The last couple pictures are from the train between Taza and oujda.
I started out on the right foot here by misunderstanding my new host brother over the phone- I got in a grand taxi for the ride between oujda and here. Apparently he was telling me that his father would pick me up in oujda at the taxi stand, not at the taxi stand in town. So I wasted about 2 hours of the father's time right off the bat. But I suppose it's a good sign that they actually want me here with them. It's a different situation from the first family. I don't have any space of my own at all- just sort of an area of the main floor cordoned off. This makes personal space very difficult to come by.
My city is spread out, mostly brick-colored, and somewhat quieter than Sefrou. Supposedly there are 80,000 people here but it seems like a good deal more. It's a sort of agricultural city with some neighborhoods spread way out and up the hills. From the hills you can catch the smell of the ocean if there's a breeze, which is nice. The Dar shabab, my future place of work, is always busy. There are twenty different associations at work on a regular basis basically creating activities for youths. My host brother is heavily involved in one of them. Running one of these associations is entirely unpaid, and it seems the majority of the people involved are in their twenties because they live with their parents.
The language is similar to what I learned in Sefrou but there are minor differences. Different choices of verbs, slightly different conjugations on some common expressions, and some words are different. It's called Oujdiya or Sharqiya, or eastern dialect and is heavily influenced by algeria.
It's unclear to me how I will be able to avoid politics entirely while here. People who are involved with things like associations are necessarily civic-minded and aware or at the least have opinions on political situations. I was witness to a heated discussion about the united nations not accepting the desert as part of morocco. It will become more and more difficult to explain that I must remain neutral on such subjects. Of course, most people here don't consider it a political question whatsoever. The south IS part of morocco, that's not politics, which makes it even more difficult to explain that I cannot take any such side. I explained to my host brother that the organization must not take sides with the left or with the right or it would never survive as it has for decades.
Perhaps as a consequence of the language changes, I've been thinking more about the meanings of words. Before leaving Sefrou, I was trying to explain to my host brother there at one point that I thought many people in the United States have an inaccurate view of what they "deserve". I couldn't really explain this word/concept well, even in a roundabout way. I was unable to get across the idea that you could deserve something good or something bad, nor whether I believed in the objectivity of 'just desserts' (ha, i just realized this section of morocco is 'just deserts'). It got me to thinking about whether I really know what the concept of "deserve" is, if I don't have a firm idea about the surrounding concepts. My host brother here is encouraging me to plow right through sentences: "make your tongue light". The hope is that, by plunging entirely into the language, I will bypass all those pesky meanings entirely and be able to speak without thought, as one should.
|awesome irrigation systems in the countryside. Do not drink the water. learned that the hard way.|
|There's a donkey on the hill.|
|Taken from the train. you can open the door and stick your head out, which is pretty cool when rolling through the lexla (wasteland)|
|favorite shot of the day. the writing means basically 'not for sale'|
|all these pictures are really big|