Sunday, November 7, 2010

Empty Apartment. Full Heart

Ahermoumou will always be a part of me.

I have shared tea, cookies, cakes, tears, couscous, farewells, inshallahs, all my apartment belongings and more tears over the last 3 days.

The Jam3ia Mawahib Wataqat Nisaiya (ATPF) women threw a party for me on Friday. I managed to send off the last of the boxes home and went to join them in the afternoon. They had party streamers, balloons, a “Good By Lynn” cake complete with a candle/sparkler, confetti blaster, henna for all and a gift candle. So sweet, many tears and difficult b’slamas.

Then on Saturday I headed over to the Taeawniya Adwal for a day with the ladies and another party. We had another cake (yummy-thanks to Nora) and tea and a bit of ceremony. They gave me 2 beautiful woven rugs and Zahra gave me a lovely bracelet. To see the women crying just killed me, and my tears quickly joined theirs. Fortunately we were able to get ahold of ourselves to present Ferida and Nora with their Certificates of Completion for their computer/internet training. Tbarkalikum.

Fatiha then cooked an amazing couscous lunch for all of us. Meanwhile, Nora brought henna to do for all of us-what a sweetheart. Thankfully I anticipated this may happen, so when Amina was doing henna for all of us on Friday at the ATPF party, I only had her do one hand. This left my other hand for Nora’s handiwork. We all closed up shop together and walked back to the village w/promises to see them again today when I brought over the things from my apartment that I was giving to the Coop.

Then it was off to the Tawmatine Association’s couscous workspace. They’d been waiting on me with tea, cookies and milowi. I’d seen most of the women over the last couple of days already, but it was so sweet of them to get together to say thank you to me. They are such generous souls. Shukran bzzaf.

I walked back into the village w/Meriem, which gave me the opportunity to take some photos of the ATPF purchases made with the PCPP grant monies. I’m so ** proud of them! What started out as a project to get some equipment to expand what they offer in their Creamery has morphed into something bigger and better. The cheesemaking initiative is on hold while they pursue opening up a bona fide ristura (restaurant)-note, there’s only swiya 2 in town. They looked hard for the equipment they wanted and were able to find a good buy from a guy in Sefrou. Oh. It’s all or nothing. They can’t just buy the items they want from the restaurant he’s closing. He’s selling it all to a single buyer. Well, the grant covers only ½ the total purchase price, and it’s bigger and better equipment than they first envisioned. However, they chipped in the rest of the money and the ATPF women are now looking for bigger, more affordable space to open up their ristura. Tbarkalihum bzzaf! I also got the receipts I needed to be able to submit my final report for the grant. Nothing like working up to the last minute.

I woke early this morning, no doubt with my moving out plan weighing on my thoughts. I managed to pack all my stuff in my single big suitcase-hamdullah. At least I’ll be travelling relatively light for the next month. Then I finished taking things apart, as Khalid and Jess were coming in the morning to pick up all the furnishings. Khalid, Siham and 2 others arrived w/the truck and (thankfully) loaded the stuff I was giving to the Adwal Coop and took that down for me. Then they went to work on the rest of the apartment. I forgot that here people really want everything they can have. Metalan, Siham even wanted the sticker/décor on the hallway walls, they took the tubing for the buta gas tanks and the tanks themselves. Merhaba. Just didn’t realize you’d want those things. Finally had to (jokingly) close the door to the storeroom, as the items I’m leaving for Karen and Doug are in there. Oh, and I needed to keep the blankets so I have something to sleep on tonight. I’ve got invitations to stay elsewhere, but want to spend my last night here.

I can’t forget to mention one of the best going-away presents, and this was from Khalid and Siham. They gave me one of the yet-to-be-released “Clock Book”-the recipe book Tara’s been working on for Café Clock. They had their celebration party last night-I couldn’t make it for obvious reason, and figured I’d just have to wait to order it on Amazon. Nope. Signed copy in my hot little hands. Hamdullah.

Now I’m procrastinating going over to Fatima’s house. If I didn’t have this to do, I’d probably slip on up to Fes tonight instead of going to Rabat tomorrow. But I can’t leave w/out saying goodbye to the Akchmar family. They’ve been my family here. It’s just gonna be so hard.

1 comment:

Laura Crawford said...

congratulations, my dear, on an amazing journey and experience. here's wishing you the strength to hold on to the memories and warmth and discoveries and connections after everything changes and when the rest of us are never able to completely understand. hugs from oregon. :)