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12/20/08 2nd Club Meeting (canceled)

Today was supposed to be the second meeting of the Future Leaders of Berberville Club. The group that several PCVs have partnered with teachers and community stakeholders to create in the school.

Our first meeting was a long time ago, but since the club meets on Saturdays (over our protests), it falls prey to the Flee-Berberville-Every-Holiday syndrome of so many of our teachers and students. As I’ve mentioned before, many schools have a vicious cycle: many students don’t come to school the day before or after a holiday, so many teachers go ahead and cancel class on one or both of those days, and then the students decide that the teacher-canceled days are part of the holiday, so then many don’t come the day before or after that, so then the teachers go ahead and cancel classes on those days, so then… You get it. One-day holidays routinely spin into an entire week of missed classes. And Morocco has a lot of one- and two-day holidays. We held our first planning meeting with the teachers in mid-October, to begin the club in early November. The first week in November was Green March, so the Saturdays before and after that were out. The middle two weeks of November were “Winter Break”, so three Saturdays in a row were zapped. And those 3 Saturdays overlapped with one of the previous two Saturdays. So that’s 4 in a row.

Then, November 29th, we had a club meeting. Lhumdullah!

And then came the 3id, for which the students had a week-long holiday, killing 2 potential Saturdays. We planned a meeting just with the teachers for the Sunday at the end of vacation – i.e., about 12 hours before they were supposed to be teaching Monday morning classes – and not a single one showed up, despite multiple reminders. Two were prevented by snow-closed roads, but the rest gave no excuse. We rescheduled that meeting for the following Friday – yesterday – and had 3 show up. We were summarily informed that, due to the imminent arrival of the king, the next day’s club would be supplanted by a School Clean-Up Day (at which we PCVs were welcome), and the following Saturday’s club would be supplanted by activities for the king. And then this morning, one of the teachers swung by Fatima’s house to let us know that we PCVs weren’t invited to the School Clean-Up Day after all. So in the 9 Saturdays from early November to early January, we’ve managed exactly 1 club meeting. And our next possibility – January 3 – is endangered by the presence of the Muslim New Year holiday on Monday and New Year’s Day on Thursday. What are the odds that the teachers and/or boarding students will show up for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday? Time will tell…

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