I spent this past weekend at Donna's village. She asked me to help her facilitate a follow-up cheese making workshop. At the Taroudant Craft Fair, Donna met a goat milk seller, who could not turn profit on selling milk. Donna told her of a cheese making workshop Lisa Payne had conducted the week prior. They successfully made yogurt cheese, feta, cottage cheese, cheesecake, you name it. Perhaps the woman could profit from the value added. Since Donna now knows how to make cheese, all I needed to do was translate.
Regretfully, the woman called the morning before sending her regrets. She had a meeting in Taroudant and therefore could not make it to the workshop. By this time, I already arrived. Such goes life in Morocco. What do we do now?
Lucky for us, Lisa can work miracles in the kitchen. She has an amazing ice cream recipe, which uses readily available ingredients in Morocco. What could be more fulfilling on a 130 degree day?! The ladies at Donna's Association couldn't agree more! We ran to the hanut (corner store), bought necessary ingredients and lead an ice cream workshop for 12 people. We made two flavors of ice cream- chocolate and apricot. The first time, Donna and I handled everything. For the second batch, we asked the women to take over. Bouchra, who is at the top of the Arabic literacy classes, immediately rolled back her sleeves and happily demonstrated her new learned knowledge. With promises of an afternoon ice cream social, the women agreed to meet again in the evening.
The ice cream took a bit longer than expected to freeze. Donna and I used this time to conduct a team building exercise. We gave everyone a picture of a tree. In the ground by the tree roots, we instructed them to draw things they loved- their foundation. In the tree's leaves, we had them draw their hopes and dreams. It took constant encouragement for the women to start filling up their paper. But pretty soon, the women were giggling and drawing away. After an hour or so of drawing, we asked each of the women to present her tree. It was humbling to hear what they had to share. I think this activity does a great job not only of team building, but individual empowerment. This might have been the first time anyone has asked these women to think seriously about goals and the future. It also is a rare opportunity for these women to speak in front of a group.
When Donna ran to grab the ice cream, I also walked them through a simple math exercise. We calculated the ice cream costs. Not counting labor, it takes 20 MAD to make a tub of ice cream! Everyone got a spoon and scoopfuls of homemade ice cream. What a treat! What a day!
Last night, me and my 12 year old neighbor, Omayma, made chocolate and banana ice cream. By morning, the ice cream was ready to eat! With three spoons, Fatima (her mother), Omayma and I dug into the tupperware Moroccan style (eating directly from the tupperware while respecting our "triangles."). Ice cream for breakfast! Is there any other way to start a summer day?