Unfortunately, it is starting to seem as though violence against the children is merely a small part of the overall lack of respect towards kids. Their health and safety are generally disregarded in favor of attempts at exerting authority and maintaining some semblance of order. Obviously, American ideas about cleanliness are, admittedly, often a little over the top. However, over the last few days, there have been a number of instances in which Krista and I have felt a great deal of irritation, frustration, and anxiety on behalf of the orphans (and fake orphans).
-there is no soap in the bathrooms
-they are not encouraged to wash their hands nor brush their teeth
-there were no warnings against diving headfirst into shallow water
-few of them knew how to swim anyway
-they are fed mostly sugar and bread
-they are encouraged to buy and binge on junk food with money from the associations that sent them
-they played a game similar to bobbing for apples, but with tomatoes. the water was taken from the river. two kids got severely sick already. a counselor told me that moroccans are strong and don't need everything clean.
-nobody was concerned with one girl's throw-up being everywhere
-there is no disinfectant but plenty of open cuts
-the tables are not cleaned after meals
and so on.
And now for something completely different.
Religious harassment has reached a whole new level of absurdity. Kids are relentless with demanding that we say the shahada and 'got is great' and so on. Obviously one's patience wears thin when the counselors too join in. It's difficult not to lose it completely. I often have to resort to quoting a favorite passage of the quran, 'la' ikraha fi ldeen' which means 'there is no compulsion in religion'. If a kid repeatedly harasses me, I'll quote that to him and tell him to read his own book before talking to me.
An additional camp discovery has been how easy, and beneficial, it is to be fake married. We were warned against one counselor in particular by another pcv who'd worked with him, and told he was a creep and source of a great deal of sexual harassment. However, since we're pretending to be married (it happened last year, we have a house in the US but had to sell our car), last night he took two chairs out behind the dormitory and told krista and I to sit back there under the stars for the tranquility and romance.
Hopefully I'll get some pictures soon. Six more days of camp, Ramadan starts tomorrow.
The views, opinions, and observations expressed in this journal are my own and in no way reflect the views, opinions, or policy of the Peace Corps, Peace Corps Morocco, nor any other governmental or non-governmental organization.
Nor is anything written here necessarily drawn from my own views, opinions, and observations. Please consider all postings and pictures complete fabrications with absolutely no bearing on reality. For legal purposes, please additionally regard the author as utterly imaginary.
The views, opinions, and observations expressed in this journal are my own and in no way reflect the views, opinions, or policy of the Peace Corps, Peace Corps Morocco, governmental or non-governmental organizations.
Nor is anything written here necessarily my own views, opinions, or observations. Please consider all pictures and texts here to be complete fabrications with absolutely no bearing on reality, this one or any other. For legal purposes, please additionally consider the author to be utterly imaginary.