Mission today: speed post
Yesterday I went directly from my class teaching little kids to the taxi stand. Caught a taxi up towards Nador. I got out at a round-a-bout outside of Nador, waited on the side of the road for all of five seconds, and found another cab to the town of alAroui. Why? Site development. Site development is when the Peace Corps sends current volunteers to towns and cities where there aren't yet any PCVs. The staff and security teams already check out all of these new potential places, but each one has to be visited by a volunteer as well. We figure out whether or not it would be cool/safe for an American to go and work there. We also check to make sure that the boss of the dar shebab isn't totally insane and whether there seems to be enough to do there, etc.
AlAroui seems like a perfect site: great Dar Shebab, great 'club socio-sportif', great gymnasium ("covered room"), women's centers, schools, a college nearby, tons to do. There are also a couple of absolutely huge houses with well-tended estates. When driving by one with the head of the youth house in Alaroui, I asked who lived in it. He said, 'mul fluus', meaning "owner of money". I've heard that there's a great deal of money coming through Nador thanks to the drug trade up to Europe, although I've never seen any direct evidence of it. Whether or not it's accurate, drug mob was the first thing I thought when I saw personal guards outside of that house. But maybe it's just normal business, who the hell knows.
The peace corps encourages volunteers to stay overnight when they do site development, although this isn't always possible and is almost never desirable. Staying overnight thrusts you back into the surreal world of host-family-dom. You never know whether the toilet can take toilet paper, whether there will be toilet paper, whether you should wear slippers everywhere, what you're allowed to NOT eat, how much tea you have to drink, where you're supposed to sleep, how rude it is to be yourself, and so on. This host family is great though- seems they speak a mix of Eastern Moroccan dialect and more Fez-sy dialect, so they're easier to understand than your typical Berkanian.
Speaking of, it is a huge ego-boost to hang out with a new Moroccan family as far as language proficiency goes. I warned them that the new volunteer is not going to speak Arabic and may spend a lot of time crying in his room because he feels lonely. The host mother said, 'how could he feel lonely? there's a tv!"
The end. 2 minutes battery left.