Well, it has seemed to have happened again. In the past few weeks so much has happened without me updating my blog that now it must all come out at once, in a montage of happenings. But oh well, I suppose its better than no blog at all.
The first thing that requires commentary would be my trip to Marrakesh and Essaoura. I made the trip in order to utilize the 4 day weekend that was provided by the prophet’s birthday, as well as venture to the large part of Morocco that I had not yet visited.
Making the ride there and back without vomiting once has got be one of my biggest accomplishments yet. It is about a 10 hour bus ride to Kesh from Tinejdad, with the last 6 hours of the ride consisting of amazingly steep, narrow roads that prevent you from thinking about anything besides not dying. Making it to Marrakesh, however, is well worth the journey. The city is enormous, and, like many cities in Morocco, contains areas with distinctly new and old foundations. I spent most of my limited time there in Jimelfna (sp?), which is the main center with plenty to see and do, such as eat and get a picture of you and a monkey (which I would not recommend-buying a monkey would probably not cost much more than the price that is charged for taking a picture of one).
From Kesh I went onward to Essaoura which is a beautiful beach town with a strong European feel to it. It was rewarding to make it to the camal covered beach after a stint in the camal covered desert. Although tourists can often be a nuisance, the abundance of them in both of these places was actually comforting- after living off the beaten path, its nice to get back once and a while.
Now for the biggest highlight of my service thus far: SPRING CAMP:
Shortly following my return from the 4 day weekend excursion, I went on yet another excursion, this time work related, to Meknes for spring camp. The spring camps that Peace Corps works with serve as language emersion camps, with pcv’s working there as camp counselors and English teachers. Meknes is a large, modern city located near Rabat. It is known for being the one time centre of the Moroccan sultanate, and for holding Morocco’s largest University. When I was offered the chance to spend a week there for camp, I of course jumped at the opportunity.
There were 8 pcv’s working the camp, along with 8 Moroccan staff members, and about 70 campers(the number was supposed to be higher, but dropped at the last minute). Each pcv was assigned an English class and a club to teach. I ended up teaching intermediate English and a theatre club, the latter of which was a brand new experience for me.
The class ended up mainly consisting of theatre activities that basically served to make the kids feel comfortable acting ridiculous. I’m not sure that comfort ever came into play, but I most certainly accomplished the ridiculous aspect(which was hilarious and nearly enough to make me pursue teaching theatre to kids as a profession). In one of the club classes we wrote a play which ended up being an “environmental comedy”, after we couldn’t decide on whether to do a play about the environment or a comedy.
The play was performed at the “spectacle”, which was a large performance done at the end of camp, carried out by paid dancers and Moroccan rappers(really bad). The performance lasted until about 12:30 am, upon which, finally, my theatre club was allowed to perform our masterpiece to a room of about 300 rowdy Moroccan youth. We had to use microphones with horrible feedback in order to be heard, which did nothing to aid in the understanding of the faulty English that the play was performed in. The environmental theme may not have understood, but it most certainly hilarious(at least for me and the other Americans present).
We were also lucky enough to go on a field trip to Voubilis(known as Oualili to Moroccan locals), which is site of the largest and best reserved Roman ruins in Morocco, declared a Unesco world heritage site about 10 years ago. It was originally established by Carthaginian traders in the 3rd century BC, and taken over by the Romans in 40 AD. Needless to say, it was an amazing place to visit, although the tour was made unlike others I have taken, with 70 rowdy kids singing Moroccan songs and banging on drums the entire time.
Camp was a great experience, and made me appreciate being a youth development volunteer even more. I had more laughs there with(and at) kids than I have had thus far in Morocco, and really do feel like I helped present a positive image of America in doing so. Until next time…