Saturday, July 31, 2010


Coop lesson the other day-symmetry. Customers like it. Work it into your designs to improve quality. They get it. Showed me today 2 pillow covers that they got right. Also showed me where Malika screwed up-right? Yak.

Sit and watch Fatima weaving. The warp is so tight, it’s as though she’s playing a harp as she sings to herself and counts the threads to weave in her design from memory. When I sit and watch the women weaving like this, I’m always impressed by their talent, artistry, and frustrated by the lack of appreciation they get for their work. I just wish it was easier to get their story told, understood, appreciated, sold.

I ran into my old tutor at the cafĂ©-he’s back for summer holiday from deep in the Sahara where he got a teaching job this last year. He’s a really good guy-smart, industrious, studied in Canada-and until he got the position to teach sciences in public school, had been hustling up tutoring jobs here in REK. He says he likes his work, the people, but it takes him 26 hours to travel to REK, so can only come back for summer and Leid Kbir. He looks happy, so I’m glad it’s worked out for him.

Having computer/internet issues-went to the cyber to get online to send a couple messages and they told me the whole region was not working. Finally came on late in the day Thursday for a bit. Off all day yesterday, and with it being a holiday, no hope for it to be fixed. Meanwhile, my computer battery seems to be taking a charge, but won’t boot up my computer, so the charge doesn’t do any good. For some reason, I have a spare battery-can’t remember why, but hooked it up and it’s charging. Inshallah it will work so I’m not dependent upon a power source to use my laptop from here on. Good news is that the rizzo is back on this afternoon. I know, I shouldn’t complain. I do have internet in my apt after all. However, it also costs me 20% of my monthly allowance, so if I pay that much for it, I want it to work.

Took a good walk right before dusk Thurs. night-finally cooled off enough to do so, and I really needed to get some exercise. Hard to work out when it’s over 100, but need to do something or I just feel so sluggish. Lots of people are out when the evenings cool off, so had plenty of company all along the way.

And while walking, I passed the time thinking of all the things I want to do when I get back to the US (ok, so I’m starting to focus a bit too much on my return….). Anyway, here’s the early list:

Go to: Plays, concerts, museums-anything cultural; sporting events; a movie theater-bucket of popcorn, big drink, the works; the beach-walk from my house along the strand down to Main Street for breakfast; places w/air conditioning when it’s blazing hot; see family and friends…

Do: Pilates-boy I miss it-the exercise and the group; 24 hour fitness-the routine is so good for me; entertain in my own home; girls’ weekends; drive myself anywhere; laundry in a washing machine; lay on the couch and watch TV; pick up the phone and talk to anyone I want for as long as I want; spend time w/family and friends

Eat: Mexican food w/a margarita-on the rocks-no salt; ice Cream; fish-no way I’m buying and cooking the fish they sell here at souk-we’re too landlocked to trust its freshness; broccoli-they just don’t have it here; fresh mushrooms-the canned stuff just doesn’t cut it; salads; Fuji apples; Honey Nut Cheerios; anything grilled-oh how I miss my Weber grill; whole grain bread; cook what I want vs. what’s available today.

OK, need to get off that topic-doesn’t help when I’m incredibly bored, hot, ready to go home. Need to stay focused-not that much longer-I can do it-just make up shit to keep myself busy. On top of that, it’s a holiday today (wrote this yesterday)-Throne Day-whatever that is-and everyone’s with families. I chose to stick around my place today-just not feeling like visiting. Besides, whenever I eat at someone else’s house, I end up w/the runs. Even if Pepto Bismol is one of man’s greatest inventions, I really don’t want to make it thru the 60 pack that I just picked up from PC Medical.

Instead I got motivated to clear thru some junk that’s been collecting in my spare room. Note to self. NEVER have an entire extra room to stash junk. Anyway, sorting thru what I’ve got to ship eventually, what I’ve also got to give as gifts to folks here. Just getting a handle on it as I couldn’t remember all that I had bought. Also my awakening sending Sandy’s gift-the cost and hassle-will be much greater w/basically a small suitcase and a box of books. Need to drag it all to the busta and check what the damages will be. Oops, back on the ‘wanna go home’ kick. Sorry. Focus.

At least I’ve got a trip to the beach next week to look forward to. Our vacation moratorium begins Aug 12, same time that Ramadan starts. We can’t use vacation days the last 3 months of service, so a bunch of us are meeting in Ras El Ma on the Mediterranean for 4 days to chill out and spend those last few vacation days. Also, it will be a good break before the dullness of Ramadan.

Ramadan will be approx. Aug 12-Sept 12. It’s based on the new moon. Everything changes-business hours, whether people are working or not, and that varies day to day, no cafes open during the day (duh-no one drinking anything), no one has energy during the day to do anything. Basically they just shift their day to nighttime-after dusk. Everything comes alive after sundown. That also means not much work happens at all, and if you want to meet with someone, they may want to meet at 2am, after they’ve had “dinner”, before they go to bed.

I don’t fast during Ramadan-have no reason or motivation to do so, but I’m respectful of those who are, so I don’t eat or drink in front of anyone else. This makes any travel tough, esp. if you have a long train or bus ride. That also means that I don’t shift my day into night-I’m not fasting and resting all day and eating all night, so the entire month is kinda topsy-turvy. Of course, government businesses still have to operate during the day-at abbreviated hours-even the Peace Corps office has shorter days, i.e.; 10-3. You’ve got to get anything you want done during those hours, and hope that you can catch whoever you need in-between. The transits also are running, but it’s good to avoid late afternoon transport. The drivers haven’t had anything to eat or drink, no cigarettes, since dawn. Same goes for the passengers. This makes for a tinderbox and I’ve never seen so many fights break out as I have on a 4pm transit. Best to try to avoid them. So you can see why I’m so excited for Ramadan to come. Right.

Gotta find reasons to go visit other PCVs and escape it together, even if only in the quiet of our own homes. Can you say ‘work related travel’? I can!

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