In case you are curious, I've got a parasite living in my intestines and its' name is Zeus. For whatever reason, I find this to be more amusing than disturbing. Perhaps it's a result of already experiencing a "de-worming" in Zambia and that many Peace Corps volunteers spend their two years with a tiny friend in their body. For me, the diagnosis was a confirmation of my persistent symptoms rather than a revelation. Giardia is a fact of life in the developing world, especially when you are trying to fully engage in the culture. Sure, I could probably avoid an infection if I never ate delicious street food and avoided spending time (aka eating) with Moroccans, but that would take away all the fun! Far better to accept that I will get sick, things will be dirty and that everybody poops.
Also, this is a fantastic representation of life in the Peace Corps:
For those of you who have given up on my mental and physical well-being after this post, perhaps a story of something less graphic and more encouraging. Today was a big and beautiful day! I had my first bowl of cereal since leaving the states two months ago (!!!) The lucky cereal is basically a chocolate version of golden grahams and it's delicious coated in whole milk. I could hardly contain myself from grinning while I devoured my tiny bowl of heaven and caught up on Glee. I love mornings.
After a quick trip to the weekly market, I successfully taught my first class at the Dar Cheba (youth center). While only two students attended, it felt wonderful to get started. My introductory class, entitled "All About Me" allows me to assess the level of the students and introduce some American culture into the discussion. In my opinion grammar, reading and writing are all important, but are much easier to pick up from a non-native speaker. Therefore, I will focus on improving oral communication skills, knowledge of American culture and encouraging creativity in daily life; areas which I feel I have a unique perspective or ability.
This morning's lesson did not disappoint. I'm a fairly animated person, especially when teaching, and if nothing else I think the students were fascinated by my facial expressions. Hey, it's a start! I had a great time describing the wonder of cereal to kids who have exclusively eaten bread for breakfast and later managed to explain the difference between "to slaughter" and "to kill." Don't ask me how this subject came up...
The afternoon went quickly with a Darija tutoring session, homework help with Bac students and discussion with a fellow teacher regarding the differences between studying law in Morocco and studying law in the States. At 6 pm, I rallied for tea, rice and soap operas with a family in town and was informed that I need to be married in four years and then quickly produce four to five children. This was gracious by Moroccan standards, but I soon realized the mom thought I was between 18 and 20 years old. I am guessing that she will have shortened my freedom to six months by the next time I return. After practicing proverbs in Darija and Tamazight, the Berber language spoken in my town, and drawing stick figures to explain a fellow volunteer's current struggles at home (the words for 'dog' and 'heart' are disturbingly close), I was released to walk home.
Upon my return, it became clear that my recently returned landlord and neighbor had mistakenly locked me out of the apartment. His grandson was sent to retrieve me and before I knew it my grandpa landlord, who is roughly one foot shorter than me, was demanding that I immediately climb the stairs and eat dinner with them while simultaneously apologizing for the inconvenience of the locked door. Prepared for his kind attack of endless hospitality, I negotiated a trade from dinner this evening to a tea tomorrow morning. Boo-yah.
Climbing into bed this evening with my cup of tea and premature Christmas music, I realized that on the eve before Thanksgiving, I have so much to be thankful for this year. Here's to many more days of tea, learning and Moroccan grandpas. Bring it on, parasites.