Sunday, August 9, 2009


Disappointed and disgusted. Have stayed longer at Ain Leuh camp to help out, but am going home tomorrow.

OK, when we were given the “hands off” request for camp, we decided to make our own camp, complete with blackberry picking (leading to syrup on our French toast each morning and fresh blackberry pie-did I mention that we’re eating very well here?), game nights, draw-offs (several artisans in the group). Having a good time with this group of 6 PCVs, working in the morning, doing our own thing the rest of the day.

Thennnnnnn…..seems that the camp “leaders” want our help. No-they want us to take full responsibility for the mural. The camp “leaders”-I use the term very loosely- maybe show up during the morning-that’s all. Waxa. But they initially tell us they want 3 murals, but they don’t have money for more paint. But that leads to another topic which I need to address here.

Rrshwa. Corruption. Alive and kicking here. Discouraging, disappointing, pervasive, no sign of it going away.

The PCV here did the right thing, great idea, passed along info on a grant available from a French organization for environment projects involving youth in Morocco. An Association here submitted a request and got 70,000DH for a 10 day environment camp and 3 field trips thru the year for 60 campers (40 are attending). Sounds great, right?

As we’ve roughly figured it, looks like the Assoc. Pres. and at least one other guy (one of the leaders) will be pocketing tens of thousands of DH when it's all done. Of the monies allocated to painting murals, less than ½ has been spent. The guy in charge of the kitchen wasn’t allowed to spend money on vegetables for the couscous yesterday and dinner is (cheap) harira soup and bread. The first field trip is walking up to a pool above town (at no cost). The Assn Pres. has instructed that all purchases are to be made at his hanut, or a friend’s hanut, where they will keep an accounting and he’ll pay them later. Absolutely no check and balance or accountability. He’s holding all the monies and nothing’s going out to support the camp or campers. We’ve even talked to a couple of the guys who are involved with the camp-not the main leaders, but peripherally involved, and they acknowledge what is going on, but say they can’t do anything to change it-it involves their friends or relatives. But isn’t that always gonna be the case, so who is going to step up and hold others accountable to what they’ve promised? This is not the type of sustainable behavior we’re trying to encourage. Now we’re being told that “they’ve accomplished the camp objectives”-5 days early, aren’t they efficient (despite no programming), that they’ll probably shut down the camp and return any unused money. Right. We’ve been watching and are not that stupid.

Then there’s the Environment part of the camp. Or not. There is no programming except the mural (which they have completely abdicated all responsibility to us), and some park clean up from 9-11 each day and one astronomy workshop that a PCV ran. After lunch, the “campers” have free time until dinner, which is about 10pm. Yes, that’s 2pm-10pm w/nothing planned. No environment programs or workshops or activities. The PCV here shared ideas for workshops well beforehand, but no supplies were purchased and no plans decided on. There are no counselors and the campers (ages 14-20, girls and boys) sleep unsupervised in a dorm each night. No surprise that drugs, broken window, fights and inappropriate interactions have occurred. Somehow the parents seem to be fine with this arrangement. Go figure.

So after 4 days of working on the mural and helping with park clean up, we’ve told them that we’re done when we complete the mural. Don’t want any responsibility for trouble from their lack of planning, programming or supervision of the campers. While there are 6 PCVs helping, this is not a Peace Corps program and don't want them dragged into any issues that may occur from irresponsibility on their part. Safi. We’re done. We’ve had a number of the campers work really well w/the painting and the mural does look great, but we’ve also seen where they’ve graffitied with the scarce paint, been in our faces, been disrespectful, and there are no consequences.

Then the PCV here, who is still trying to help the campers do something in their long afternoon free time, talks w/one of the “leaders” about this and don’t they need to plan something to keep the campers occupied and out of trouble? He agrees and then has the audacity to tell her that it’s her fault for “bailing out on the workshops”. How dare he suggest that she’s responsible for no programs. It’s amazing to me the lack of responsibility they are taking, while pocketing the vast majority of funds, and trying to deflect anything and everything elsewhere. Yes, I know corruption happens in Morocco. Been told so by Moroccans. While it may not come as a surprise, it is still incredibly disappointing.

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