Friday, March 5, 2010

Much Ado About Nothing

Geez, does anything go as planned? I need to remember to modify expectations, as the best layed plans are likely to change at the last minute.

When I went thru Sefrou on Monday on my way home from Fes, I stopped to see the mundub to get my vacation form signed. He tells me he’s coming to REK on Tuesday, presumably to get the women ready for the Minister’s visit-yes, the Minister for the Ministry of Tourism and Traditional Handicrafts for all of Morocco. A VERY big deal. Oh, and also I’m to tell the women that Amina’s doing the Natural Dye Workshop on Thursday. I see Amina and she tells me to tell the women the same thing. No, how about YOU tell them what you’re doing, since I’m not involved and know none of the details. Can’t, she has no money on her phone. Fine, use mine. She talks w/Zahra and I figure it’s fine.

So I get to the Coop on Tuesday morning-the women from Dar El Hamra have been in town since 7am to show the mundub their work and get his input on their baskets, but the mundub now isn’t coming ‘til Wednesday. Women from Dar El Hamra turn around and go back home. Zahra and Fatima want to know about the Natural Dye Workshop. Is this a Peace Corps project? Huh? No, not my project or idea-you need to ask Amina and the mundub. But you called us from Sefrou about it. No, Amina used my phone, but that’s not my project. They’re confused. That’s ok, me too-I figured this was something they had planned and Amina was just finalizing the details. Nope. This was the first they heard about it, and not something that can be whipped together at the last minute, and especially when they’re getting ready for the Minister’s visit the following day. Fine-talk w/the mundub-nothing I’m pushing to happen-you know, message vs messenger.

So Wednesday rolls around and fortunately the mundub comes before I have to leave to meet Khalid in El Menzel. They decide to postpone Amina’s Workshop (no kidding) and I get him to sign my grant request form for Marche Maroc Rabat. I also see that they’re setting up the 2nd vertical loom w/a unique warp. What’s this gonna be? A Hasir. Cool. Hasir are woven reed mats that serve as a mattress and the reeds used are indigenous to the region. (Originally was told it’s unique to REK, but later told it can be found in the whole of the Middle Atlas Region). Who is going to do it? Oh, another woman I’ve never seen-no doubt a Coop member who works at home, yak? Anyway, it’s getting set up right before the Minister’s visit. No doubt just a coincidence (vs getting one made when they had an order from a friend in Fes). Regardless, it’s pretty cool.

Head off to meet Khalid and work on translating the Leadership Workshop-terminology US business people are very familiar with, but takes us 1 hour to translate the concepts and terminology of 1 ppt slide. Cynthia (PCV from Khoukhate) calls during the meeting-she’s done w/business in Fes and is it still ok to come visit REK? Absolutely-merhaba.

Head home in time for 2nd meeting of the new Women’s Assn in REK in Meriem’s office. Great group of women-with Meriem, Amina and Fatima, not to mention the women I’m meeting for the first time, they’ll get things done. This is a meeting to discuss just what those things will be at first. Mostly they’re working to agree on making pastries and shbekya in the summer. OK, gotta start somewhere. Now this is the group that Meriem had said would be interested in taking on the Women in Technology project. Clearly their initial goals are not so ambitious. I bring up the WIT opportunity to get their thoughts. First time they’ve heard of it. Great. And it doesn’t sound like they’re keen on finding out more about it. Guess I need to check w/Fatima to see if she has a group to take this on instead and get back to Widad.

Thursday morning Cynthia and I go down to the Coop to find that all the trees have been trimmed, the Coop building has been given a fresh coat of whitewash and the building of the new showroom next door is in full gear. Tent is being delivered that afternoon to set up for lunch on Friday w/the Minister and all the town VIPs.

Now, I’m going on 4 days w/o internet connection at home. I’m convincing myself it’s a conspiracy brought on by my complaints to the Sefrou Maroc Telecom office-later refuted when I find that Pete’s wifi isn’t working and even the cyber is having trouble. Good thing we went to the cyber, as on my way out, I run into Fatima and Zahra, where they tell me that the Minister isn’t coming until next week. Tfoo! All that work and prep. Oh, and the 2 of them are supposed to go to Marrakech next week for training that had been rescheduled from last year. Now they have to be in REK for the Minister’s visit.

So now our plans are open for today (Friday) and we decide to meet up in Fes w/Jonathan and Steven to go to the Moulay Yacoub hot springs. I, of course, go along for the ride, but pass on the hot springs-not a hamam girl, much less in sulfurous waters. People don’t come so much for the hamam, but for the therapeutic properties that presumably is contained in the waters. I’ll hold down the fort w/the valuables. OK, so I wrote this as they were down in the springs and now that they’re back, I’m so glad I passed on it. Cynthia says it was gross-could see skin floating in the water. Yuck.

Now we’re ready for the weekend of International Women’s Day events in Fes. Told Jess I’ll help w/anything she needs. Diva Dinner tomorrow night promises to be a blast and will be at the ALIF riad Sunday to officially launch the Women4Morocco website.

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