Honestly, I’m really getting into the swing of things over here. I have my own house, I have classes to teach (for at least until Ramadan starts) and I kind of have friends. Who would have imagined?
For those who have been wondering what I’ve been up to, I figured I could show you one of the wacky hobbies I’ve started during my time here. For the last few months I’ve been tracking what I’ve been doing on what I like to call, my Reverse Calendar. Basically, I have a set of symbols that represent the things that I try to do on a daily basis (classes, entertaining friends, studying), and when I do them, I get to reward myself by adding the appropriate symbol to my calendar.
Here you can see my Reverse Calendar for this month. I hope you enjoy the owls as much as I do.
The tea cups represent Kaskrot (Tea Time), the wonky bowl of food represents sharing a meal, the rulers represent the classes I’ve taught, the clocks represent tutoring hours, and the book-looking things represent an hour or more of studying. Under the book, I’ve written what language I studied. Sometimes it’s Darija (Moroccan Arabic), sometimes it’s FusHa (Modern Standard Arabic, and hopefully some day I’ll actually get to studying Tamazight (the native Moroccan language).
Now of course every month, there are going to be things that fall outside the realm of symbols. Such as the meeting I attended… put in quotations of course. For the last two months, I’ve been working with the Mudir of the Dar Chebab (the director of the Youth Center) as well as with some the principals of the schools in town to put on a month long drug-awareness campaign. One of the ideas was to put on a presentation at the High School with community leaders to discuss the ill effects of drug use.
Fast forward to this week when I saw my mudir busy on the phone. My Darija is still a work in process, but I was able to work out that there was to be a meeting this week with the speakers in regards to the drug awareness campaign. Oh, and that I was not to worry, he was figuring everything out.
I arrived on Friday to the High School ready for what I assumed to be another planning meeting, when I was guided not into the principals office but into a crowd of students outside the auditorium. One of my students, Latifa, approached me and asked me what I was doing there. “I’m not sure anymore,” I responded.
I soon realized that the “meeting” my mudir had been referencing wasn’t a planning meeting at all, but the event itself. I was just glad that I had worn semi-professional clothing, so that I looked moderately put together as helped I set up the stage and take pictures of the presenters. A classic “Peace Corps Volunteer Doesn’t Actually Know What’s Going on Here” situation.
So, from looking at my Reverse Calendar, you can see the things that I did from a day to day basis that I felt were note-worthy. Just add handwashing clothes, lesson planning, and talking on the phone, and you’ll have a pretty clear picture of what the my life here is like.