Eid Mubarak! (Which means, Congratulations on Eid!) Eid is the Muslim holiday that marks the end of the Holy month of Ramadan. For Tyler and I (along with many other PCV’s), this means life going back to normal (at least as normal as possible) as well as being invited to homes to celebrate the holiday and allowing for NEW ADVENTURES!!! 🙂
To catch up, we did have some adventures during Ramadan. The first adventure was being invited to break the fast by a man who often comes to the Dar Chabab! For a while, I really thought that we were not going to be invited to any liftors (fast breaking meals at sun down). Integration into the community has been somewhat difficult despite our good relationships with some men at our Dar Chabab. Although I was very disappointed about not being invited to liftor, in my endeavor to become a more patient person, I tried not to sulk too much. And… my patience paid off! It was very exciting as the call to prayer came on the television screen to eat delicious Harira (a traditional Moroccan soup) and eat dates, fruit and milliwee (a flaky delicious Moroccan bread). We had wonderful, albeit, difficult conversation to go with our meal- which by now is an expected side dish- and went on our way!
Secondly, we had an interesting trip to Tangier (which is a large city about an hour and a half north west of us on the tip of Morocco across the Straight of Gibraltar from Spain). Our trip, in a nutshell, contained these details!
- Arrived after a much longer bus ride than anticipated
- Got a taxi to the Marjane (a Wal-Mart type store, located in some large cities) while trying to communicate with another PCV on which* Marjane in Tangier to go to, and then ending up at the wrong one. Then the taxi man tried to tell us that he was charging us double- which I responded- no we are not going to pay double. That, of course, did not make him very happy. He was persistent, but I was more so.
- Got another taxi back to town, where a man attempted to charge us Euros (*note that the exchange rate is about 1 euro to 11 dirhams; 1 American dollar to 8 dirhams). But we agreed upon a rate and took off, only for him to try to argue the rate once we reached our destination.
- Tried to find a restaurant that would serve food in Tangier (note* that it is very frowned upon for even non-Muslims to eat/drink in public during Ramadan.) But thankfully, some touristy places were open (since we were acting as tourists that day- we would never have done this in Larache).
- Tyler’s foot was ran over by a rogue taxi on a walking street! (Don’t worry– he is okay!)
- During our walk back to the bus station, we saw a man in his skivvies in a courtyard, where he proceeded to take off his skivvies for some unknown reason.
- At the bus station, we were rushed onto a bus leaving for Larache–this is where our trip takes a turn for the better–immediately following the call to prayer everyone on the bus began breaking the fast on the bus! Up until this point while traveling during Ramadan, Tyler and I had experienced waiting a long time for transportation or the transportation stopping for an hour and a half in a random city—during this trip we were quite surprised for it to continue following the sunset call to prayer. THEN* a man began walking up and down the aisle of the bus offering dates to everyone! A friend and myself, also received a carton of milk from this man, while Tyler chowed down on candy, bread and milk. These moments are often a time of reflection for myself. I often become overwhelmed or upset with some situations in Morocco, but seeing this kind of generosity offers a new perspective. On this large bus, this man made sure that everyone had something- it’s a feeling, at least for me, of familial connection with these perfect strangers.
For the last day of Ramadan (which for Morocco was Sunday, August 19th), we were invited again to break the fast with our friend and his family! They also invited us for Eid the next day! This was very exciting because we had already been invited by my tutor to her families’ for breakfast! So at 9 am, on Monday, we found ourselves taxi-ing to a wonderful breakfast! Which included TONS of my tutors family, getting henna’d, drinking Moroccan tea and eating delicious cookies, pastries and cakes (which included one I had made, but according to my tutor’s sister- it wasn’t as good as the one she had made).
Then we proceeded to our friends house for a delightful lunch of cous cous, more tea and fruit! Although, life during Ramadan was slower and at times frustrating, it was so exciting to be with these Moroccan families on this day. Hopefully we can continue to build on these relationships and get to know more people in Larache!
As for the next month or so, I will be at a children’s orphanage camp in a town called Dar Bouazza and Tyler will be staying here to continue to teach at the Dar Chabab. We will meet up in the middle of September for training with the Peace Corps in Marrakech! Upon our return to Larache, we hope to start new classes at the Dar Chabab along with Arabic classes for ourselves at a local association!
We have created a photo sharing website with many pictures posted from the first 5 months in Morocco. You can visit the site at the following link: http://s1052.photobucket.com/albums/s443/taduffey/
We are ready for new adventures! 🙂 I will leave you with a recent family photo we took! 🙂