OK, so it’s an adopted home, nevertheless it’s my home for the time being. It’s Saturday late afternoon and I’ve worked with the coop for several hours, got my shufu (water heater) working again, done Pilates and had a HOT shower, it’s drizzling out, I’ve got lentils on the stove. Doesn’t that sound like a cozy Saturday? That’s exactly what it feels like. Hamdullah.
Finally got the sink working-thanks to Nate-showed me that the pipe underneath the sink was installed backwards-just needed cleaning out and re-installation and I’m back in business. For thanks, I shared my first home-cooked meal with him last night and he got a hot shower. I believe in supporting “fair trade” initiatives, and this qualifies, yak?
I’m also feeling more at home in REK and Morocco. Getting used to the transportation between towns (more in a minute on that) and people seem to engage more readily with me-maybe they’re figuring out that I’m not just visiting, but staying. I continue to be impressed w/how helpful people are-my landlord (who my host dad doesn’t trust) showed up right after Nate figured out the sink problem, the hardware store sent a guy to fix the shufu (after I figured it out), tried to buy some plain white paper from a hanut guy I like-didn’t have it, but one of his buddies (they tend to just hang around talking) took me across the street and gave me ½ a pkg of printer paper-and wouldn’t take a DH for it. The hardware guys understand my Darija/charades and I’m able to make purchases for things like measuring tape, extension cord, silicone sealant, etc. The Dar Chebab director calls me to let me know class was cancelled for Thursday. Nice.
I do have to share a couple small “successes” this week-and of course they’re language related! First I’m coming back from Fes on Wed. thru Sefrou and El Menzel since I have a tutoring session in El Menzel at 12:30. Get on the transit in Sefrou. Pay my 9DH. Some commotion outside the transit-guy comes in to move us to another transit, and gives me back 5DH. I don’t know why, but OK. Sit until transit fills, about 20 min. Guy comes back in to collect fares and wants 9DH. I know that I only owe 5DH. Manage, even w/about 4 guys trying to explain to me that I owe 9DH, to hold my ground in Darija, telling them I DO understand, but I only owe 5DH. I only ended up paying my 5DH to the delight of the other riders who then pat me on the back. Then Wednesday I take the electric bill that showed up under my door to my landlord-although it’s in French and Arabic, looks to me like it’s for Oct-Dec., and I didn’t take over rent until Jan 1. Talk w/landlord. He insists that Oct-Dec was prior bill, and the Feb date is for charges until Feb. Don’t get it-but you do have to pay phone in advance, so maybe so. Figure I’ll go ask at the electric company office. Sure enough, the bill is for Nov-Dec. Not mine. Go back and give bill to my landlord. He says it’s mushi mushkil, sgira (no problem, it’s small), and I tell him I agree-it’s not a problem and it is small and it ISN’T mine! It was only 17DH-would have been easier to just pay it, but I’ve got 2 years w/this landlord and don’t want him taking advantage cuz he thinks he can. Life is a series of small experiences like this over here. Some are successes, but certainly not all. Fortunately the balance has been positive, and combined with the welcome I feel from the people in town, it’s a good thing!
OK, so I figured somewhere along the line I should talk about the work I’m doing with the coop. We’ve identified several priorities based on their needs. They do not have any materials for marketing to use w/customer when they come to visit the coop (the predominant way they currently make their sales). We’re first going to work on a “logo” for them to use with all their materials and products. One of my artist/women friends from Fes/Sefrou has agreed to come over to help with this effort, which will include some pre-work by the coop women and I’ve got approval to do a workshop at their February annual meeting, where they’ll develop their final logo. The Dar Chebab also has 16 computers that have access to Microsoft Publisher, so I’ve also scheduled w/the President and VP to start teaching them on Thursday nights on the software. This way they can develop business cards, brochures, etc., all of which they need. Again, may be easier to just do these things myself, but the whole idea is sustainability-they need to know how to do this for themselves. I’m also waiting to hear from the website developer for the Azrou Region Artisanal site regarding the content he needs for the Ribat El Kheir page. This is likely to include background on the coop members, and some photos. Target date for the website is the beginning of March, so February will be busy.
I can't finish off this post w/o a mention of my dear Aunt Geri, who it appears is losing her battle w/pancreatic cancer. She's been like a mother to me-an incredible woman who has the biggest heart in the world, and it breaks my heart to know that she's suffering. I keep her, Uncle Bob, Polly, Tracy, Scott and Hannah in my thoughts and prayers daily. God bless them for what they are going thru together. Home is where your heart is, and mine is with them.