So… what do you do everyday… part tlata (3)

I haven’t done an update like this in awhile so I thought one was due….

For our first summer, we had four English classes a week, levels 1 and 2… which was WAY more than most people have in their sites so we considered ourselves pretty lucky (or at least I did, have I mentioned that Tyler doesn’t prefer to teach English?)

Then last fall we were able to add a level 3 class. That is also when I started going to my women’s workout class and we started going to the ACCESS program. We had a party for our students and then gave ourselves a little break in December.

In the Spring, we were the busiest we have ever been! We had four levels of English class going-including 3 sessions of Level 1. I had an extra beginner English class just for women. And we were also teaching an intermediate class at the fishing school here in Larache (which crazily enough is funded by the Japanese government). It was a pretty crazy time! Then summer arrived and well, we didn’t really have much. I had yoga and my exercise class, then we did a summer camp but that was about it.

Now we are back to teaching, we have four levels again but only one of each class as we are trying to focus on doing other things. English classes are in such high demand though- it really is difficult to say no.

But, even with what might be a lot* to do… we still have a TON* of free time. This is also a cultural aspect that we have had to adjust to… there is a large emphasis on spending time* with other people, building relationships and just going with the flow.

I have recently had a revelation on our time here… I have been complaining a lot about how we don’t have much time left…. and I just want to go home already…. blah blah blah… ain’t nobody got time for that, ESPECIALLY* Tyler who has  so many things to do, things are coming out his eye-balls!!!! So* I sat myself down and attempted to figure out what was behind my grumpy Gus-ness.
In all of that… I found this…

It came to me that, Peace Corps may be boring… or I may be restless and feel overwhelmed with the idea of so much time and then even more overwhelmed at the idea of how hard it will be to transition back- BUT* that I am supposed to be where I am or at the very least…. I should appreciate being where I am. I may not know the reason… it may not even really matter but that Peace Corps time is special. 1) Because when have I EVER* had this much time on my hands…to do only* what I want to do- WHATEVER I want to do… learn to knit- OKAY! make homemade pasta- OKAY! talk to a friend from home- OKAY!!! Watch an entire tv series all day- OKAY! spend every day, all day with Tyler- OKAY! and 2) When will I ever have this much time again? Who knows- maybe not until I am 85 years of age! I should* appreciate these moments, no matter how hard it is. And definitely… appreciate the next six months.

I have been okay* in the reading books department, but I have been much* better in the watching tv department! I feel like it is truly* an education watching all of these shows… what is better than being able to spend time with flawed, rich characters?!

Here are the shows that I have watched entirely, am currently watching and/or will watch soon!

Friends

Gilmore Girls

The Mindy Project

Downtown Abbey

The Blacklist

Glee

Game of Thrones

True Blood

The Newsroom

Parenthood

Pretty Little Liars

Mom

New Girl

Girls

West Wing

Boy Meets World

Growing Pains

Dawson’s Creek

Ally McBeal

One Tree Hill

Trophy Wife

House of Cards

Boston Legal

Orange is the New Black

Seinfeld

It is super easy to keep track of everything with Sidereel.com!!!

Pretty soon, this free time will be much needed for the job/internship search. And overall, it has been one of the most difficult things to adjust to- what would you* want to do with all of your free time? What if you only worked 15-20 hours per week? What if you had A LOT* of time to do whatever you wanted to do?

GLOW- Opening Day!

Okay…. so I have been promising for awhile that I would talk about GLOW camp. I think the things that everyone knows thus far is that….

1) GLOW stands for Girls Leading Our World

2) it is a camp for girls!

I apologize for my secrecy… it has been in the works for a long time. But… up until the girls started arriving I was SO nervous that it wouldn’t happen! I didn’t want to go on raving about this camp that was going to be amazing and fabulous and one of the hardest things I have ever worked for… and then it not happen! But… now! I am ready to share!!!! 🙂

GLOW camp is a Peace Corps world wide concept that volunteers all over the world can use for their communities. It was originally developed in the Ukraine and spread from there. There are pamphlets and books developed to give volunteers ideas and guidance to do a camp in their site or country. One volunteer who had a big part in this camp found out that she knew someone that participated in a GLOW camp in their country  with Peace Corps volunteers when she was young.

Last year at our IST meeting (In-service training) at the end of September, a group of 6 girls got together (myself and 5 others who are located close to Larache). We had nothing but the idea to go on but we knew we wanted to bring girls from different places into one!

As time went on, we had one girl with family plans, one volunteer E.T’d (not extraterrestrial-ed but early terminated) and sadly, one girl moved out of our region. So… it ended up that girls were going to come from Ksar El Kebir (a town 30km east of Larache), Assilah (a town 30km north), Ouazzane (a town in the mountains an hour to an hour and a half way), and then Larache! After some deciding early on, we figured it would be good to have it in Larache! So we spent months getting all of the details ready for the grant, translating things, getting permission to use the center, deciding on workshops and finding Moroccan women to do those workshops- and that is just the cliffs notes version!!!

Now, to be honest, I was a little sneaky about the project. I didn’t really mention anything to my mudir (director) until April for two reasons. 1) I didn’t really want him to be involved because he was a man and 2) it always seems that when I say I want to do things and it happens to be 4-5 months out- there is always a HUGE* inshallah added at the end. I wanted to inshallah until my voice was gone… I and the other volunteers WANTED* to make this happen, we were GOING* to make this happen. I will admit, that not really asking for permission to do the camp did make things a little difficult. I asked for permission to use the center for our activities and overnight stay from the delegue (my mudir’s boss) but never really specifically said “Is it okay if there is a camp for all girls here in Larache?”. The delegue gave us permission to use the center in May and after that it was mostly up to the other volunteers and I to do the leg work until my mudir was ready to inshallah his way to making this happen.

Fast forward to the end of August

My mudir, counterpart and I are meeting almost every day. Tshirts are ready…. booklets for the girls are being put together, everyone is working their butt off to find girls to attend the camp and we are almost ready to begin in a week. The meetings consisted of printing out papers, putting our logo onto things, deciding the menu, talking about insurance, calling the girls about a meeting to meet their parents and completing packets of information for both the local government and the delegation.

GLOW 2Our fabulous logo!!!!!! Designed by a family member of a volunteer!

With the day of approaching, the atmosphere was tense. We had to completely change the vendor of the food at the last minute and it caused a minor explosion. We also had a tiff at the center because it was somewhat occupied! When all this time, we thought that the center would be ours to use- who knew? This all* the day BEFORE* camp! The only people that were stressed out about these things appeared to be the volunteers…. the Moroccan counterparts seemed completely relaxed! We finally got the food situation sort of figured out…but were still working on getting things in order on the day of, let me tell you, this was not due to our lack of planning. Moroccans are so good at doing things last minute and getting them done right. The day of… woof… called into the delegue’s office to listen to a LOT* of words I didn’t know and had NO idea what he was saying but in a tone that let me know something was up… then to only be released and told “I’ll see you this afternoon, but we need to push the time up half an hour because I need to travel”. So the camp can go on? WAHOO!

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My mudir ready for action!!!!

329Me… ready to go!!!!

Then… we were off!!!

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schedule for the week, others were posted in Arabic

Girls arrived…..

336waiting for us to start!

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One of the fabulous volunteers checking the girls in 338while another assigned them to their rooms

our Regional Manager and Program Manager from Peace Corps arrived to help us welcome the girls.

IMG_2877Amina giving a welcoming speech

 and then we had kaskrut (mid-afternoon snack) with the parents.

IMG_2884kaskrut treats- including date cookies! YUM!

IMG_2881first camp photo of everyone!

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Our regional manager helped us kick things off by being kind enough to share her story with the girls… she grew up in a family full of boys and made her way through her education and has been working for Peace Corps for 25 years!!!!!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen after dinner, the first workshop was held and the girls made a “family crest” of how they define themselves!!!!!

We had some hiccups but the first day went wonderfully and set a fabulous pace for the rest of camp!!!!!!!