Friday, May 29, 2009


The Busta (Post Office) aka; bank, Social Security, all things monetary in REK. Need to mail something to PC office in Rabat and pay my Maroc Telecom bill. Stand in line 45 minutes, only to find out that Maroc Telecom computers are down. Watch women give fingerprint as their ID to get their money since they don’t know how to write their names. Gotta watch out for the older folks who try to cut in line. You can spend a lifetime in the Moroccan Busta.

Productive meeting in Sefrou on Monday. Got good info to share w/the Coop about the approved budget to renovate the bldg next door for more space and a showroom. The Coop has to come up w/5000DH, the REK Commune (which owns the building) and the Ministry will pay for the rest-bldg renovation, tables, chairs, display shelving. Talked to Coop about applying to Aid To Artisans to cover their portion of the costs. Emailed ATA this am to get more info on their grant application process.

I also was able to meet w/Dr. Asma while in Sefrou. She’s the dynamite Chief of Gyn at the hospital there who spearheaded the cancer screening here in REK. Spoke with her about the women in REK (and a couple of others outside REK that I’m aware of thru other PCVs) who were diagnosed w/cancer at the screening and need treatment, but have no money to pay. Dr. Asma gave me the info we needed. There’s a “certificate of indigence” that you can apply for from the Regional gov’t. If the REK women have/can get this, Dr. Asma will see them again next month in Sefrou, and any further tx will be taken care of thru the public health system. Did a little more research yesterday on this. Seems that these “certificats of indigence” aren’t easily acquired, and people don’t know about them and how having one gets them access to free medical care. Also discovered that a broader public health initiative is finally getting started across Morocco as of last November, but is being rolled out one region at a time, so don’t know when it will be here in the Fes/Sefrou region. Inshallah the women will get the treatment that they need.

Finally heard from the American Company to confirm the Western Union advance payment to purchase supplies for their order from the Coop. We’ve got the PO and the women have started on the weaving. Took photos of the table runners on the looms and will send them along.

Just found out that an electronic interview I did a while ago showed up in Indianapolis Woman magazine-here’s the link: and click on the e-magazine link and go to page 61.

Our consolidation exercise came thru yesterday. 7am text message to go to our consolidation points. Gave brief thought to working out, showering and then catching a taxi, as I knew I’d get there before anyone else. Reminded myself that it was a test of the system to see how and how quickly we all get to the site. Pilates and shower time are not allocated to the travel time. No pilates, no shower yesterday. Did meet up w/about 30-40 other PCVs who also had Fes as a consolidation site.

I also got some business done while in Fes. Met up w/Jess to check out the American Language Center where she works. I’m working on an idea to put together a Craft Fair co-sponsored by the Artisana Ministry, Peace Corps and (inshallah) the American Center. The Ministry controls Coop access to display at Craft Fairs, they are last minute, not well advertised and often cancelled. The Coops spend their hard-earned money getting to the Fairs and are invariably disappointed in their sales. I thought (and so far have the “go ahead” from Peace Corps) that if we combined the credibility of the 3 organizations, invited the artisans we work with in the Region and take charge of publicizing it, we could have a much greater impact. Anyway, the American Center has fabulous garden space in both their main “campus” building along w/at their villa across the street. Putting the proposal together as we speak to try to get buy-in from the Director of the American Center.

I also made contact w/the woman who is writing a cookbook w/Cafe Clock in Fes. She’s interested in getting in touch w/the honey coop here in REK-Taeawniya Bouyblane-the same one that did the honey tasting last December in Cafe Clock. Met w/Coop President today-trying to get them together and shared with him photos of the other honey coops that displayed at the Casablanca Expo last month. Trying to encourage him to package their honey in jars smaller than 1 liter, ie; sampler sizes of several different honeys. Their product is unbelievably delicious, and they have 4-6 different flavors each year, based on season and vegetation. They currently sell out their inventory. Trying to get them to see that expanding their offerings could expand demand and help them employ more REK people in the process. We’ll see where it goes.

Meanwhile I’m typing like mad, as I expect the power to go out any second. Was out most of the day-presumably due to high winds. Now we’ve got a good spring mountain thunder and lightning storm going. Can’t imagine the power will last thru this, so will sign off and post tomorrow. Power still on but rizzo (phone connection) not working. B’slama.

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