Yes, the first cherry sighting was made yesterday in the Sefrou medina. Sefrou, for the uninitiated, is the Cherry Capital of Morocco, home of the annual Cherry Festival. It will be the weekend of June 18-19 this year, so unfortunately I will miss it, as that overlaps w/Kristen and my trip to Paris.
Friend Jess, through her SefFest Assoc. has secured funding and approval to hang 40 banners of Sefrouian artists’ work around town. Site-mate Pete and other YD PCVs will be holding an English Olympiad at the Sefrou Dar Chebab that weekend, and it’s rumored (my guess with a lot of “inchallahs”) that the King himself might come. Full speed ahead, floats are being prepared, streets are in final repair, the Cherry Queen will be crowned. How unfortunate to miss all these festivities, yak? And last year, since the Festival timing overlapped w/the elections, they did not hold the event. So here I am, 2 years in the Sefrou region, and no Cherry Festival for me. That’s the pits! :)
Anyway, it’s been a fairly quiet week. It took me 2 full days after returning from Rabat to catch up on my sleep and energy. I hate this growing older stuff! Perhaps it was also the freezing, rainy weather that put a damper on my spirits. Come Friday night, the mountains even got snow. Fortunately the weather turned for the better on Saturday, with crystal clear skies and the return of our beautiful view.
Had a chance to sit with Khalid, my tutor, a couple of times, to help him prepare for a job interview he had on Friday. Haven’t talked w/him to see what he thought, but the guy he interviewed with called me (a friend of mine in Fes) and said he was going to offer him a job. I hope it works out-Khalid’s a great guy. Besides, I told him he had to have a job before I left so that he and his fiance could get married-that’s one wedding I’d look forward to attending.
David, Peace Corps Country Director, arrived in REK on Saturday. We had a chance to go and see the Adwal women and their building projects, then take a nice walk behind the vacant military property to see the view of the mountains from the bluff-never get tired of that view! I had invited Pete and the 2 Environment PCVs-Chris and Casey-to join us for dinner and to have some time w/David. He also had a chance to meet the Dar Chebab mudir and see Pete start his Enlgish Olympiad test to select the 5 who will travel to Sefrou from REK for the finals.
Then yesterday I made a long-overdue trip to Sefrou to see Jess. Seems like ages since I’d been there. For the longest time, whenever I travelled out of Fes, I took the train. This typically meant that I’d return via Fes, too late for taxi direct to REK, and would have to go thru Sefrou to get home. Often this meant stopping and staying at Jess’s place. In addition, up until we got 2 banks here in REK about 6 months ago, if I needed any cash, I had to go to Sefrou to get it (and in this cash-only society, that could happen frequently). Anyway, Jess and another friend of hers from Fes, Nancy, and I met up and had a chill evening up on her rooftop watching the sunset and catching up. Very therapeutic.
I made it over to the Artisana this morning to update my Delegate on my work and action plan for the next 3 months-and give him a summary of the Marche Maroc craft fairs and next steps. Made a couple of key stops on the way to the transit stand-I’ve been out of spiced coffee for the longest time, found some dried louisa (lemon verbena) for tea, gin at the “candy store”, and I was back on my way home by noon.
Now I’m making certain I’ve got all the info I need for some workshops-Costing and Pricing w/the Adwal women tomorrow, and a ½ day workshop on Marketing with the Figuig artisan association when I’m there the beginning of next week. Off to Ifrane and Fes on Wednesday for business, then Randy and I will start the 2 day trek to Figuig. Glad I don’t have to do it alone-talk about a long journey!