It’s been a good week here in Rabat. First time since June that all of us who went thru training together are in the same place. It’s always good to get together with other PCVs-we really understand and sympathize and appreciate what one another is going thru. However, those you’ve gone thru training with are also in the same place you are-they’re moving thru the waves of highs and lows at the same time, and we shared the first 3 months of intense training and integration-tight bonds are formed. Great to catch up with everyone.
They brought us together for Mid Service Medicals-we get full check ups once a year. Good news-medical and dental exams are done and got a clean bill of health, hamdullah.
We also had time with some folks who were sent out from Washington DC to get input on Morocco PC Medical Services-normal process after the death of a PCV. We learned a bit more about So-Youn’s situation-what they could share w/o breaching confidentiality-and had a chance to ask questions and provide feedback. I must say that there has not been a great deal of confidence in our PCMOs (Peace Corps Medical Officers) here, and this recent event has eroded it further. Mind you, it must be incredibly difficult to try to “treat” over 200 PCVs in remote towns across the country over the phone-I empathize with their challenge. However, I know a number of PCVs who have developed first-time conditions, where their symptoms are being treated, but the condition is allowed to persist w/o trying to get to the underlying disorder. Currently there is no recourse for the PCV if they feel they can’t get referral to a specialist or if the PCMO doesn’t agree w/a specialist and the condition persists. Changes must be made to restore any confidence, and we’re hopeful that they are coming.
Meanwhile, we’ve had a chance to play a bit while here in Rabat and indulge in some “fine” dining-fine being a relative term of course. We found a tapas bar that served mojitos. Wow. An Italian restaurant with cozy atmosphere, fabulous lasagna and red wine. And of course the German Institute restaurant and the American Club for good cheap beer. We were hosted for a delightful dinner of soups at the Ambassador’s house-very gracious of them, since they had 2 other engagements after we left at 8pm that night. We did a scavenger hunt and are going bowling tonight. Such a change from our day to day living in our small communities. Feel spoiled. It's also the first time we've seen any Christmas decorations-in a couple of stores, and found one box of candy canes in a hanut. Feels like a bit of “home” which everyone is missing as the holiday season is upon us. Most will be travelling home to the states for Christmas, Hamdullah.
Next it’s back to my site tomorrow for 5 days and then it’s off to the U.S. myself for Christmas with sisters Debbie and Sandy and families. Can’t wait!