l'aventure africaine

our travel journal

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Tomorrow is...

Tomorrow is Eid ul-Adha, or Eid L'Kbir in Morocco. We'll have more to say after we've experienced it, but click on the link and check out the Traditions and Practices section of that entry to see what we'll be up to -- and Mabrouk to you if you are celebrating!

So, the snow!

A couple of weeks ago it was time for our In-Service Training (IST).

IST is a lot of things. It happens after our first six months or so in site. The first six months they want you to focus on getting to know your community and language, and not on “doing stuff” without having done that important relationship-building first. To that end, we are not allowed to apply for grants for projects until IST, both because that shouldn’t be our focus, and also to avoid coming to town and bringing thousands of dollars with us and, first thing, building latrines and buying books and such and giving the impression that we are here as little Santa Clauses. So, IST is where we learn about the ins and outs of grants available through PC, and also talk with each other and our supervisors about what we’ve been doing, and what we would like to do with the remaining year and a half of our service. It’s exciting because we’ve been training and learning and practicing for so long (not that that won’t keep happening!) but after these 9 or 10 months in country we are here! These 18 months are what we’ve got to do big things and put to use what we’ve learned! Woo hoo!

Our Country Director, and the moustaches grown in his honor.

IST is also two other important things. It is a mini-celebration of completing the first six months of our service. They are supposed to be the hardest, and so the best is yet to come (of course(!) there are ups and downs throughout)! Peace Corps rewarded us with some sweet accommodations and just a great week of big city living in Agadir….I know it is a cliché thing for a PCV to say, but I too will NEVER cease to appreciate the joy of a real shower supplied by a hot water heater… a little bit of heaven :) Lastly, IST is a chance to see people we haven’t seen in six months (since training) and won’t see again for about another six months…and for some of our group – until our Close of Service conference three months before we leave… It is wonderful to see everyone, and to remember what hanging out with a bunch of people who all “get” you is like… it was a crazy, exhausting week!

The King drove past our hotel. Mike went out and snapped a pic...that's him sticking out of the sunroof!

Right :) back to the snow… we woke up the morning we were leaving while it was still dark and in our courtyard saw the UFO flashes of lightning…a storm coming. We added our Columbia jackets as the rain began to fall as we loaded up the taxi to go into town and catch the bus. By the time we got to town it was POURING and as the bus pulled out of Tata, it was crazy to see puddles and streams and full riverbeds in our desert!

Now, to get to Agadir we pass through some mountains…and they aren’t, like, high elevation kind of mountains…but we were driving, and looked out the window and all of the sudden the rain looked a lot like snow. Just seeing snow fall was CRAZY, but, well, you saw the picture, it got crazier. Snow started collecting on the ground and it looked like a whole different landscape to see our brown, rocky, palm tree-studded desert covered in white.

We had a little traffic jam where a bus and some cars lost traction going around a corner and people were getting off of our bus in their sandals(!) to assess the situation and help shovel out a little… which goes to show just how strange this was… we thought maybe it was something we didn’t expect and hadn’t seen before, but the rest of the bus was taking pictures with their cell phones and the bus driver’s assistant was calling EVERYONE he knew and yelling excitedly about the snow… by the time we got to the halfway-point of our trip the snow was about a foot deep and we got held up for a little under 3 hours because the local authorities didn’t think the bus driving around on snow-covered mountain roads was safe… We didn’t get any pictures at that point (Why, I am not sure…) but although it was a lot chilly, and we were ready to get moving, it made us Minnesota kids feel all warm and fuzzy….turned the cell phone to its Christmas rings…. :)

We hope you had a WONDERFUL Christmas, or a meaningful time whichever holiday is yours, and here is to a Happy 2007!!!


Blogger Anissa said...

Excellent story about the snow. Hard to believe you had a foot of snow. We've been enjoying the 40-50 degree temps, though I feel we could use some snow. Have a happy New Year. WE love you.
-Craig, Anissa and Graham

8:33 AM  
Anonymous Papa R. said...

It is exciting to see you at the point where you can implement some of the things you want to do. We will be watching with interest as things develop.
You have now seen more snow than we have this winter. Around here, about 2-3 inches is the biggest snow fall we have experienced, and it was mostly slush. I can't imagine it is easy to keep homes warm.
Have a wonderful New Year.
Love, Papa R.

10:07 AM  
Anonymous Katie said...

Hey you two! How come you're in Morocco and I'm in Switzerland and you had a white Christmas and I didn't!?!?!? :) What a crazy thing. And so exciting that you're going to be able to start using what you've learned! Any ideas for your first project? Happy New Year and take care!

8:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can imagine that the snow did make you want more! I have read that rain in the arid climates really do cause some amazing sights. Have you seen bridges stuck out in the desert but with approaches to them washed away? I have heard that happens sometimes when the bridges are built for the majority of the year, but when the torrential rains come similar to what you described, it takes away the road on either side of the bridge, and just leaves the bridge standing. Trust your new year is as good as the last nine months have been for you.
Mom and Dad H.

5:46 AM  

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