I realize it has been a while since I've posted. I apologize for this. I credit my absence here to being busy. More importantly perhaps I'm feeling scattered. I haven't had a neat and tidy event or thought to write to you, and I dislike a scattered incoherent blog-post. But how about a work update?
February brought me travels to a nearby city with 5 women from my town that I nominated to attend the "Women's Empowerment Conference." I think the event passed well, and although I got mixed feedback from the women (I tried to bring a diverse group with differing backgrounds and agendas) I think in the end it had a powerful impact on them. One came back and really took charge of the "Internation Women's Day" event in our city and another took charge in getting another women's association together.
A related travel story: When returning from the conference I was loaded into a bus packed with other women coming form the conference and going threw our town before they went on to connecting transportation to their towns. At the last minute we were loaded with even more women from the conference to the point that they had to bring in chairs for some people to sit in the aisle. This is not an uncommon practice in a "stuffit" (this is what they are referred to by Moroccans), but it is illegal and uncomfortable, and unsafe. At one point we almost hit a truck in front of us that stopped suddenly without signaling, we swerved out of the way in time. A while later down the road we were pulled over by the local authorities who had a complaint with our stuffed "stuffit". An argument ensued and at one point some of the women on the bus suggested I talk with the authorities and say that we were all returning from the same conference and that I was with an American organization, Peace Corps, etc. I was not interested in divulging any of this information--nor in having Peace Corps endorse unsafe travel practices which I had no part in. I asked why I should tell them this and since no one had a good answer and the fine looked like it was payed, we were once again on our way. We passed another city with authorities on the road, but we were warned ahead of time and closed all the curtains. No stopping us this time. We finally made it back close to sunset and I was extremely glad to get out of there.
I've since been busy running from one organization to the next. I've continued teaching English, although I'd rather start phasing it out. Attendance is very mixed and only a few students seem to come every week, the others randomly making it difficult to have a lesson building on the last. I will start teaching other handicrafts like jewelry making, as an interest and expectation exists. Supplies are always an issue for these projects and I'm trying to find the most sustainable avenues. I'm also trying to facilitate a grant that a previous volunteer helped bring to a wood cooperative right before he left.
Alright, there is my work update. I will try to be a little more regular with blog-updates too. I shoot for once a week or at least every-other week. Please check my flicker account (photos to the upper-right) which I seem to update more frequently. Pictures say more words than I do!
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.