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3/23/09 The Peach Juice Incident

Scenes like this one take place every day, on public transportation across Morocco:

Several people are sitting in close quarters. The awkward conversation and slightly-more-formal greetings indicate that this is a crowd of strangers. One of the group reaches into his travel case and pulls out a liter container of peach juice. He offers it to one of his neighbors, who accepts it without hesitation. The neighbor unscrews the lid and finds the small plasticine seal. This juice carton has never been opened. He tears off the seal and drops it. He takes a few satisfying pulls, then hands it to another traveler. This one takes a drink and passes it on.

By the time the carton of peach juice gets back to its owner, it's at least half gone, and now covered in the germs of half a dozen strangers.

Which doesn't faze him the least bit.

He raises it to his lips and takes a long pull, nearly draining it. Then he rescrews the cap, saving the tiny remainder for the next time he - or someone else - gets thirsty.

This particular scene took place a few weeks ago, and was witnessed by our CD while he was traveling to visit us. It's remarkable because it's so very unremarkable here. Food is meant to be shared. Hospitality - even (perhaps especially) with strangers - outweighs self-satisfaction. And germophobia doesn't exist.

This incident sounds odd, even unlikely, to American audiences, but it's just a perfectly routine event here in l-Maghrb.

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