The Assignment

I am thrilled .. my assigned final site is Khemisset. When I first heard that I was accepted to Peace Corps/Morocco, I did not give much thought on my site assignment due to the adrenaline rush that I was going to live in Africa for a couple of years. When I arrived in Morocco, I told the PC staff that I did not have a preference for my final site; heck, I did not even give them a preference for crafts/artisans to work with .. I was so low-key, the others were not sure if I had a blood pressure to indicate life. However, all this changed towards the end of phase II of the community-based training.

After a total of about three weeks at the community-based training site (Khemisset), I made the decision to speak up that I wanted Khemisset as my final site. Two others also made this request, while the rest left it up to the PC/Morocco staff to make the determination (with input from individuals regarding the assigned final sites). Many factors went into the decision to request the site as my final site, the top three factors:
Though Khemisset is not included in all guidebooks (sigh), I hope all of you will come to visit .. you'll have a place to stay, or at least a guide around town! I'll post info (re: demographics, crime stats, etc.) in a future post, as I'm a bit exhausted from this morning's jaunt to my final site -- took me three cabs rides (instead of the usual two) and over four hours (instead of the usual two) to get to my site; I was not aggressive enough to elbow out the Berber grandmothers for a seat when taxis pulled up.

NB: As with most images on this blog, click on them to enlarge.

Peace Corps site announcement
With site assignment announced, SF** feverishly pins names to locations*** .. she's just way too organized; for gosh sake, she writes in upper caps (except when emailing).

leaving for assigned sites
TK, KM, VS, EH** and I were the last group to leave for our respective final sites; the first group left around 5:15am .. you think it would take them 40 days and nights to get to their final sites!

This is grandma MA** of my host-family; actually, both grandmothers were master weavers. Click on the image to enlarge and see the tattoos on her face (they are also on her hands and legs). This is a common practice for older textile weavers. As a master weaver, she has a large collection of carpets and blankets of amazing quality.

Hands of a Berber carpet weaver
Click here to see a sampling of carpets and blankets the other grandmother's hands have woven.

berber grandma and grandson
Here is the other grandma with great-grandson, HA Jr**.

spending time with the family on aid segir, the little feast
This family picture is on the morning of l3id ssgira [little feast]; this picture is here because it did not make it into the last posting. The guy in the cap is an uncle who dropped by for one of the dozen little breakfasts I had that morning! Missing from this picture is my little sister (she spent the night at a relative's].

* many pictures will be posted of my homestay family over the next couple of months
** actual names have been changed/withheld for obvious reasons
*** due to security and safety policy, volunteer locations and names are not identified here or privately, so don't even bother emailing/asking me regarding this topic me
tags: .
another point of view ...

Anonymous cindy

Hey Nam,
Congrats on your site assignment; sounds like it's a really good place to be and I hope the family can visit you sometime next year.


Blogger Fred

Great assignment. The pictures are wonderful, too. I'm sure you'll have lots to blog about.

Blogger hale

Hey Nam

Great Assignment. Hope to hear about the carvers with lots of pictures. Do they use machine tools (eg: Foredoms or other hand-held rotating tool machines?) Who makes their knives? What kind of wood do they use and where do they get it? Are their designs traditional or do they update them from time to time?

I 'clicked' on Granma MA but the link must be slightly broken!

Thanks for the 'secret knowledge' HTML code! (smile)


Blogger Nam LaMore

CINDY: thanks for swinging by .. never thought that you were into blog surfing! so, hope to see you next year .. and let me know if you need anything for that new house!

FRED: thanks so much for your kind words .. i am thankful that i got this assignment .. some of the other locations are a bit challenging for me (like having no electricity or running water) .. yeah, I'm spoiled that way!

HALE: ok .. all fixed with the broken link .. en sha llah. do let me know if you need help with coding, it's not terribly fun to code the long way. when i was in corporate, i sat next to the company's web-mistress and she gave me tutorials "after work" (there is never "after work" in corporate!). i still write her from time to time to get advice! :-)

Anonymous Anonymous

Those carpets look so cool.

Blogger Scott

Hey Nam,
My wife and I just applied to the PC, and hear back on a post in early May. We've visited Morocco, and would love to end up there. We have expressed this, but are worried we may not be placed in Morocco. Do you have any advice?

speak up!

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