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November 3, 2008 Training

I’m back with friends from training! Six months (well, five, but who’s counting) into our service, we’re gathered together for In-Service Training, cleverly referred to as IST. We’re having sessions on lots of useful topics, but I confess that I find the most valuable aspect is the quality time with so many good friends.

Only a few of these folks are anywhere near me…my nearest stage-mate is B*, from my CBT group, about 3 hours across the mountains; the next closest is 4.5 hours away down the mountains. So they’re not exactly close by. Well, it’s also because Berberville is one of the most isolated sites in the country. We’re not exactly in the middle of nowhere, but we are definitely in the middle of big, lonely mountains.

So getting to see them all – getting to re-establish and renew the connections built during our first three months in Morocco – is a real joy. The only thing that would make it better would be the presence of the five folks whose Peace Corps careers ended early. You guys are missed.

But still, being back with the other Volunteers is fantastic enough to more than make up for the fact that our training site is one of the coldest cities in the country…not quite as cold as Berberville, but awfully chilly. As M*, Peace Corps staff member and true-blue-lover of American idioms said, “It’s freaking cold!” (I have to say, hearing “freaking cold” come out of the mouth of a five-foot tall Berber lady is a genuine source of joy in my life.) I spent all last night shivering under three blankets, though I was warmly dressed: tank top, long underwear top, sweat pants. Tonight I’ll add long underwear bottoms and wool socks. And another blanket.

Quote of the day: “I’m not a chameleon-ologist, but…”
“Benhamin” telling us of his frustrating conversation with a Moroccan who didn’t believe his assurances that chameleons aren’t poisonous. The guy had coaxed a chameleon into a plastic bag, in hopes of killing it and eating it (or part of it) for medicinal purposes, but was terrified of it. “Benhamin” was trying to reassure him, but was vociferously argued down.

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