My mold-induced cold tenuously holds on. There are now odd patches of yellow paint around the apartment, put there with the intention of fighting back the fungus. Perhaps overly optimistic, but we will know before too long. Unfortunately, even Moroccans warn that there are bad chemicals in the paint, so you know it may as well be rat poison. With this in mind, we slept with all the windows open for a couple of nights. Which was cold. It was like camping without a tent, in winter. Now Krista may have a cold.
But the windows are closed and the walls are, if not all the same color, at least not splotched with brown. Yesterday I khemmel-ed the apartment which is when you throw all your stuff out onto the roof and then pour bleach water throughout the apartment, squeejee it all out the door, and bring your stuff back in. With the painting and the khemmel, we may have won the first battle in the mold-fighting saga.
Cheaters. For the first time, I saw what taking a test is like here. We gave our beginners a test, to see if they learned anything over their first 3-month cycle. I have no idea what they learned because they all cheated. They talked among themselves, looked at each other's pages, wrote down notes for each other and passed them around, passed the tests themselves to their neighbors to fill out, it was horrendous. Why? One of the students is a 44 year old mother of 3 and she was cheating with the best of them. Why? I'm not sure but I have some ideas.
-communal culture: in a place where the group matters more than the individual, self-improvement is silly. We did a class last week on free speech, and asked whether free speech should be constrained when it hurts other people, pointing to the Dutch guy who drew a comic of the prophet Mohamed. They all said, yes. The freedom for you to say what you want stops at the point where it hurts me. The well-being of the group > freedom of individual. I think the cheating may partly arise from the communal culture. I saw one girl try to write down all the answers from her own test and pass them to the 44 year old woman, to help her out. There was no benefit there for the girl, but she was trying to help out somebody else. Cheating in this context isn't cheating, it's sharing.
-do whatever it takes: perhaps we're not so far past the level of struggling-to-survive. That mentality can pervade every aspect of your life. You do what it takes. If you have to cheat people out of money, you do it. If you have to use connections to get anywhere, you do it. Cheating in this context isn't cheating, it's surviving.
-Nobody teaches that cheating is bad: why would they? Do teachers care? Probably not. Many teachers simply don't show up. Many parents pre-date education like it is today and may simply not understand. On the BAC, which is the biggest test in a person's life, cheating is rampant. This is the test that determines whether you can go to college and what you can study there. It's a big deal, and everybody cheats. Cheating then isn't cheating, it's the status-quo.
How well does this prepare people for the individualist pursuit that is modern capitalism? Very poorly. I saw yesterday that perhaps Moroccans have chosen to move slowly forward, together. Or perhaps just in this corner of the country. How hard should I try to stop that? I'm not sure. I'll have another opportunity tomorrow, when we test the intermediates.
Hard drives. My computer died, again. Hard drive, dead. It lasted 3-4 months. I bought it from a guy on the street for 25 us dollars. I suppose that's what I deserve.
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.