..means rain in Moroccan Arabic (darija). Or something like that. Anyway it’s been raining for something like a week now, which isn’t cool. You can never really get warm and my feet are always wet. But many of the Moroccans are really pumped about it. I’ve been told by a store owner and the head of the police that the Americans have brought luck with us. There’s been a severe drought for the last few months, and apparently food prices are way higher than they normally would be, so the rain is a blessing, particularly for the farmers. And I think something like 40 percent of Moroccans are farmers. Hopefully we’ve brought enough luck and the rain will end soon- it makes everything more difficult.
Yesterday we had our first “Hub”, which is when a number of groups from the area all get together in a central location for a sort of debriefing and check-up on how things are going so far. We had it in an old church-type building which served as an icebox since it was somewhere around 40 degrees. Rough weather, but really great to see some of the others who are in the region, see how they’re doing, and hack some sack. Yeah, hackysack is back. Anyway, I finished off the day with one of the best things I’ve discovered in Morocco so far- the Hammam. This is a public bathhouse with tons of hot water where you go and scrub, or have a friend scrub, all the dead skin off and lie in a sauna for an hour or two or three. It’s awesome, and it cost a little less than a dollar. Usually the men pair off and stretch each other out and scrub the living shit out of each other with these really rough sponges. It was awesome to get clean, and I’m hoping to work the Hammam into my routine.
Speaking of Hammam, often in class we put together tongue twisters to help us remember things and practice listening/speaking. One of the good ones is LHem LHmmem Hlal Lhem LHmar Hram. Which means the meat of the pidgeon is Halal, the meat of the donkey is forbidden. It gets more complex when the pigeon is in a Hammam. That is to say, when the lHmmem is in lHmmam. Listening remains the most difficult aspect of the language for me. Remembering words is much easier here than it was in Egypt, and sometimes there’s an added bonus of a French or Frenchy-word to give you an edge, but understanding when somebody is speaking quickly is difficult. Many times I hear some word that I think I’m familiar with and thoroughly know and use all the time, but I have trouble recognizing it because so many of the vowels are nonexistent and the consonants collude.
I’m rambling here. Overall though, things are good. The Hmmam was a huge highpoint. We have something called “Spring Camp” coming up on the horizon, but we know very little about this and there is no indication that we’ll know any more before we jump into it. That will be next week, and then we’ll have a few weeks of primarily language study. The more the better. One thing I have realized, however, is that I need some time to escape and either listen to music in English or watch tv shows or something other than drowning myself in Darija study. It will certainly be a number of months before I feel comfortable in the language, but I think it is progressing. Unfortunately, my English is rapidly deteriorating.
im at an internet cafe and there are two guys looking at dirty pictures next to me...together