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11/17 Ama's Worry

So last week (11/3, to be specific), when I was hundreds of kilometers away attending the In-Service Training of the new Environment Volunteers, I took a hard fall. From about 6 feet up. Landed with a head-to-toe faceplant. I had most of the symptoms of a concussion. And whiplash.

(See, there was this swingset, and, um, ... nevermind.)

This week, ever since my return, I've been quietly hanging out at home.

I know I *should* have gone to visit my host family, but I didn't.

After several days at home, when I happened to have a buddy over (Berberville is at the intersection of two paved roads, which means it's a stopover town for some), Ama came by, little baby Mbarak strapped to her back, to see What Was Going On.

She was upset.

Her feelings were hurt, I think. But she saw that I had company - both my sitemate and my buddy were in the house at that point - so she limited her lecture to a few angry sentences, wrapping up with, "You just didn't want to come over. Fine." I promised to come for lunch the next day - today - but she didn't seem mollified.

So today I went, played with my little siblings, helped serve lunch, and generally groveled. I also played up my injuries, to provide a face-saving explanation for why I hadn't hiked up to their house to see them.

Part of our conversation:

me: When I was in Marrakesh, I hurt myself. I fell and cracked my head.
Ama: I *knew* something was wrong.
me: Yeah; I fell off ... um ... [no idea how to say "swingset" in Tamazight]
Baba: A ladder?
me: Yeah, a ladder. I was about two meters up, and fell *splat* on the ground. Hurt my chin, my body, my knee...cracked my head. I had a - I don't know the word - in English, a "concussion". One eye was like this [fingers spread apart] and the other eye like this [close together].
Baba and Ama, to each other: She hurt herself; broke her head.
Bahallu [host grandpa]: Did you go to the hospital in Marrakesh?
me: No, there was a doctor there at the hotel, from Peace Corps. [I opted not to tell them that the Peace Corps doctor FAILED TO NOTICE MY MISMATCHED PUPILS and never diagnosed the concussion. That was done by an observant PCV buddy. Medical FAIL.]
Said: Yeah, one of my clients once fell off their bicycle and had eyes different sizes. But he was OK later.
me: And I'm OK now; but my head was killing me for a while. [Yes, Tam uses the same idiom as English for "hurt."]
[Later, in the kitchen]
Ama: I just *knew* something had happened to you. I woke up in the middle of the night and knew in my liver [we'd say "in my heart" or "in my soul" or even "in my gut" - here they say "in my liver"] that something bad had happened to you. So I went to Fatima [my PCV sitemate], but she said that nothing was wrong.
me: Yeah, I hadn't called her. I didn't want her to worry.
Ama: That's what I thought. I *knew* something was wrong. She said, no, Kauthar is fine, but I just knew.
me: You know me. :)
Ama: Yes, because you used to come by all the time, but then suddenly you didn't come at all.
Ama: When you talk to your parents, don't tell them. You're fine now, and there's no need to make them worry.
me: I won't. I haven't - just like I didn't tell Fatima. I don't like making people worry.
Ama: That's good. They'll see you in six months; that's soon enough. They don't need to worry about you in the meantime. [pause] But I was so worried...I just knew something terrible had happened.
me: But, really, I'm OK now, thanks be to God.
Ama: Thanks be to God.

Even after a day like yesterday, there are things to be grateful for.

Which is why Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It's about family, and loved ones, and gratitude. Because we all have so much to be grateful for, and it helps to remember it...especially in hard times.

I may not have central heating or running water and my sitemate is gone and my friend died and I'm still getting headaches, two weeks after my concussion - but I love my host family and they love me, and I love my Peace Corps family of Volunteers, and I love you guys. Surrounded by that much love, I can't help but be grateful.


PS: Because I think she's right, I typed up this story a month ago, when it happened, and am only posting it now, and messing with the posting date to bury it in my archives. This post will probably never be read, and I'm OK with that. I just wanted to record for posterity what a sweet host mom I have. :D

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