Posts Tagged With: Morocco

Feb. 8, 2015

71 days until I have to leave T– and be in Rabat to close my service. That’s two months and 12 days. I’m continuing on a pattern of being ridiculously excited to return to America and also ridiculously heartbroken at the thought of leaving Morocco. Currently I’m in the heartbroken stage (like almost started crying during my girls’ Hindi Dancing Club yesterday because the time is coming when I won’t be able to hang out with them anymore), so I figured I’d cheer myself up by thinking about one of the biggest things I will NOT miss about Morocco.

And that is doing laundry by hand.

This is the face I make every time I have to do laundry. Zero percent excited.

This is the face I make every time I have to do laundry. Zero percent excited.

Because of my tendency to let laundry pile up for weeks until I have no clean clothes left – which is definitely a habit I had in the US – laundry day has always been an all-day process for me. In Morocco, however, instead of taking over four laundry machines and sitting on the laundromat’s free wifi for a couple hours, I’m glued to the house for pretty much a full day.

Our laundry machine here is a bright pink tub and a wooden washboard.

Pink laundry bucket of sadness.

Pink laundry bucket of sadness.

First step in my laundry process is to remember to buy detergent the day before. Tide (called “teed” here, the word for any sort of laundry soap, not necessarily the brand name stuff although that is what I usually end up buying) usually comes in packets that cover one of my laundry days, and since I never have the foresight to buy two packets at once, I always need to buy more so that I can start laundry early.

Laundry in the summer isn’t bad, because it’s so hot that I don’t mind being up to my elbows in water for the day. Also the sun dries everything in like an hour.

In the winter, however, the water is cold. The soap dries out my hands. And the sun, while still shining, doesn’t dry things nearly as fast, which means available clotheslines limits the number of loads that can be done.

Clean!

Clean!

The struggle. It is real.

So today I am doing laundry. My first load is soaking. I’m too lazy to provide the amount of agitation a laundry machine would, so I settle for letting things soak in soapy water for about 45 minutes, then scrubbing each thing on the washboard. Then rinsing everything twice or three times, which doesn’t get all the soap out, but most of it. Then wringing everything out by hand. Then hanging it upstairs on the roof while the second load soaks. If I’m lucky and it’s a warm day, some of the first load dries in time to make room for the second. Today is not a warm day.

The rest of the dirty water goes down the toilet,hopefully without socks or other small items.

The one good thing about this method is over time it basically destroys your clothes – I don’t think I have anything that doesn’t have holes in it – making it much easier to decide what not to take with me in April.

Clothes over. Threadbare = very yes.

Clothes over. Threadbare = very yes.

Stuff with holes is going to be used as rags in a thorough deep clean of the apartment. Stuff that is still wearable will be offered to volunteers in the area or to my host sisters. My plan is to leave T– with a week’s worth of clothes, many of which will then be retired to the trash once I arrive home.

It’s exciting stuff, getting rid of things you don’t need anymore. Also, counting down the number of times you have left doing laundry by hand before you get to a real washing machine. One down. How many to go? Not sure, but the light at the end of laundry tunnel is in sight.

America, I’m coming for your appliances.

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Categories: In site, Morocco | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Jan. 16, 2013 – Arrival

Morocco feels old, kind of in the same way that France feels old. People have been living here for centuries and centuries. A crack in the sidewalk might have been there for a day or for years. The buildings sit stacked up on each other, all painted a sort of white color with some walls of bright red thrown in.

The streets of Rabat, where we are now for about a week, are packed with people and cars, with drivers weaving in and out of each other, horns honking, avoiding pedestrians and motorcyclists. People hang their wash out to dry on rooftops or balconies so that shirts and pants wave like flags.

Outside of Rabat, the country is surprisingly green, with palm trees and large, flat cacti growing along the road. The courtyard next to our hotel houses several clementine trees, branches waving bright orange fruit. And if you don’t have your own citrus tree, you can just walk down the street to the nearest fruit stall.

We arrived in Casablanca at just before 6 a.m. Moroccan time on Jan 16, our flight only taking five-and-a-half hours as opposed to the seven I was expecting. I tried incredibly hard to sleep on the plane, but there just wasn’t much time. Once again, the impossible has been achieved and all my bags arrived. Everyone made it through customs and the Peace Corps Morocco staff then put us onto buses for our drive to Rabat just as the sun was starting to come up. I fell asleep on most of the trip and woke up just as we were turning down the street to our hotel, which I’m pretty sure we’ve taken over the whole of.

Since we were checking in at like 9 a.m., we were given the morning to settle in, which for most of us meant taking naps. Monika, my roommate, and I slept until about noon and then went for lunch downstairs at 12:30 p.m. It was a whole spread of different dishes, but as none were labeled, I’m not sure exactly what each was. There was a spicy cold tomato sauce, some sort of fish, a spicy ratatouille-type dish, bread, mashed potatoes and several vegetable dishes, all super yummy.

As promised, the inside of Moroccan buildings is far colder than outside, so we’re all piling on the layers.

Our training today consisted of introductions of the Peace Corps Morocco staff, an overview of our training and an overview of the medical care we would receive while in country. Also, we started getting our shots. I got three – which I think were typhoid, one of the Hepatitises and rabies. Basically things can bite me now and I’ll be ok. And my arm muscles hurt. Our second round of vaccinations comes on Friday (?).

After training, Monika and I and two other trainees, Sandy and Dani, took a quick walk down the street our hotel is on, having been advised of areas to avoid. Apparently we are quite close to the Rabat medina and downtown areas, but as it was getting dark, we didn’t want to go too far. We did walk past a mosque though, where we could hear a bit of the prayers being said from inside.

My camera batteries, sadly, are in need of recharging and as my charger is in the bottom of one of my bags, you’ll all need to wait a bit for pictures.

Dinner is at 7:30 p.m., and my goal is to stay up at least until 9:30 to fix my sleep cycle. Tomorrow we have a full day of sessions and we also get to learn who is in our community based training, where we get split into smaller communities to learn the language and such.

In short, I’m excited to be here and doing well! I hope everyone at home is much the same.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

Morocco!

Good thing I didn’t spend time making up some clever Tunisia-related title for this blog, because that is no longer where I am going. That’s the bad news.

Friday, Sept. 21, I received a call from the Peace Corps. The main news of that call was that, in light of the current protests/instability in Tunisia, a decision had been made by Peace Corps to postpone the Tunisia group departure for June 2013 instead of the end of October as originally planned.

Related to this bad news is that Friday also happened to be my last day of work at The Mining Journal. Dang. I was also told I would definitely have a spot in the Tunisia group if I chose to wait it out until June.

But that’s also where the good news started to kick in. I was advised to contact a placement specialist to find out what some other departure options would be. I left a message for “the placement guy” and didn’t expect to hear back from him until the next week, as an entire group of Tunisia invitees were likely going to be calling him. Surprise, surprise, he called back within an hour (which resulted in a quick round of phone tag as I had walked away from my phone and was sprinting toward it just as the last ring sounded) and told me that my best option would be with the Morocco program, leaving mid-January.

My official invitation email came Tuesday, Sept. 25, which I immediately accepted. So it looks like now I’ll be leaving Jan. 14, 2013. My assignment will be working in a youth center, doing a combination of English teaching and youth development.

I am disappointed to not be going to Tunisia. Truly it was a country I wanted to serve in and I was excited to be helping start a new program.

However, waiting until June was not an option, given I had no guarantee of finding another full-time job until then and, as much as I love my parents, didn’t want to intrude upon their generous hospitality until then. And even if I had decided to wait, what if things were still not stable enough to send a group in June? Would we wait again?

Going to Morocco is a good alternative. I’ll still get the chance to learn Arabic, which instantly became one of my goals as soon as I got the Tunisia invitation. I’ll still be working with kids, and at a youth center, which might fit me better than just classroom work. Morocco is a stable program with lots of current volunteers to meet and network with.

Some additional perks: I have an additional couple months to start learning Arabic/acquire all the clothing and stuff (for lack of a better word) I’ll need for my service. I get to spend my favorite time of year (Halloween through New Years) with my family. Also, filed under the “least important detail but one I am nevertheless tremendously excited about” category – I will be in the United States when “The Hobbit” comes out in theaters.

So now I have a packing list and a long list of stuff to accomplish before I leave. Not to mention having to come up with a title for this blog. Any ideas? “Moroccan’ and Rollin’” has already been taken, I believe.

Categories: Invitation | Tags: | 1 Comment

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