Thursday, June 18, 2009

Restless in REK

It’s a still night-not too hot-but not a breath of air moving. Can’t sleep. Dogs I’ve never seen before barking, growling, rooting thru garbage in the lot next door (that’s where you “throw out” your trash). Is it a full moon? maybe it’s the camel down by the transits today-where the *** did he come from? Anyone report a missing camel? Note; we do not live in camel country. Must just be the still night air making us all restless. Last 2 nights we had impressive thunder, lightning and hard rain storms-like summer mountain squalls-maybe we need the same to release whatever’s built up in the air tonight.

Elections are over-Fatima from the Coop was elected to the Belladya Board-mbruk!

School’s out and the “bac” results are in. This is a very big deal all across Morocco. This determines where (and if) you go to University. Here’s how it works: You choose a subject track for your Lycee (High School) years. You can change in the 1st of the 3 yrs, but not afterward. These tracks include l-3ulum l-insinya (human sciences), l-3ulum jrbya (experimental sciences), l-3ulum riadya (mathematical sciences) or l-adab (literature). This will determine your University track as well, should you go on to higher education levels. At end of equiv. to Jr yr in High School (here it’s 2nd yr) you take tests in some subjects and the rest at the end of your 3rd year. Your scores at the end of all the testing places you in the “appropriate” University for your track. University education is free, but few can afford to take advantage of it, ie; forgo other income, helping around the home/farm, pay for housing, etc.

Speaking of incomes, reminds me of discussion I had w/my tutor on Monday. Really nice guy and a good tutor. No full time teaching available here for him, and when summer comes, he’s unemployed, as no one tutors, esp. after the "bac" tests. Talked about relationships-here and in America. As I’ve mentioned in prior blogs, although the guys get “choice” in the matter, if they don’t have income to support a wife and kids, there’s no way to get married. Love isn’t enough. Miskin.

So which comes first, language or confidence? Who cares. It’s been working for me this week. Somehow I’m having normal conversations in Darija everywhere I go-feels like I’ve made it over a hump. In the past, when I’ve had key business meetings, I’ve either brought a translator or written out what I want to say in advance. Today I was in Fes working on the Craft Fair-gathering information and getting quotes for the budget-from a hotel for space, printers for marketing materials, finding a rental place for tables/chairs/tents, the Delegate for the Fes Artisanat to get approval, all on the heels of meeting w/Sefrou Delegate yesterday to get his sign off. Solo. Darija. Still need to carve out time for studying, but diving into more complex conversation and holding my own for the time being. Hamdullah.

Lunch in Fes w/group of wonderful women that friend Jess pulled together. Gonna try to make this a routine gathering. Inshallah I’ll be able to join up in the future-great ideas, energy, support. Like this.

Had a few spare minutes b4 meeting for lunch to duck into a cyber and check out any news from home. Been keeping fingers crossed for Debbie, Phil and Philip and their househunting and pending offer on a new home. Ham du li lah-their offer was accepted. Am sooo excited for them. Wish I could be there to help them celebrate and move in.

So why can’t I sleep if I was so tired tonight? Maybe just the effort in getting everything done today. OK, so here’s what it takes to get Fes meetings done: Wait for transit to Sefrou or Fes beginning at 7:30. First to leave is taxi to Sefrou at 8:00 (a relatively quick wait). I take it (this is after checking out the status of transit vans vs taxis, Fes vs Sefrou). Walk across Sefrou from REK taxi to Fes taxi stand. Taxi to Fes. Petit taxi in Fes to Hotel Jnan Palace. Talk w/meeting planner and gen’l mgr to get space quotes for Craft Fair budgeting. Walk to Artisanat. Delegate not in until 3:00. Walk to printer. No color printing and not enough name badges. A bust. Walk to another printer. Get color printing done. Petit taxi across town to Hotel Batha near Bab Boujaloud. Try to decipher Jess’ map to guy who rents out stuff for meetings and parties. Finally remember seeing an antique store she references and find the rental shop. Get my quotes. Meet at Boujaloud. Walk deep into medina to Place Nazarine where we meet up w/Alice and follow her to their ryad/home for lunch. Have to take my leave b4 lunch complete to meet w/Delegate. Fatima leaves with me and leads me out of medina-opposite direction from which we came-to grab petit taxi to Artisanat. Meet w/Delegate, vice Delegate and President of Artisanat Assn. Give me clearance to move fwd with Craft Fair and will loan us some of the equipment to save costs. Petit taxi to Sefrou grand taxi stand and get lucky w/a taxi w/5 people just needing one more and we take off. Walk back across Sefrou from grand taxi stand to catch transit back to REK. Home in time to catch the druggery (that’s a hardware store, not a pharmacy!) open and buy some msmar (nails). The ponge (think thick foam pad that is Moroccan couch) wooden stands that I’m borrowing from my neighbors keep collapsing (yes, this is why they weren’t using them) and need to be nailed back together. Decide tonight’s the night. Boy did a cold shower feel great after all of that-with each step of the way accompanied by plenty of sweat. So now why can’t I sleep?

Will post this in the am. No rizzo (internet connection) right now. At least the dogs have moved on and it’s quiet.

PS-just now posting the following afternoon. Camel’s gone, hopefully not just misplaced. :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Watch out in case the camel returns. They spit! :o)