This afternoon, two other PCVs and I met with some of the teachers from the collège to discuss a club we’re trying to start. It will incorporate leadership skills, assertiveness training, health lessons, environment lessons, gender relations, and suchlike. We’d love to make it available to everyone, but for logistical reasons are limiting it to third-year students (the equivalent of 9th graders).
The club will be conducted in Darija, Moroccan Arabic, just as all school classes are. Since none of the PCVs in the area speak Darija, our plan is to meet with the teachers on the day before the club meeting, review the lesson plans, and then have them teach it while we play minor supportive roles. Inshallah, this means that the club will survive beyond our tenure here – the definition of “sustainable” development.
I was late to the meeting because I was leaving another teacher, from the mdrasa, who had invited me back to her house after school. She made me coffee and set up all the fixings for kaskrut (mid-afternoon teatime). As we nibbled and munched and sipped, she explained that she never has a full dinner; she eats a large lunch and then just has kaskrut. We were speaking in French – like most of the teachers in Berberville, she’s an Arab from a big city, not a Berber, so she doesn’t speak Tam, and I don’t speak Arabic, so our mutual language is French – and she said, “Quand j’ai cassé la crût, ça suffit.” Cassé la crût – broken the bread crust – and suddenly a lightbulb went on. Kaskrut, a word I learned early on during training, is just a bastardization/ derivation of this French expression. No *wonder* it was more commonly used by our Peace Corps staff – most of whom are city Arabs – than by Berber folks here in Berberville, where the French influence is negligible.
So after we broke bread, I headed over to a café to have tea and cookies with yet more teachers. Two happy meetings, lots of sugar – I call that a successful evening!