Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving/L'aid Kbir

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything thy goodness sends.
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. What could be more glorious than friends and family gathering to share a meal and give thanks?! Thanksgiving comes just a couple days for L'aid Kbir. After months of hectic work, I'm thankful for this week of rest. I'm thankful for everything I've accomplished with these women. Correction- I'm thankful for everything they're learning and doing. Frankly, these two years aren't about me and what I do. It's always about what they can do after I leave. And they're learning all that.

I spent Thursday cleaning my house- top to bottom and inside out. Fatima happened to be washing clothes. We carried over bucket after bucket of laundry water. I flooded my house before mopping it clean. That water was then recycled again to flush my toilet. I'm thankful for gray water. I'm thankful for an immaculately clean house. I'm thankful for my small and "green" house.

Then I hammam-ed. It's been a long time coming. In my village, each family has their own one to three-person hammam. In this tubular, cement hut, I got a deep clean with only one and a half buckets of water! I'm thankful for the hammam, very thankful.

Matt and Tanie, a new YD (Youth Development) couple in my souq town, came over my house for a vegetarian Thanksgiving meal. We ate green beans, mashed potatoes, vegetable lasagna and cinnamon buns! We cheered to sparkling cider. Yum! I'm thankful for good company. I'm thankful for my new neighbors and excited for their service.

Before L'aid, I spent any downtime working on new products- necklaces, earrings, headbands and bags. I want the women to revisit their embroidery work in the new year. The possibilities could be endless. I'm thankful for these ladies- their enthusiasm and kind hearts.

Saturday was L'aid, which I spent with my host family. Here's the day's highlights in photos:

Ba Ali slaughtered the sheep. Bismillah. After a couple seconds, the sheep started kicking and splashing its blood everywhere. Luckily I was not splattered.

We went to Abinziz's house for lunch, which was everything meat. Kababs after kababs, sheep tagine, then boiled sheep parts. This year, unlike last, they've accepted that I don't particularly enjoy meat, letting me stop eating as I wish. ONE kabab and alittle sheep tagine = laygan lbaraka. llay xalif.

I spent the afternoon playing with the little ones and visiting various families in my douar, wishing them L'aid mubarak lawashir.

I've passed the one year mark in site. Every now and then, I'm reminded of everything I don't want to leave behind. And then again, I've been away from home for awhile. I'm also reminded of everything I've left.

Currently appreciating:
*Moroccan's close connection with food. Sheep meat doesn't arrive in frozen packages. For countless people in my village, they raise it. They slaughter it. And they prepare all the meat- start to grill. Similarly is their relationship with fruit and vegetables, particularly in my region. Everything comes from their backyard, literally.

*Having my own house, so I can escape from the blood filled streets/meat and eat vegetables!

*Somia coming over to help me make cinnamon buns with frosting. Omima coming over to taste test.

*Copper chrocheted necklace with added djellaba beads and turquoise stones. Just wait until January when I teach these ladies this product!

*New headband made by Amina and I. She'll pick up the necessary raw materials and show everyone how we made it when I'm away on vacation! Sweeet.

*Clutch purse patterns and prototypes. Filling up my sketch book with Moroccan tile designs.

*Heba's Moroccan jokes. Heba is possibly the sweetest five year old in my site. She's respectful, obedient and always smiling. I visited her house yesterday and she couldn't stop telling me joke after joke. Too cute.

*Old/new clothes from a PCV who recently finished her two-year service.

*My new pondg that hugs me when I lie on it.

*Mushy apples. That gives me a perfect excuse to make applesauce.

*Kicking off my socks in bed, under two blankets.

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