to have sped up, and the past 3 weeks have really flown by. Perhaps because I am now much more relaxed and on my own schedule. Interesting how time changes. Anyway, I have had a great first 3 weeks here, and would say the integration process is going quite smoothly. I am now teaching English on a regular basis and am loving it. My students are great...most of them at least have an English foundation from which I can build upon easily. For example, my "beginner" class speaks better English than I speak Moroccan Arabic. This is much easier and fun (and better for a teachers mental stability) than spending hours going over the alphabet and numbers until you sound like Rainman. I also have activities every Saturday, which thus far have been girls basketball. In order for girls to have a chance to play any sport here without any male interference there must be some kind of facilitator to regulate. That’s where I come in. Hopefully I can couch better than I play, and we can win some games in our region. The Tinjdad girls have played a neighboring town, Golmima, several times in the past few months have lost by a long shot every time. If anyone reading this has any plays they’d like to pass my way that would be awesome.
I have met a good amount of useful people in the area, including 4 English teachers who have been extremely helpful in getting me situated. I am now getting tutored by two teachers, which I think is good since it allows me to practice with people different accents. Once I get into the swing of things a bit more, I will begin teaching English in the Neddy Neswi, which is like a Dar Chebeb for women. I also plan on doing some work with theatre and music. My students are very interested in all aspects of American culture, one of them being music, yet have never heard Jimi Hendrix so it seems like we have a lot to cover. On the note of cultural exchange, I have begun a pen pal exchange program with the students in my Dar Chebab and my cousin Ali's class of 8th graders in the states. I am really excited about this...it seems like a great way for the students in both countries to learn about each others cultures, without us teachers having to do all that much.
Last week my host brother took me to the museum of Tinjdad, which is incredible. The main thing that’s incredible about it is, well, its a museum in my Peace Corps site! Here I was crossing my fingers on running water and electricity, and I get all that and a museum on top of it. Sweet. It gives a detailed account of the history of Tinjdad and the surrounding region. It has tons of artifacts, some of which date back nearly a thousand years. It also has lots of artwork from my host brother Rachid, who, as I mentioned in a previous entry, is a well recognized artist in the area. To top it all off it has narratives in English! It is probably the only thing in English in the entire town. It is attached to a hotel, which has got to be one of the coolest hotels I have ever seen. Most of the rooms are different from one another, yet each has a classy desert vibe. The prices are decent too. I highly recommend it to anyone passing through.
So what else...Leid Kbir is right around the corner. For those of you who don't know (which is probably most of you reading this), Leid Kbir is the Muslim holiday in which every family slaughters 1 or more sheep and proceeds to eat every last part of its body throughout the course of a few weeks. This includes everything from the eyes, to the testicles, to the skin on the face. The slaughtering conveniently lands about a week before Christmas, so when my family is back at home eating their Christmas ham, I will be here eating my Leid Kbir sheep testicles. Tis the Season! I shall definitely has further updates on that as it occurs.
That’s all I got for now. Until next time...