Friday, November 13, 2009

My Heart is Full

Don’t let anyone tell you that Friday the 13th is unlucky. What a day it was.

I’m really invigorated and in love with REK right now. I have internet back at home, and the rizzo (connection) is faster than ever. New PCV arrived safe and delivered to his host family. 20 women from CWD came, met with the Coop and all the key leaders in REK and bought out the Coop products. We had beautifully sunny skies. Hm, what else? Oh yeah, new table for the kitchen and I get to Skype w/Debbie. Does it get better than that? I think not!

OK, so Friday is a day off for the Coop, but all the women show up at 8:30 this morning to get ready for the delegation of women from Center for Women and Democracy. We cleaned up the looms, the workroom, borrowed tables from the bashawiya to put all the products on display outside, set up a display table w/slide show of Taeawniya Adwal, business cards and brochures, put together a display of all their certificates and diplomas, etc. Well done ladies. Then we waited. And waited. When they ( the CWD women) finally arrived-in a full sized bus-I think everyone in town knew they were there.

The women of both CWD and Adwal were great. The CWD women gave Adwal their best sales day ever-and were truly taken by the work of the Coop women-it was SO great to see their work so appreciated. We did the obligatory group photos overlooking the zlul and made our way up to the Belladya for tea and cookies (yes, these precede the big meal in Morocco). There we had all the Ribat El Kheir leaders-men and women alike, join us. They were introduced, along with the Coop women, to our guests. Then the delegation leader, Lisa Brown, Washington State Senate Majority Leader, discussed a bit about the work of CWD and their members introduced themselves. This was followed by a Q&A session. Fortunately we had an interpreter throughout these sessions to facilitate understanding.

We then made our way up to Fatima’s house where we gorged ourselves on the traditional Friday couscous feast. Couscous w/meat, veggies and hummus, followed by chicken with olives, followed by fruit. Yum. The women of CWD had made arrangements to pay for the meal, and the Adwal women took care of hiring some women to help make it happen. We gave thanks to Fatima and her family for their generosity in opening their home to all of us.

We said our goodbyes to the CWD women reluctantly-I think everyone wanted to spend more time together. Many business cards and contact info was shared to keep in touch. Photos will be shared electronically. Hearts were touched. What a wonderful group of women. Oh, am I referring to the Center for Women in Democracy group or the Taeawniya Adwal group? Yes. To both. I was so proud to share REK with the CWD group and so happy for Adwal to have made these connections and sales. Can’t ask for more.

Oh, but wait, there’s more! On our way to Fatima’s for lunch, the Maroc Telecom guy drives by, stops me and asks if I’m going to be home. Uh, no, you see, I have this big group I’m taking over to Fatima’s for lunch. Mn bd, eyyitni mlli sala m xdma mxtalf (later, call me when you’re done with your other job). He calls during chicken. Do I stay or do I go? He wasn’t supposed to come until Monday, but I’ve been w/o internet for 2 weeks, and it’s been terrible since July. Travelled to Sefrou a week ago to ask them to fix it. If he leaves, who knows when he’ll return. I duck out of lunch, and 15 minutes later return-he’d fixed the cut line and I’m back in business. Didn’t miss anything at lunch. Hamdullah.

But wait-it gets even better! After all is done and the CWD women are on their bus and Fes-bound, I head home to drop my stuff and remember the table I ordered from the guys across the street. They’re waving at me as I approach-table’s all done. Pay them $3 extra and they carry it upstairs for me. I’ve just tripled my kitchen counter space (ok, there wasn’t much to start with, but this table is much nicer than I expected).

Oh, then Pete, the new PCV arrives from Rabat. Perfect, since I just saw Hassan, his host, going into a meeting of the JamEiea Siyaha (Tourism Assn)-told him I’d meet Pete and bring him to the meeting. Pete arrives, take him to Hassan-check.

Then to top it all off, Debbie and I get a chance to catch up on Skype in a few minutes-it’s been over a month since we had talked “live” and I can’t wait to catch up with her.

My heart is full.

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