I’m not sure if this is of interest to too many people, but for those of you who are curious how a typical CBT experience might go, or for those of you who want to imagine what I’m occupied with for these first 11 weeks, here you go.
Monday through Saturday goes something like this: wake up around 6:30am (by choice, I like to get up early), sneak into the bathroom trying not to wake anyone up (it is a hopeless cause with the children) and wash ala bucket-bath. I then sneak back into my room and study or read or listen to downloaded npr podcasts and do pilates until my host-mom calls me out for breakfast. Breakfast often includes hot milk or tea with lots of sugar and mint. There is always bread with butter and jelly or olive oil, and occasionally there will be cookies as well (not cookie crisp cereal mind you).
At 8:10 I head out the door to class, which is about a 15-20 min walk talking the high road around the outside of the town/valley. We all quickly learned the shortcuts, and to avoid the schoolyard if at all possible. The view is spectacular, of course, and it amazes me how quickly one can get used to seeing such a sight everyday.
The morning is focused on language and cross-culture. We sit and soak up darija. Thankfully, we have a great teacher (Language and Culture Facilitator-- LCF) with a great sense of humor to put up with us crazy Americans.
Snack time at 10:30, more tea/coffee, cookies, bread/muffins/snackcakes. Then back to language until lunch at 12:30. A woman from town prepares our food for us. She does an amazing job, and it is nice to enjoy Moroccan food where you aren’t pressured to eat more than you desire. Fridays we have couscous (siksou in darija), on this and other dishes I’m sure I will write more about down the road.
The afternoon our focus is generally on the technical aspect of things. We visit the women’s coop in town and speak with the women there. Otherwise, we plan on what we will be doing or asking the women. Our LCF translates for us. This week we were required to translate our questions into darija and ask them to the women. If I stop to think about it, I am making progress with everything, but I feel like there is just so much more to learn.
At 4:30 we have our afternoon tea/snack with more tea/coffee, cookies, fried bread/bread/snackcakes (fortunately there is also an abundance of wonderful fruit, which is an option I usually seek out for snack). We continue working until 6:00, and then head home. This last week it has been just after sunset when we walk home. If I am lucky enough to get out a little early I stop by the cyber for a few minutes. This is never close to enough time to catch up on what I want to catch up on, so I try to cut out some extra time by writing my blog entries beforehand.
Once I get home, I greet the family and either study or try to help in the kitchen (emphasis on “try”). Sometimes there is a tea/snack break around 6:30pm, which often includes cookies and bread. Dinner is usually small, a bowl of soup or bread, or lunch leftovers from the family. I try to spend some time with the family and kids, throwing in a sentence or phrase or word when I can. I usually head into my room between 9 and 10 pm and read or study for a little bit before bed.
Sunday is our free day. We do have “self directed learning” which means we have to choose an activity that furthers our understanding of the language and culture of Morocco. This is also a great time to take a hike!
I am currently serving in Peace Corps, Morocco, as a small business developer working with artisans since September 2008. I have a Master of Fine Art, in studio art from Washington University in St. Louis.