Did you know that dates come from palm trees? No, not the dinner and a movie kind, but the fruit! who knew?!?
The town of Oulad Larbia is an oasis town. In the distance you can see snow capped mountains. To the west there is nothing but sand and dunes. To the east there is nothing but a beautiful green space full of palm trees, vegetation and a rive that runs through the middle. to the North there is a road and other small towns. It is a small town of less than 300 people (an estimate). It has two stores (similar to a UDF or other gas station store, minus of course, the gas pumps), a mosque, a school, soccer fields and three hotels/hostels. Most are farmers or potters (not like harry) and most families seem to be related in some way or another. This is where I live.
I’m studying Moroccan Arabic rather than a Berber language which I think I’m happy about. There are 6 other Peace Corps Trainees in my group. We are living with host families and going to school for 8-10 hours a day. It has been verrrrrrry busy, but we are all learning a lot about culture, language and customs. Language classes are difficult. very difficult. but we are learning a lot and it is getting better! Talk to me in a year, i’ll respond in arabic. done.
We have two pets at our school. By pets, I mean stray dogs that hang around and that we’ve named. One is Simba. He is a puppy and he doesn’t like us and is scared of us. I leave pieces of bread outside for him everyday. Soon he will be my friend!! Matildo is our other dog. He (we originally thought it was a she....Matilda) is a gem of a dog. He walks one of my friends to school every morning from her house. He stays outside of school and waits for us. The other day we fed him chicken bones and rice, he loved it!! I keep hoping he will convince Simba to be our friend too. I’ll keep you posted.
I have three new host-sisters: a 4, 9, and 12 year old. My host-mom is a housewife, but spends most of her time knitting/weaving and doing other things. My host-dad is a potter and makes these neat pots. We have 6 sheep 1 chicken, a donkey, two cats, and as of Sunday three kittens. Sometimes I get to help feed the donkey and sheep. I love those days. :)
Living with my host family has been an interesting adventure. The daughters are fun and have been such wonderful Arabic helpers! They laugh at me a lot. A lot. My host dad is pretty funny. He likes to ask me questions and when I don’t know what he is saying he just says them again......r----e-----a---l-----l-----y---------s-------------l-------------o---------w---------------l--------------y and I still don’t understand. :)
My mom doesn’t like for me to help with any of the housework, so instead she always sends me to play with the girls. When that doesn’t work, she just takes me around to her friends houses. So generally I am about two feet behind her, following her like a small puppy. I tease her and tell her that I am her pet, just like the chickens.
Speaking of chickens....i’ll tell you a funny story. the other day I really needed to pee, but our bathroom is in a pretty precarious location. Also, it is not polite to tell people you are going to the bathroom because it is considered dirty. Plus, there is no lock on my bathroom door and my little sisters find knocking to be slightly foreign... So I waited for the perfect time- no one was around so I go to the bathroom door and open the door......and there are chickens in the bit lama. Now, i’m pretty good at a lot of things, but I do not know how to handle livestock....i’m from the city!! I didn’t know what to do, so I went to get my host sister and had to tell her there were chickens in the bathroom. She thought it was so funny so she got our other sister. Then it was all so funny and they were laughing so hard that the dad came over to make sure everything was okay. Then I just looked silly because there were chickens in the bathroom and everyone was laughing.
Now we joke about the chickens. He met his fate though. We ate him for dinner the next night.
strange things PCVs packed- a list, continued: a piccolo, hair dryer and spatula.
Camels: YES, i’ve seen three!!! They are for tourists and not actually used for daily life.
miss you all!