Notes & Anecdotes: Part 5

We don’t just want to write about the Big Things in our lives, so here we’ll share small stories and quick blips and such. Catch all the Notes & Anecdotes here

  • Our host sister Amal and her husband Said opened up a new hanut (little store)! This is ridiculously exciting for so many reasons. Said lost his last job because of a physical injury and the family’s been hurting financially for a while. Inshallah this means stability for them and their kids.

Fatine, her dad Said, and Robert at the hanut!

  • Last Wednesday, we walked to the Dar Chebab for my 5pm Advanced English class only to find that it was closed and Rahim (the key holder/mudir’s assistant) wasn’t there. My most eager student suggested we study in the garden, but everyone else was like “let’s just meet back here after Iftar.” On Friday, that student got Rahim’s number to borrow the keys to MAKE SURE the DC would be open. I just really appreciate how dedicated my students are!
  • Also, English classes have been a dream during Ramadan because none of the other classes are running, which means I GET TO USE THE ONE AIR CONDITIONED CLASSROOM! Yay!
  • We’re making more and more cool work connections. One local teacher invited Robert to give a presentation on Native American culture (and breaking harmful stereotypes), which he is really excited about.
Students from ACCESS, a program for low-income youth to learn English.

Students and teachers from ACCESS, a program for low-income youth to learn English.

  • Walking past the barbershop across the street one night, I accidentally kicked over and broke someone’s tea glass. Then I ran away from the crime scene, awkwardly shouting “smHu liya!!!” ….oops.
  • GYM UPDATE: As many of you know, we have been searching for the elusive women’s gym in our city ever since we arrived. Every person we ask insists that it does exist, but has no idea where it is/when it’s open/who operates it. Now, we’ve finally gotten a lead! It turns out that the owner/coach of the gym had a baby four months ago, right before we moved here. The women’s gym has been shut down during her maternity leave—but she’s opening it back up in September! So… more updates in September, I suppose!
  • Remember the 30,000 books we sorted last week? Yesterday, we went back to Casablanca to get our 10 boxes of books (plus 2 boxes of beautiful notebooks and 1 box of tote bags with puppy print). The entire day was a living lesson on the flexibility that PCV life requires. Originally, our friend/counterpart Meryem was going to drive us straight to the warehouse to get the books. But then her car (named Christina) ran into some issues. Mskeena Christina. So we decided that we would take the train up, and then pay a lot of money to get a grand taxi to pick up all of the boxes and drive us all the way from Casablanca to our city. We had this plan in mind all the way up until the middle of the day, when our friends Matt and Anne came to the rescue! They were also picking up books and were able to fit a good portion of our boxes in their giant van (which they were not driving, another person was… in case Peace Corps staff happen to be reading this, hhhhh). They were even able to drop the books off directly at our Dar Chebab! We called Rahim to open the door, but he told us he was going to the gym (grrrrrr men’s gyms), soooo we called our mudir, who was very confused but very helpful. (Sidenote, we forgot to tell our mudir that we were getting him a dozen giant boxes of free books… oops, gotta work on our communication.) Everything worked out on that front! Alas, we still had four giant boxes at the warehouse to pick up. Four seemed like too little to hire a grand taxi for, so we decided to haul them back the hard way. We piled them into a petit taxi, then onto a train, then onto a wagon cart, then onto another petit taxi… and finally brought them home! The train back was especially difficult. It was so crowded that we were perpetually smashed into strangers. Then some creepy drunk men showed up and tried to get all up in our business. I shouted at them and they skulked away to another compartment for a while, but kept lurking back to leer at Meryem and me. There were also a bunch of annoying babies (quote from Meryem: “If that baby comes back one more time, I’m going to punch its stupid face.” …you can see why we’re friends, hehe). But we survived and the books survived and the French class kids are going to be so delighted with them! Thank you to everyone who made this happen!!! ❤
  • Yesterday’s adventures didn’t end at the delivery of the books though… when we got home, we were looking forward to just relaxing for the evening. But then our power went out… Our landlady is on vacation, so we asked our mul hanut if he knew any electricians we could call. Asking for help for basic things is something we’ve learned a lot from here in Morocco… Back home, we’d just Google a local electrician, but that’s impossible here. Things happen at a community, face-to-face level. Anyways, our mul hanut called all the electricians on his contact list, but none answered. Then he found another guy on the street who insisted he knew something about fixing electricity (he didn’t). They worked on our fusebox for a while to no avail. We told them that we’d just deal with it tomorrow, and then we both fell asleep. Around midnight, we woke up to the sound of men shouting and throwing rocks at our window. They were shouting the name of the PCV who we replaced, who lived in this apartment before us, so we figured it was just a bunch of his old friends being annoying. Then we heard them ask a passerby, “Do you know any words in English?” After which, they began shouting, “HELLO! HOW ARE YOU! OBAMA! OBAMA! OBAMA!” Robert realized that it might be an electrician… which it was!!! He fixed our lights, hamdullah, and everything was well again.

Yours Truly,

Robert & Julie


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