Thursday, September 30, 2010

COS Meds

I arrived in Rabat Tuesday afternoon and had a lovely dinner of lasagne at a nice restaurant near the awesome hotel Peace Corps is putting us in. The rooms are so nice and there is hot water all the time!

Yesterday I had every single one of my medical appointments. I started off my morning with an 8:30am meeting where we also got our TB tests. Now we all know how much I dislike needles...and I had to have the test done TWICE. The first attempt didn't work so they had to give me another shot of fun tester fluid under my skin. At this point I was sufficiantly freaked out but had to be donwtown to get my dental x-rays and dental appointment and cleaning by 10am. I left Agdal at 9:30am. The taxi ride down made me very motion sick, great on top of the lowered blood sugar from my needle freak out, so I managed to get over to the x-ray place where it took me an hour to get my dental x-ray done and printed out due to so many people being there. I was an hour late to my dental appointment but was able to get in and out. Good news: no caveties and my teeth were clean! Dental cleanings are the worst though with all that scraping against my teeth and gums, but I made it through. My lower front teeth are still a bit sensitive, but clean, :).

I then had a quick lunch of yummy thin crust pizza before rushing back to Peace Corps HQ to have my physical down where I was prodded some more. Had a quick meeting with the country director before running out and having some blood drawn. COS meds are very thorough in everything. Crook of my arm is still a bit sore, but good news is all my appointments are done!

I slpurged on a nice meal at the French Institute last night. I had filet mignon with blue cheese dressing for dinner and then a small creme brulee, brownie and mousse with coffee for dessert. Delicious. Today I'll have some sushi for lunch and pizza for dinner, :). Today is my free day with no meetings or appointments.

Been thinking more and more on my return home, not long now at all.

Birthday Shananigans

My birthday was last Friday. I celebrated by making myself a lemon pepper glazed broiled chicken breast and fried green beans and garlic with cheesecake brownies for dessert. I also replaced my empty buta gas tank for my stove and oven operation. Then I visited my friend's sister as my friend was out in the fields and my host family. In the morning I went into Errachidia and enjoyed a banana juice at a cafe while perusing the internet a bit. I had a great day.

Saturday I went up to Ifrane to visit my CBT family. It was so great to see them and I had never been to Ifrane before. It was so much cooler than my village in the south! It felt amazing to sleep with a blanket at night and wear a sweater again. Then Monday on my way up to COS medicals and conference I stayed with one of my CBT mates in Taza. I really liked Taza, it's a nice city and beautiful. I visited my friend's cooperative and some of the volunteers in the area.

Then I made my way up to Rabat for COS Meds and Conference.

Berber Wedding

It's been awhile I know. The weekend of September 19th I went to a fellow stage mate's berber wedding. I have been to Arabic weddings but not yet a Berber one. One of my friends just married a Moroccan. It was so much fun. She wore this elaborate Berber headdress and had her face and hair covered, the only parts of her body showing were her hands and feet. The headdress was a large triangular red fabric with red and yellow scarves hanging down her back from it and a black sheer veil over her face. The first night she had her hands and feet hennaed as well as any guests who wished for a bit of henna design on their hands. The next day was her wedding in which we started with a lunch, some dancing and then had the bridal train were we all piled into cars, trucks and transits honking and uulating our way around her village before settling down for an early dinner and lots of haydeues. Haydeuse is a berber dance in which there are 2 lines of people who do the same movements while rotating in a circle to berber drumming and singing.

It was such an amazing experience and made better by having had lived in Morocco for the past 2 years and the bride being a friend I knew. It felt so normal.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ramadan and After

I know everyone is probably wondering what I have been up to lately as my last update was a month ago. To be honest, not very much. Ramadan was a lazy month in the fact that no one was doing much work, or more specifically, my women were not currently meeting to work. The month of Ramadan is a very holy month for Muslims and as such, my women met twice a week to chant verses out of the Koran, retell religious stories and to pray. I went the first Monday I returned. It’s always interesting to experience a different religion and culture. I was also able to understand more of what was being said this year, though the Koran chanting still simply sounds like beautifully sung cadences to me. I did not completely fast during the month of Ramadan and only broke fast with Moroccan families a handful of times this year. My system couldn’t handle a complete fast and much of the time my ear ached enough that I preferred to stay in majority of the time. I did have a meal with the host family with the traditional figs, dates, pastries, harira (soup), milk, and eggs. Then a couple weeks later I broke fast with my friend Layla and her family in Errachidia with many of the same items with slight variations. Her mom always makes the best meals. I was supposed to go again but things came up and I was unable to.

It was a long month between the fasting, no work, and lingering summer heat. I worked on several personal projects and read many books. As well as much research on post Peace Corps plans and travel. I have finished booking my hostels and flights for Prague, Vienna and Barcelona. Very excited. Only 2 more months! I also plan to apply for a few Teaching Fellows programs when I return. I would really like to become a teacher and there are several really good alternative teaching licensure programs that sound perfect. I am still researching as to what I would like to teach and what I would be qualified to teach.

Friday was the end of Ramadan! I saw my neighbors briefly, was really nice. Saturday I went to town hoping to purchase a medicine for my ear, but I forgot the pharmacies would be closed for the holiday. I tried a week of ear drops and one antibiotic with only a little luck at slightly decreasing the inner ear pain, so I will be trying a stronger antibiotic this round. I was able to purchase it yesterday when I went to town, hope this one works!

Saw a few volunteers while I was in town, was nice. Visited my counter part and friend today. The coop isn’t meeting yet as there are still many people still visiting and out of the village. Ramadan only finished a week ago. I expect things will pick up again in a couple weeks. So I’ll probably have things to do after I go to Rabat at the end of the month for COS meds and conference.

Saturday a friend of mine and stage mate will be getting married! Hard to believe our 2 years are nearly up. Only 2 more months now. I will miss Morocco and many people here, but I am also ready to come back to America. It’s been the experience of a life time. I have a busy month ahead of me. Friend’s wedding, then the following week my birthday, then I’ll be traveling to Rabat for COS meds and conference. For my birthday I hope to visit my first host family. October seems fairly free at the moment, but I know it won’t be. I still hope to hike the Todra Gorge and visit as many friends as I can before I leave and get many things done in my site. Once November hits work will stop and I’ll just tie up a few final loose ends before taking my vacation back!

We’ve had several storms roll through, rainy season here in the desert. So the temperature has been slowly dropping, but not quite enough yet, still 86 in the house. Soon I won’t need to use my fan anymore, humdullah! Only 2 seasons here, Summer and Winter with a month or 2 of rainy season thrown in here and there, generally in between seasonal changes.

For those of you reading this back in America, I’ll be back in Iowa in about 3 months, :).