Saturday, September 27, 2008

Community-Based Training: Week 1

I've left Arzrou and the comfort of the amazing hostel. And I've completed my first week of community-based training (CBT)! Everyone in my CBT group is getting along fine. Peace Corps still has us busy around the clock. Classes run from 9am until 5pm. However, we've spent a couple days outside the classroom, interviewing the local Artisana Association and meeting individually with the weavers. Their craft is amazing. Today, the Association will be hosting an exhibition. I'll post pictures and details soon!

CBT also means living with a host family. And I think mine is beyond adorable. My host mom and dad are both in their late 70s. They have eight children, three of whom still live at home. The family typically speaks a Berber dialect at home. I'm happy to gain insight on a Berber home. Sometimes when I ask "What is this?" (snu hada) or "What is that?" (snu hadak), I'll get the word in Berber from my host mom! However, my host sisters are always quick to correct her. "No no no, she's learning Darija!" hahahaa.

One of my host sisters has a seven month old baby. He's truly sweet although I don't think he's getting adaquate nutrition. My host mom loves to feed him sabakia (a crispier and sweeter version of fried dough) as well as cafe (which is also saturated with sugar). Oftentimes, I see the baby bounce back and forth fairly violently. Talking with the local health volunteer, I see the need for health education. However, the notion of a health pyramid clashes with the sugary, oily and saturated foods by which Moroccans define part of their culture. Also, I still haven't seen anyone in my host family brush their teeth.

On Saturdays, the village has a weekly market. This market is at least ten times the size of Eastern Market. So you can imagine just how excited I was. They have everything there. From second hand clothing to new shoes, from fruits and vegetables to electronics (although I probably wouldn't buy electronics there). I was excited to use my Darija to ask for prices and bargain. I bought what I think will be a week's worth of vegetables and fruits. My host family mainly feeds me carbs. I'm happy to now include more fiber into my diet!

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