Disclaimer: I am writing this on a French keyboard, which is just off enough to ensure spelling errors. For this I am sorry.
So the last week has been absolutely insane. I moved in with my host family in a small village you can't even find on a map. The experiences have been incredible, including the wedding at our place that involved women singing and dancing until 2 am (a rare event where women really get to let loose, and something I can not explain as a male because I wasn't very involved). I would love to keep everyone updated on all my going on's, but I only get internet in a town that is about an hour walk from where I live. So, in order to give an example of my everyday life, I will copy down an entry in my journal that I wrote on Thursday.
Today was one of "those days." A day in some regards worth forgetting. A day where at many points I wanted to request a mulligan, or at least a fresh start. Fortunately, a simple moiment changed everything.
I woke this morning in that familiar haze of confusion. "Where am I?" "Morocco, small village, you don't speak the language. Remember?" I studied a bit before preparing to leave my house, then found I had lost my toothbrush and toothpaste. Great, here comes ass-mouth Steve. I hiked to the bus/ taxi stop to meet my co-workers. After some time we caught a taxi toward a larger town get shots and discuss medical things. Taxi rides in Morocco can be frightful events, and this ride proved it (don't worry mom I'm OK). After arriving safely (pheww) we headed to our meeting/ stab fest.
On our way back we decided to stop at a souk (market) to buy some food for the next few days. This is where the day goes from lacking in fun to just plain awful.
Break: On a side note, for those who may read this. I started writing this at about 10 pm. It is now 12:35 am. My host father walked in my room followed by my host mother with hot mint tea (a delicious drink and Moroccan custom). This was followed by an hour and a half language lesson. My host father is an extremely nice man and great teacher, but often forgets Americans can't handle caffeine and need sleep...but I digress.
The day became bad at the souk when after turning down several beggars asking for f'loose (money) we bought a chicken for lunch tomorrow. Buying the chicken meant pointing to a live bird then watching the owner of the market slit its throat and toss it in a bucket. Oh yeah, we're not in the states are we? At least I know the bird was fresh.
So I was a bit in shock, but that was nothing comared to the next event. We heard gunshots (don't worry mom guns are illegal in Morocco except for government use). Our language teacher said something about animal control. We then watched a dog being chased into a parking lot where its life was cut short by shotgun fire. I watched it happen. I was upset. I wanted to go back to our village. F@@@ this day.
We rode back in relative silence, absorbing what we had seen. We vowed no more death today. We felt like foreigners.
The final "kicker" if you will occured when the local government head informed us that the water we drink is no longer treated. Our stomaches simultaneously gurgled. All we could do is laugh. Of course we find this out today.
Then, something changed my mood. I walked to the ta-hanut (shop) my host father runs, muddled through some conversation with the local men, and started feeling better. The men know me now. I'm not just the giant white guy. Then my host brother (a very sharp and adorable 2nd grader) and other young kids piled around my lap to talk to me. We whistled, laughed, and communicated via pictures and sounds. The best part came when I gave them my trusty notebook (mainly used for writing words I don't know, so basically everything I hear) and told them to draw pictures for me. They loved the game and sat and drew, did math, and wrote in Arabic script for an hour. I couldn't stop smiling.
Children have amazing social abilities that adults loose over the years. They didn't care that I couldn't talk much with them. They just wanted to play. I was elated by this simple gesture of kindness. I will keep those pictures forever as a reminder that sometimes all you need is a little time to play and forget about the bad things. Sketches of sheep and people are much more fun. It just took some little kids to teach me this.
I am happy. I am blessed. I love my life.