Thursday, May 13, 2010

Country of Contradictions and Comparisons

Nice to be back in my site and settle in for a week until the travel starts anew. Great to catch up w/everyone on what’s been going on here in REK while I was in Rabat…..

Found out that Adwal actually does own their workshop building-thought it was owned by the Belladya (urban commune, aka city)-but it turns out that it was signed over to Adwal. That makes a lot more sense since they’re building the natural dye space onto the back of the workshop. They’re using the grant monies they received from the King last fall to pay for the new space.

Turns out that while we were in Rabat we missed some Italian officials who came thru town. There’s also going to be a Parisian Senator coming to visit a week from Sunday-I’ll be out of town-Adwal will host some sort of reception for him/her. Nice exposure.

In addition, Fatima informed me today that a French organization may be willing to help pay for a car. Seems that they’re not too thrilled w/the ambulance they’ve already acquired. Perhaps it’s the 4 flat tires, and back of the van that needs work to remove the sink/shelves/guerney holds. See, this will take flus. Another free car doesn’t. For real? I’m afraid so….

So some of those contrasts and comparisons I was referring to…..

New vs old time. See, we’re now “officially” on daylight savings time, but each person seems to decide for themselves which time they’re adhering to. Oh, and if you have a meeting, be certain to ask if that’s new time or old time…although that still doesn’t mean anything will start ‘on time’.

On the nuql to El Menzel today w/woman carrying a single chicken in a mica (plastic bag) to sell at souk…and we pass by the buildings where the Zouia man raises 14,500 chickens to sell.

1 ½ years w/o fresh harsha or milowi (yummy bread-like traditional foods) for sale anywhere in REK…now there are 2 with a 3rd about to open.

Earth Day trees planted in the central garden….but trash still just dropped on the ground ‘cuz there are no trash bins.

New sidewalks the entire 1 km between the village and lagar….but the workers completely tore up the road, which now has to be re-done.

Woman wearing a headscarf to cover her hair that only her husband is to see….casually pulls out her breast to feed her infant in public.

Natural dye facility being built behind workshop….where there are 2 projects on the looms using synthetic day-glo colored yarn.

Public transport can take forever….but the ride gives me great observation time -I know it better than the views from the 405 which I’ve driven for years.

The desire for all things new-cybers, western clothing, TV on every house, portables (cell phones)….vs the interest in supporting traditions-natural dye space under construction, traditional stone olive oil press under construction, new hand-rolled couscous coop started.

And the realization (and excitement, I must admit) that as of today, I have exactly 6 months left in my Peace Corps service….while thinking on the ride back from El Menzel just how much I love this place.

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