l'aventure africaine

our travel journal

Thursday, January 25, 2007


Strange things have been happening lately, here in our world. That’s right, the four letter word we despise in America and every volunteer I know craves. To be BUSY! Not all of it is hard-hitting, bringing health to Morocco type stuff, but in reality that is only 1/3 of our job here. So, we may not get "credit" per se from our counterpart, or the community, for that matter, but, in my head at least, I think of every interaction as work. The minute we step out of our doors we are no longer allowed to be mike and Jana, Americans, or even mike and Jana, Americans in another country. We become, like transformers if you like, mike and Jana, PC volunteers from America, trying to bring or exude all things acceptable from America, all the while interacting in a language we sometimes understand. Well, as much of "America" as two white kids from the Midwest can, of course. Two things here. First, we do slip up and little droplets of the first two eek out despite our best efforts. And second, and more importantly, this isn’t to say we don’t enjoy going out. Most of the time we really like it and while we may come back with a smile on our face, we usually come back feeling somewhat exhausted.
So what did this busy week entail for us.

-Visiting a friend who just had a baby. They live in Tata, not in our village.
-Working on a grant for medical waste incinerators at another volunteer’s site an hour down the road.

-Setting up a time for doing a school lesson about teeth care with teacher.
-Preparing said lesson, including but not limited too, writing lesson and finishing large paper mache mouth.
-Tutoring for about 3 hours
-Planning English lessons for two different classes
-Going to previously mentioned classes, 2 out of 3 which didn’t actually happen because there was not prior approval from the director.
-Tracking down contact for English class to find out class shouldn’t happen on said day because soccer always happens.
-Prepping simpler lesson about good foods versus bad foods for our teeth, for preschool kids that we presented on Monday which included a massive drawing spree as well as stuffing ourselves with the candy whose wrappers we used to illustrate bad foods in our little game.
-Spending 4 hours at the internet café trying to free our computer from the grips of nasty viruses that were causing all sorts of evils. Seems to have worked for the time being.
-Attending an event by an association in a neighboring community with whom we have become friendly.
-Meeting with the president of said community’s association to discuss grant options that we have to help them build an actual association building.
-Going to town and buying our necessary items.
-Finishing touches on our health lesson we did at the clinic on Wednesday, the busy vaccination day.
Add to this the fact that we cook our meals and none of them come from a box which not only means more prep time but using more dishes and utensils and thus more dishes in the end. In many ways its great, we eat way more fruit and vegetables but sometimes you just want to open a bag of veggies and some frozen chicken breasts or a mac N’ cheese and have one dish, or maybe even order a pizza (not an option for this part of the Maroc as far as I know.)

Another small story for your pleasure. As I'm sure you know, we have a real cute cat named Jack, and we, as any proud parents would do, have tried to teach him how to be a good citizen of this world, which for jack means: not jumping on the table or you will get sprayed with water, not attacking my hands with your claws or fangs or... that's right, you will get sprayed, and the list goes on like this. Well, after teaching our preschool class and having tea with one of the mothers afterwards, we were walking home, and see to our horror, some intruder cat on our roof with our beloved jack on the ledge. It all happened so quickly, so I can't confirm, but Jana claims the evil intruder pushed jack off our roof. We saw him hang for a brief second, like Cliffhanger, (a movie I've actually never seen) only to fall maybe 15 feet or so, safely, of course, because cats are like that. Anyways, so over the next 24 hours, in my head I was go through all the scenarios for some sort of training regimen for jack, much like rocky balboa would, so that next time some cat enters unwelcomed, he can at least defend himself and hopefully not fall off the roof. I was thinking of maybe bringing in some other cats in for more of a controlled fight where we could step in, and ring the bell if it just got out of hand. Realize that the fiercest thing jack fights are the big ants, flies, and our toes... until he gets sprayed, of course.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you ever heard of Sanitec? This is a much better alternative to medical waste incineration. It completely removes all pathogens from the medical waste and leaves a confetti like substance that can be dumped in any landfill. www.sanitecind.com. You should check them out.

4:28 PM  
Anonymous Papa R. said...

Glad to hear Jack was alright. Has the visiting cat been back? I can imagine putting on your PC face everyday is tiring. It is a great adventure but it isn't easy. We are glad to hear you are working well with your communities and making progress. Love, Papa R.

10:47 AM  

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