First off, a very happy and cake-filled birthday to my baby sister back in the US!!! And a very happy anniversary to my mom and dad (yesterday)! I’m sad I missed the celebrations, but I’m glad you could all be together anyway!
Time is getting busier here in T–, little by little. And thank goodness. Liz and I recently attended our first regional meeting, where all the volunteers in a particular region get together to talk about projects/ideas/do a bit of socializing/take hot showers at the hotel (that one’s an individual thing). Our Region 5 meeting was held in Agadir, which is a big city on the coast, along with everyone from Region 4, which gave us the opportunity to meet volunteers from other stages that we might never get the chance to meet. And since a lot of my friends from training are also in Region 4, it was a chance to see them again. Yay!
We arrived a bit early on the first day of our meeting, a Wednesday, and spent the afternoon hanging out by the pool and chatting with the other volunteers. That evening we had a big group meeting to get to know each other.
Thursday was the big meeting day – we met our new country director. She was most recently the country director of Mongolia and was supposed to be my country director for the Tunisia program before that got canceled, so it was nice to finally get to connect with her and hear some of her Peace Corps stories, and she has a lot of great ones.
After meeting with her, we split into our two regions and spent the day talking about projects – what we had accomplished, what we were working on and ideas for the future. There are so many great projects that have already been done by volunteers in my region and they all have such good experience by this point (the ones who have been in country for a while) that I was a bit star struck. What, you organized a 5K and health fair in your community and it was awesome? Teach me your ways.
Since Agadir also has a very nice beach, we also made a couple trips down to the ocean to stick our toes in. Honestly, it was about the temperature of Lake Superior in August, but as the wind was chilly I didn’t swim. I did get to watch an awesome game of ultimate frisbee, however. And found an agate that looked suspiciously like it came out of Lake Superior.
While in Agadir, I also got the chance to visit a local orphanage – the SOS Children’s Village. It’s set up to have a group of kids living on the campus with a house mom. They go to school, do activities, eat meals, basically live together as a family. Each summer, Peace Corps volunteers take turns providing activities at the villages to help give the moms a break while the kids are home from school. While I’m not needed this summer, I’m hoping to spend about a month there next summer and it was good to see where it was and meet some of the people in charge.
Back in T–, things are still moving forward slowly. We attempted to do some language placement tests to start our English classes at the Dar Chabab, but were foiled by a big soccer game (no one came. Whatever. We’ll just start class on Wednesday and see who shows up).
Yesterday, however, we gave a pretty successful talk on American travel to our ACCESS Program kids, which they seemed to enjoy. We talked about the importance of the car and the “road trip,” camping, national parks, going to the city. Also cruises and amusement parks, which if you think about it are both pretty weird concepts.
We also made a pizza in our oven, with whole wheat flour and mozzarella cheese purchased in Agadir.
Coming up next week is something called In Service Training, or IST. My entire stage of 95 will be together for the first time since we swore in at the end of March for 10 days in Marrakech. It will also be the last time we are together until our Mid-Service Training, which will likely happen this time next year. Very excited.
I wish everyone in the U.S. a lovely Memorial Day!