Two weeks from today I’ll go to my “final site”, where I’ll be for the next two years. Unfortunately, I still don’t know where that will be. This is slightly problematic- I’m not sure if I should be stockpiling gloves or sunscreen, or even both. Perhaps I will be expected to speak darija or Tamazight or Tashelheit or Tifilin. Maybe I’ll work at a dar shabab or a sports center or a women’s center. I could be in an apartment in a city or I could be in a mud house thirty minutes from water. Maybe I’ll have regular internet or maybe I’ll have no electricity. I could be in the desert or where you can ski or by the beach. I could be living with another volunteer or I could be a few hours from the nearest one. The best way to prepare for this uncertainty, in my opinion, is to try not to think about it. We can expect to know where we’ll be going at 2 pm on may 19th. I’m trying not to dwell on it.
So…I’ve noticed certain clothing trends seem popular among these youths I’m supposed to be developing. Firstly, and this may be unique to Sefrou, half the people here wear ‘Lacosta’ flip-flops. They’re like Lacoste, but you see, they’re not Lacoste (is that how you spell it?”) They do, however, have the same logo. I’m not sure whether somebody meant to manufacture them with an ‘e’ or not. The Chinese company that put the name of God on the bottom of their crappy flip-flops made a bigger mistake. It’s impolite to cross your legs and show somebody else the bottom of your foot, but it’s really uncool to step on God. The other popular clothing piece is a Franklin and Marshall hoodie. These things are everywhere and I don’t have the slightest clue as to why. Other than that, the rules are simple- put as many buttons and zippers as you can on your leather jacket, wear jeans with horrendously acid-stained patches and find either some running shoes or huge, huge high-top Reeboks from the mid-80s. Hair gel and sunglasses are also popular.
Completely unrelated…Recently we’ve been schooled on some of the risks in terms of disease and pests in Morocco. Firstly, some places there are enormous flying roaches. Secondly, rats will occasionally be big enough to chase cats. Thirdly, don’t get cerebral malaria. Another good one is called schistosomezia (I think)– somehow this worm thing uses snails and people and morphs like 5 times over its lifetime and the people who carry it end up peeing blood and their bowels calcify and turn into stones. I would like to avoid this if possible. There’s a city in morocco where once the boys, who go swimming nearby, pee blood for the first time, they’re considered to have become men. This information was imparted to our group by an ex-soviet-doctor-turned-peace-corps-medical-director named Victor. It is unclear why he is working for the Peace Corps, especially since he gave us a long spiel about how much he loves his country that doesn’t exist any more and he’s careful to impart soviet union history lessons whenever possible. It IS clear that he’s slightly insane. He showed us paintings he liked by Caravaggio as a way to transition to typhoid or whatever killed the guy. We spent 10 minutes on the painting and about 1 minute on the disease, and to finish off we watched the Vienna symphony orchestra. I did manage to correctly answer his question regarding the Peace Corps definition of diarrhea (four times a day) and he told me that I’d made his heart happy. Speaking of health, allergies suck. Really, really, really suck. Time to prepare for my class on what goes into starting a business. Obviously I have a zero experience