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5.14.2008

April 29 Long day. Ighzif wess

6:00 Wake up. Linger in bed, praying and thinking happy thoughts.
7:30 Get up and ready for the day.
8:00 Go into the main part of the house. For the second day in a row, breakfast was waiting for me. After breakfast, I helped Ima in the kitchen. She’s making ksuksu (couscous) from scratch.
9:30 Went with “Fatima” – the adopted name of my sitemate and fellow Peace Corps Volunteer – to the school and post office and to meet a couple teachers. All the teachers we met today speak English – most of them are English teachers – and that’s a real blessing, because like most teachers in these Berber villages, he doesn’t speak Berber. Darija, Classical Arabic, French, and English, but no Tamazight or Tashelheit. The poor students have to hear everything in a new language.
10:30 Met the gendarmes. Language became an issue again, because they also don’t speak Berber, and Fatima doesn’t speak any Darija or French. Fortunately, I remember high school French (I keep meaning to write a long thank you letter to Mme. Lyons and Mme. Chartres), so was able to communicate well enough to fill out the paperwork we needed. My rusty French was sometimes hard for them to follow, and I had trouble coming up with all the words I needed, but we could communicate, lhumdullah. Volunteers who have learned Tam (Berber) but don’t know any French or Arabic – like Fatima and most of the other PCVs I’ve met – have a really tough time. Or is the Peace Corps trying to subtly tell the Moroccan government that everyone should know some Berber?
11:45 We’d finished our errands, and I wasn’t expected home until 1pm, so I decided to walk up the mountain and look at my home from above. Either I’m at 10,000 feet* or I waay out of shape. Possibly both. The big resistant layer above town is very cool, though – it’s easy to see from anywhere in the town, because it makes a big shelf jutting out of the hillside (hence the name “resistant” – it resists eroding more than anything around it), and it’s got bazillions of brachiopod fossils in a sandstone, plus one trilobite and a really mysterious thing that looks like an octopus leg. For the non-geologists in the crowd, trust me when I say that’s odd and really cool. :)

* I’ve looked at Berberville on a couple of topo maps, and depending which map I look at, I’m living anywhere from 7500’ to 10,000’. There’s a difference.

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Think local. Act global. Learn more about the Peace Corps