l'aventure africaine

our travel journal

Saturday, January 21, 2006


here's what we've been doing lately to get ready...1 month1 week and 4 days until we go...

1) reading!

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Islam

the author of this book does a fascinating job of explaining Islam. Moroccans are nearly all practitioners of Islam...but i think you'd find it an interesting read as well. why? there are so many people in the twin cities to whom this applies. various permutations of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam and other religions are playing major roles in world politics. lastly, as a Christian, i find myself thinking a lot of about what i believe and why as i read about different views about how to get to heaven or original sin. a quick note though: the author is writing about her(?) own faith, and there is a tiny bit of bias, as there would be with anyone writing about what they hold as their most core beliefs...

Culture Shock! Morocco
this one i just started yesterday... the most interesting thing i've read so far is about the moroccan concept of friendship. it is all about interdependence. the more friends rely on each other for favors or borrowing of items, etc. the better friends they are. the author says to be mindful in the beginning of a person who is asking much of your time or money, as it will be difficult to change that relationship later. on the other hand, we'll need assistance as newcomers to the culture and town, and when moroccans ask us to reciprocate, the book says there will be hurt feelings and misunderstandings if we refuse... isn't this kind of stuff fascinating? it isn't just the surface differences, which are useful too, but down to the daily life, thought process kind of stuff... the stuff that could take a long time to figure out on your own. they have "culture shock" books for tons of countries, so look one up if you're traveling somewhere...

chelsea recommended nine hills to nambonkaha as well. it's the story of a peace corps volunteer in cote d'ivoire who was also doing health work. reading about her successes was definately inspirational, and it was good also to read about the struggles she had within the culture there, and how she found the balance between changing the way she thought, or working to change the way the village thought.

okay, so that was a lot about reading. we are also making this huge packing list. we shopped the other day for things from rechargable batteries to facial soap to pens and pencils...when we checked out the guy must have thought we live in a cave or something and only venture out every couple of years for supplies. mr. and mrs. hermit. other than that we're getting our cars fixed up to sell, collecting addresses and pictures of people around us, buying long skirts at savers, and lots of other little things.