Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Community Creamery Contributions Complete!!!

First and foremost, a huge thanks to all who contributed to my PCPP (Peace Corps Partnership Program) grant for the ATPF women’s Creamery equipment. It’s been fully funded by friends and family in less than 2 weeks! I can’t tell you how meaningful this is for the ATPF women, and will be posting photos after the funds are released, equipment purchased and installed. Shukran bzzzzzaf u allah rHlm l walidin.

Meanwhile September snuck up on me and I’ve got to start organizing. Yesterday I sent off 3 more packages to Huntington Beach-trying to get stuff shipped from here before Joanne moves out so there’s someone to receive them (since you never know how long it will take them to get there). One of my “to do’s” was to find a couple mailing tubes. Then I drew upon my PCV resourcefulness and headed down to the ‘druggeri’ or hardware store. Note to self-PVC pipe makes great shipping tubes for awkward items, ie; Berber tent poles, multiple paintings. In addition, the ugly plaid souk bags make great shipping bags when wrapped in duct tape. In the process of clearing sh** out of my place-and I’m sorting like mad-anything that needs to be tossed is in the trash and anything needing to be sent back to the US has pretty much been shipped.

I’ve not gotten rid of most of the stuff-I’m leaving almost everything here in Morocco. I’ve got my list of who’s getting what. I need to get the Adwal women here to decide on several items-they either go to the Cooperative or I’ve got someone else I’ll give them to. This isn’t a money making operation (a lot of PCVs sell their stuff to make a few bucks), I’m giving my stuff to people who either really need and/or can’t afford to buy it, ie; replacement PCVs, newlyweds just starting out together, Coops, Assns or friends in town.

Had another good long talk w/the Couscous Coop women. They told me that they couldn’t do the workshop next Tuesday after all-that they wouldn’t be there and I passed on this bad news to Gail. Then I thought more about it and realized that the women just didn’t want to do it during Ramadan (and hard to blame them at that). What I needed to do was get them more information about what these workshops would entail and what it could mean to the Coop to be the “go to” spot for Couscous Workshops for tourists out of Fes. Got the pricing, timing, potential booking volume to put together a more compelling story for the women. Now they understand the bigger picture. This made them agreeable to make an exception next week for the one woman who has paid for a solo couscous workshop during Ramadan. I promised the Coop that there wouldn’t be any more single person workshops and no more during Ramadan. Thankfully they’ll work thru this exception and it will be a good run-through for future workshops.

I also talked w/Michele about day trips to Ribat El Kheir for clients of she and her husband’s tourism business in Fes. We’ve had preliminary discussions, but need to put together more specifics. Tentatively it would include any/all of the following; couscous workshop/visit Adwal weaving/visit the ATPF Assn/visit the neddi/see the traditional olive pressing process. I also need to help find another translator for English speaking clients, as Fouzia has started her job in Taza-maybe Fatima’s brother M’Hamed (Hassan can take care of the French folk). Hopefully we can pull this off to bring in more tourists to REK.

Also met up with Sam-former YD PCV here in REK. He’s in town for about a week, so he, Pete and I had coffee last night. He preceded me here by about 4 years, so we didn’t overlap. Seems that REK has grown up and improved a lot according to what he had to say. It will be interesting to see what changes I see if/when I return for a visit.

Since the du-Gods (the electricity) have been shining upon us, despite the high temps, I’ve been able to use my computer when everyone else is sleeping during the day-what a blessing! My latest craze has been Chess Titans. Never played chess before in my life, but I may be getting addicted. I’m learning by playing-haven’t read books or strategies-you really need to have a board to understand the written moves and I’m too much of a visual learner. Fortunately I can learn as I play by undoing moves when I make a bad one. I of course lost my first 32 games straight-improvement measured only in the increasing length of each match. In the last couple of days however, I’ve won 3 and had 2 draws, so am making progress. Swiya b swiya. May need to dig into some internet strategy /tutorials, but so far this has been a good diversion. The Grand Masters can keep their crowns.

Nice cool evening/night made for great sleeping last night and the trip up to Fes this morning wasn’t too steamy. I’ve got several meetings lined up while I’m here-with Michele/Yusef, with Gail, need to pick up Community Creamery donation from Mike at the Clock, helping Jess out with her art exhibition pre-work, going swimming w/a bunch of folks Friday afternoon and will meet up w/Kate afterward and on Saturday Gail and I are going to Meknes to meet with Eva-the goat cheese maker to get info for the ATPF Assn women. It will be nice to feel productive.

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