Monday, November 30, 2009


Shbet, ana 3mmra, makanakulsh walu, Lay axlf! It’s not even so much that I’m full (which I am), but I just can’t eat anything else. I’ve been eating for 4 days straight....

It started w/the pre-Leid rafisa on Friday night. Yum. Saturday dawns clear and sunny with sheep and goat bleating all over town as they’re dragged out of garages, storerooms, etc., to either the lot next door, the rooftop or on the sidewalk in front of the house. Everyone slays their sheep (or goat if you cannot afford a sheep). I have the good fortune of not being in home stay this year, so get to observe from a distance. I hear my downstairs neighbor’s sheep kicking on the roof above-please hurry up. From the balcony off my kitchen, I can watch 7 families slaughter, skin and disembowel their animals-5 on their rooftops and 2 in the street below. Blood literally runs down the gutter. Animal bodies hanging from trees, rooftops, fences. Then you smell the charcoal that’s been lit to start the grilling. As last year, they start with the liver and heart, wrapped in fat. I work it so I’ve missed this part-timing is tricky.

I’ve been invited to several homes, but will go back to Fatima’s-they’re my family here. But have to wish my neighbors “mbruk l’eid” , and that gets me dragged into their apt for lamb brochette (which follows the organs). Manage to eat just one, shrb some sweet mint tea, before Fatima calls me to find out where I am and I need to come now. More lamb brochette at her house. Manage to eat just one here as well, so at least I’m not consuming the compulsory 2/home. Burp. Then we, like you on Thanksgiving, sit around with the TV on, drowsy in our food coma. I manage a bit later to drag my butt back home-need a break, and Jess is due to arrive, but only with a promise to come back later. Waxa.

Jess and I return that evening, where more of Fatima’s family has arrived and there are more brochettes. And finally the sheep’s head. Fortunately not all of Fatima’s family indulges in l-ras, so Jess and I are able to politely decline eating it as well-more for those who pull up their chairs to dig in. Bismilla.

So yesterday comes along, and now it’s time to celebrate Thanksgiving, as I’ve invited a bunch of PCVs over. We end up with 7 of us, more than enough food (although we go with roasted chicken instead of turkey-and how would you cook a turkey in these little ovens anyway I ask you?) and desserts that fill the plate more than the dinner. Just for the record, I’ve cut off the torched top and bottom of the pumpkin cake-more like bread-but it’s been salvaged and tastes great. Burp. Shbet. Sleep.

Now I have to say I’m puzzled by all the invitations to come over for lunch today-Monday. Huh? I don’t remember anything special about the 2nd day after L’eid Kbir last year, but then again, all my perceptions were colored by what my host family did. This is still a vacation day. Most everything is closed. No souk. Transit here in town instead of at the lagar for souk, which helps the PCVs get transport home this morning. Interestingly enough the busta is open-I figured gov’t offices would still be shut. No school in session. We’ve also had a major storm roll in-very strong winds and rain all night long. Feels like winter just arrived. Feels like a day to bundle under a blanket and catch up on emails, etc., maybe watch a downloaded movie. How can I avoid the lunchtime invitations that undoubtedly involve more lamb consumption?

Short answer? I don’t. On my way back into my apt after everyone’s on transport, to clean up after all the guests, my neighbor catches me. Drat. You’re coming for l-gdda, yak? Inshallah. Waxa. Five minutes later she sends her daughter up to get me. Aji daba. Come now. Meet their family visiting from Rabat and Tangier. Sit down to eat. Again. Lamb. Three ways. Baked. Tagine. On couscous. Then fruit. I can not eat any thing else. We, once again in a food coma, watch TV-don’t understand the language but can follow the story line just fine. OMG-do I smell charcoal? Holy crap. They’re about to put brochettes on the grill. I make a hasty but effusive thank you and b’slama. No more meat. Please.

So now I’m cushy under the blanket, propped up by pillows, and hoping that my internet connection comes back on. Of course, I can’t post this ‘til it does, but I think the wind is wreaking havoc on the rizzo.

Just hope the PCVs got home safe and sound and can cozy up to a movie or book as well while we ride out the first big storm of winter.


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