I was reading an American Foreign Service newsletter all about former PCVs, and one in particular got my attention. Particularly in this former PCV - now Foreign Service consul’s - description of two types of idealism-as follows:
“First, there is the naïve sort of idealism, the kind that people often associate with Peace Corps Volunteers. This variety expects the best from people but needs the adulation of others to sustain itself, so it seldom lasts long. And when the world doesn’t change overnight, these idealists are disillusioned — as happened to many volunteers in my former host county. The second kind of idealism is more enduring because it understands human shortcomings and does not expect too much from people. It is hardened by real-life experiences and knows that partnerships take time to develop. This kind of idealism still dares to make the world a better place, but it has a longer horizon and is not expecting praise or even tangible results along the way. It sustains itself with nothing more than a belief in its mission and unshakeable perseverance. Now that I am a Foreign Service officer, I try to remember this distinction. No matter how hesitant our partners may be, no matter how slow progress may seem; this second, patient strain of idealism is the one worth guarding. Though the path may be long and winding, why else would we be serving our country abroad — if not to make a positive difference?”
I’m learning how to do things Morocco style. Ask your friends. That applies to buying things-ask for help in both finding and negotiating “fair” prices. Ask your PCV environ friend to help set up butane tanks for stovetop and oven-discover that there’s a splitter so I only need one tank for both appliances-and he not only installs for me, but goes and gets an adjustable regulator when the first one doesn’t work. For that he gets access to the internet at my place when he’s in town.
Yes, Internet. Went to Maroc Telecom in Sefrou and signed the contract for phone and internet. Next day (really!) they come and install. Leave me w/CD to load for internet access. Needs Windows 2000 or better (or so it says on the packaging for the modem). Doesn’t say it doesn’t work w/Windows Vista, so won’t work w/my laptop. So they say they’ll send a guy out at 9am on Tues. I give up (after calling and confirming several times) at 1pm. Guy shows up a 3pm. Since everyone knows everyone’s business here, he finds me in the cyber-I guess he asked people if there was a woman who doesn’t speak very good Arabic, and no French, who needs help w/her internet connection-and despite the fact that I’ve told no-one what’s happening, that doesn’t mean they don’t know! Anyway, I DO have internet-in my apartment-where I’m blogging from right now! Ham-du-li-lah!
So then there was the furniture in Sefrou. In Moroccan style, asked a friend if we could use his business’s truck. Nope. Host dad says he’ll ask a friend. Sold it. Asked the hardware hanut owner-becoming good friends with those guys-if he knew someone w/a truck to bring a bed over from Sefrou. Pulls out his cellphone, calls a guy and lines it up. Wake up to rain-geez, stuff will be soaked. Nope-driver shows up w/a panel van an HOUR early!!! In Morocco!! And I happen to go by early and we head out. 2 ½ hours later my stuff is in the apt. Wahoo!! So I pack up the rest of my stuff last night and moved in today. Another Ham-du-li-lah! I can’t even express how great it is to have my own place after 4 months of communal living. First time some of my stuff has been unpacked in 4 months. I’m savoring the moving-in-getting-all-set-up experience.