Start HERE. :)
June 1, 2010
We flew into Nador and had a surprisingly easy passage into the country, unlike last year. Bub and Elena greeted us with smiling faces and drove us two hours along the Mediterranean coast to our home for the next two weeks. We greeted our old friends, the dear Moroccans and Americans who work with the organization. We met our new friends, a fabulous team from Arizona (though sadly, none of the AZ volunteers we met last year). After a delicious meal of french fries with meatball tajine, we settled into Amy's apartment (I got my own room! It was amaaazing!) and slept well. :)
The living room of our apartment:
June 2, 2010
5:30am came rather quickly, after a hot, mosquito-filled, allergy-ridden night's sleep. The breakfast was exactly as I remembered and loved: bananas, hardboiled eggs, bread (chobbes!) and nutella, coffee, and pistachio yogurt.
All of us, the AZ team and my family, worked at S' farm for the day. We started a cistern next to his house (which the org. built a couple years ago)! Bub informed us that it must be 9' x 12' and "as deep as we can get it". We started out EXCITED and PUMPED and READY TO DIG! We soon realized that it would be VERY difficult. It was such hard and rocky soil that shovels were only useful to dig out what picks loosened. It was so hot that we could only work for about 10-15 minutes at a time and then needed water and shade breaks. Thankfully, there were ten of us and fewer than ten shovels and picks, so we rotated. :)
A terrific part of Moroccan culture is tea time. Tea time happens around 10am and around 4pm. Tea time should be incorporated everywhere, but perhaps with less tea and more coffee. For two weeks, I love tea time: incredibly sugary mint e-tey (tea), chobbes (bread), zeet (oil), zbida (butter), and ejoos (almonds).
S has the most beautiful daughters. The nine-year-old, A, became our constant companion. She taught me to count to ten in Arabic, we put flowers in each others' hair, and she took turns digging. :) She is a STRONG little thing.
In the afternoon, B returned to drive us to lunch at another work site with the Moroccan workers. It was such a blessing to reconnect with them--we got to know them pretty well last year. (As well as four young women can get to know Moroccan men in two weeks without speaking the same language.) My buddy, M, remembered me and seemed to understand more English this time. Many things changed this year, but how satisfying bread, beans, melon, and water taste after a day of work in the sun? Never.
Bub and I serve beans:
Yes, we did get views like this every day:
Also, we do eat with goats:
Interesting: the king was touring the country and coming to the Rif, supposedly when we'd be there. Moroccan flags lined every road and flew from every window, and various buildings and signs were receiving new paint jobs specially for him. We're told that a sure sign of his approach is white-gloved gendarme joining the flags lining every street. We kept a good watch!
After work, Mel took us shopping downtown! I got to hang out with my favorite little Moroccan buddy, E:
He likes trucks and speaks perfect four-year-old English.
Speaking of languages, it was so much fun hearing Amy speak in Arabic! She's so GOOD for the few months she's practiced! She and her Moroccan friends are adorable. :)