Moment 1: Wednesday at Kaskrut
Hussein (an acquaintance of the family): Are you two fasting for Ramadan?
Robert and Julie: uhhhhhhh inshallah.
Mama Ryqqia: No, they’re not fasting! Leave them alone!
Hussein: YOU HAVE TO FAST. YOU. HAVE. TO. FAST.
Robert and Julie: uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh inshallah.
Hussein: Inshallah? YES, YOU ARE GOING TO FAST.
Mama Ryqqia: NO. Tell him you are NOT fasting. Tell him to mind his own business! Hussein, mind your own business. They’re not obligated to fast. They’re not Muslim. Their bodies aren’t used to fasting, so it’s not healthy. They’ll get sick.
Hussein: It’s very good to fast! It’s healthy!
Mama Ryqqia: STOP. ENOUGH. They are not fasting this year. Enough.
Hussein: But they didn’t say they aren’t fasting. *turns to us* ARE YOU GOING TO FAST?
Mama Ryqqia: Okay, I already said this. And I’m their mama, so I know. ENOUGH. If they do fast, it is between them and God. It’s none of your business. But they aren’t fasting. Now go away.
Moment 2: Friday, right before traditional couscous lunch
Robert: New volunteers will be coming to Morocco in September. And they’ll come here in December, inshallah.
Mama Ryqqia: Wili wili wili wili! Remember to tell Fatima [our Regional Manager] that I don’t want any more host children! You two are enough!
Julie: Why’s that? Because we’re bad children? *laughs*
Mama Ryqqia: *laughs* Yes, because you’re bad! Troublemakers!
Robert: Sorry, mama.
Mama Ryqqia: I’m just kidding, you know. *suddenly looks serious* No, listen to me. You are going to leave me. Maybe not soon, but next year, you will be gone. And I will be sick in the head about it. I will go crazy. I’ll cry so much. I will miss you and it will hurt me. When the other Americans come, they can come over for couscous, but they can’t be my children. I don’t want more children to leave me. Understand?