Wednesday, March 28, 2012

From Rabat to the Middle Atlas – Avoid reading with dinner and thank me later

The second half of training didn’t bring many additional surprises to the table: practical methods to avoid theft and assault as well as overviews of the SWEET PCV library in the capital and our community-based training (CBT). There was an increased emphasis on the conversational basics of Darija including how to order coffee without sugar, tell our host family that 10pm is too late for dinner and that we are not yet married (but God-willing, someday!) That’s right; West Michigan doesn’t have the monopoly on older women trying to set you up with their eligible sons. As our bodies recover from the jet lag, they have discovered all the new food and drink that Morocco has to offer (warning, this gets gross). While I have enjoyed the best beets and dates of my life, a number of trainees have started to feel the unappetizing effects of the new dishes. Luckily, Peace Corps is a step ahead and on Monday afternoon we were provided with our “medical kits” for the service. From antibiotics and Pepto Bismal to condoms and a rape whistle, we are ready for anything! There are few things that our guaranteed in life, but Peace Corps promises that I will get hella sick during service. After spending nearly 20 minutes on the symptoms, diagnosis and types of diarrhea, I was reaffirmed that I don’t need to worry until my severe abdominal pain, bloody stool and uncontrollable vomiting have lasted for a few days. While I have always dreamt of collecting my own poo and shipping it off for analysis, I may instead opt to call a PCV friend to make me oral hydration cocktails while I lie in a pile of my own filth. Just a guess. As a final treat, in today’s “gender-specific” training we received an excessive amount of information regarding the details of the Turkish toilet, where to throw our trash and the possibility of being shaven by our host mother while at the hammam. Tomorrow the exciting adventure of community-based training begins in a small town near Fes. Apparently this site is gorgeous, essentially the Swiss Alps of Morocco! I am gearing up for complete immersion, hiking and minimal free time for the next two months- a necessary but difficult portion of my training before I am sworn in as a volunteer at the end of May. Please continue to pray for me as this may get intense, off to the mountains I go!

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