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


1/31/09 Blackout

We lose power relatively frequently here in the bled. And when power goes down, we lose the cell tower, too. It has a generator, but it only holds out for an hour or two. Around here, folks use the word rizo - from the French reseau, network - to refer to the existence of cell phone coverage. Where an American would say, "I don't have a signal," a Moroccan - or an American in Morocco! - would say "I don't have rizo."

Today, power and rizo went out around 9am. Often, these blackouts last only a few minutes, so I kept the faith...for a while. By 10, I was resigned. By 11, I was worried.

I spent the day studying Arabic. I've started learning Modern Standard Arabic, known around here as foos-hah for reasons I don't understand. I thought it might be an acronym for Formal Standard Arabic - FSA - but no. It's its own word. I'd hoped to do my studying on the roof. My warm, sunny roof is an ideal place to do any work that doesn't require a plug (ie, stuff on the laptop) or butagas (ie, cooking)...but not today. There was an icy wind that overmatched the high-altitude sun I've come to love. So I was inside, next to my heater, sitting under my window. The panes are frosted, which blocks about half the light. I alternated between opening the window to enjoy the sunshine and closing the window to enjoy the warmth.

I took a few hours out in the middle of the day to finish up a book a friend had sent from America. I do love to read... And it's a great way to pass a chilly Saturday afternoon. :) I also made a batch of pancakes, and indulged in real American maple syrup. Mmmm.

Then I got back to studying. I've made flashcards (reusing waste cardstock from the mail - ecofriendly and handy!) and posted lists of words by category (adjectives, prepositions, pronouns, etc) on the walls. I'm having more fun than I'd anticipated; I keep forgetting how much I like learning. I'm that kid who went to school for the classes, not the classmates. Getting back into a formal language-study routing - as I haven't done with Tamazight in too long - feels good. :)

As the daylight dwindled, I began to wonder if I'd be going to bed with the sun. Candlelight is pretty, but not too useful... Lhumdullah, the power came on just before twilight. I turned my phone back on, and discovered that rizo was back, too. :D As much as I enjoy alone-time, I'm grateful to be reconnected to the world beyond Berberville.

No comments:

Post a Comment

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