Sunday, September 26, 2010


Is it terrible to bugger out of the last Moroccan wedding invitation I’ll get? I think not. Didn’t feel like getting stuck all night down in the zlul. Mbruk Hassan, but I’ll toast you from the village and Fes instead (sipping something worth toasting with vs sweet mint tea).

Lost my excuse (stifling hot heat), so back on the Pilates track. It was a nice break while it lasted, but I was really getting lazy and while I do walk everywhere, it’s not THAT much walking!

Nice to have a ‘normal’ week in town this past week. Mostly working on getting the Ribat El Kheir Day Trip for tourists put together. We’ve got all the arrangements made-options for Couscous handrolling/cooking/eating workshop, natural dye and weaving workshop, cooking traditional Moroccan breads and sweets, seeing a traditional olive mill and olive oil tasting and/or hiking. We have a meeting on the 10th with all players, including the 2 friends from Fes who have tour booking agencies and are advertising the trip.

I’ve also been playing Travel Agent all week for Samira and Rebecca’s visit week after this coming week. Rebecca will come in before I’m done w/my PC conference in Rabat, so I’ve got arrangements for a day trip to Meknes, Volubulis, etc. set up for her. I’ve set up our riads, visits to artisan coops in the countryside (incl. REK) and visits to Fes and Rabat. We’ll do the couscous workshop w/the Coop here and the natural dye and weaving workshop w/Adwal, so those will be our “trial runs” for future tourist day trips.

I’ve also finally finished a couple things I’ve been working on for the Adwal Coop showroom. I’ve put together an Arabic/French book on their products, examples of how to use them in the home, info on the Coop and REK and then framed summaries of all for the shelves. This was a big undertaking and I think will be good for tourists to be able to view. I also got time, finally, with Nora and Ferida to review the Windows Office-based files I’ve created so that they can modify, update, etc. Adwal also has the new digital camera that I purchased for them so they can do their own photo documentation from here on.

Since Eva the Meknes cheesemaker cancelled the workshop w/the ATPF Assn and Milk Coop on Saturday, this left me free to support Jess on (what was supposed to be) her final day of the Life Size exhibition in Fes. This was also a “Knit for Peace” day-bring your knitting needles or use theirs to knit (water) pistol covers for a collage. She’s done this a number of times and has had participants from all over the world. Interesting enough, last night most of the participants were young men. It was also my first time trying my hand at knitting. In addition, I made another purchase of Jess' work-the piece that got my attention when we were first setting up the exhibition-and the collaborative piece that was her inspiration for the rest of her contemporary collection. I love it. Oh, and the Ministry of Culture said she can keep her exhibition up for another month. She won’t be there every day, but will be able to show the work to others who expressed interest and didn’t make it to the show. BssHa Jess!

I decided to go late morning yesterday when taxis are most likely to be running up to Fes. Went to the Clock, figuring I would kill a couple hours on their wifi. Much to my delight, I ran into Kristen and Dan (his birthday). They were also killing time, so we had lunch and then went to the Artisanat for them to do a bit of shopping. I had NO intention of buying anything, but while I was wandering around, what did I see? An inlaid wood carved, portable chess set. OMG. Was this just Perfect or what? I’ve really caught the chess bug, but have been only playing via computer. Can’t study any strategy w/o an actual board, as you need to be able to move the players around when studying to visualize the implications of those moves. I now own my very own chess board. Wahoo! And don’t you know, I played…ahem…and won….my very first chess game w/a live opponent. Onward!

Jess’s friend Brian is visiting and they were kind enough to let me crash in Sefrou with them last night after the closing of the show. Oh, and after a G&T at the Pub on Hassan II. (Still can’t get over the fact that you can drink alcohol at a sidewalk café in Fes now).

That worked out well since I was meeting Marian and her tutor Nazha to do a marketing workshop first thing this morning. We spent several hours together and hopefully it will help Nazha and the Tafajight honey coop get the info they need to make sound decisions on next steps toward improving their profitability.

Jae, a PCV from down south then joined us and we made our way back to my site. Along the way we heard-and asked for more opinions-about a proposed transit strike scheduled for tomorrow. Final word was that it is a sure thing, likely to be just Monday and taxis only, but both Marian and Jae decided to leave REK after a couple meetings so that they wouldn’t get stuck here. Too bad-I’ve got fresh turkey and a pasta and sauce mix ready to make up for a yummy dinner. However, I fully understand, as they have other places they need to be able to get to tomorrow.

I’ll work on cleaning up my place a bit, get my bicycle and some other stuff that needs to go back to PC office over to Pete’s. The PC driver will be bringing a staff person to a town nearby this next week, and instead of my having to schlep my bike all the way to Rabat, they’re gonna come over and load it up and take it for me. God bless their parents.

Then I’m off to Rabat for our COS (Close of Service) Conference and Medicals. This includes an exit interview with the Country Director. Last formal meeting before our check out mid-November. Wow. I’ll go straight from our COS conference to meeting up w/Rebecca and Samira in Fes for our artisan/weaving tour the following week.

Here’s an interesting link to check out: the Sept 22 entry of the following blog: If you’re familiar w/my blog, you know how much I love Fes and how much time I spend at “the Clock”. The aforementioned blog is a great article from someone who attended one of Clock’s cooking classes, complete w/yummy recipes. Check it out.

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