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November 4, 2008 Election Day!

IST continues… The sessions are great, as are the social interactions with fellow PCVs, but all the excitement right now is focused on the election. I’m very grateful to be in a group of Americans right now…I’d still be following the results avidly, wherever I happened to be, but being in a building with sixty or so PCVs (counting the RPCV Peace Corps staffers), in a room with 29 other Americans who have committed at least two years of their lives in the service of their country and world peace…

I know that the election night parties in America must be pretty amazing, but there’s nowhere I’d rather be.

Sessions ended about six hours ago. I probably should have taken a nap, but instead I went out to eat American food (one of the perks of being in a real city for IST, as opposed to a little rural town like SouqTown), did a little shopping (got a pie pan, a mixing bowl, and Qtips, all at bargain prices), and then came back to the hotel, where I settled down for a long winter’s listening-to-CNN-coverage night.

I spent the past few hours working on grant proposals for some projects I want to do in Berberville. (Several of the sessions have dealt directly with how to do just that – IST is nothing if not responsive to our needs!)

I might not have been quite so diligent if my wireless were working…the hotel offers wireless internet (ah, Moroccan hotels of the 21st century – still no bathrooms in the rooms, but wireless internet is here!), but my little internal antenna isn’t doing anything useful. Ah, well. I have one grant proposal nearly finished and another about half done.

The hotel owner has gone all out for us…there’s a huge flatscreen TV on the wall, two big carafes of coffee (plus a mountain of sugar), ginormous bowls of popcorn… And we’ve gone all out, too. A couple volunteers drew up our own Election Map on flipchart paper, and we have crayons at the ready to color the states in red and blue. Some others commissioned an ice-cream cake that read “[Candidate] 2008”.

(While I won’t deny that most of us here feel strongly about our presidential choice – and most of us agree – I’m still trying to keep this blog apolitical.)

…and now it’s 11:22 PM, aka less than half an hour after the first polls closed in the Eastern states, and we’re riveted to CNN and their goofy holograms. :D

PS: Quote of the Day: “Honestly, I have fun at Moroccan Ahay Deuce weddings. All the dancing around…” [voice trails off in face of withering skepticism] “OK, yeah, there’s also the confusion, bewilderment, and general feeling of fear, but there’s definitely fun mixed in.”

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