The Gaza Strip (not really)

I update this blog sporatically as cyber access can be unreliable and unpredictable ... hmm, I'm sure I learned the word "sporatically" from Jane-Austen-classic-Sense-&-Sensibility-modern-take-Clueless (re: Alicia Silverstone, Brittany Murphy; a smart-ass from down under nudged me that it was based on Austen's "Emma"), but I digress .. Today (Nov 3) was the last day of Ramadan in Morocco .. yeah! Tomorrow is known as l3id s-sgir [little feast]. Though it is a three day, religious holiday for the whole of Morocco, the Peace Corps trainees only get one day off .. still, no mdrasa [school] is nice as I can actually stay up late and hang-out with my homestay family. The end of Ramadan means that we're back on a "regular" schedule*:
I'm bummed that Ramadan is over, as there will be no more lftar [breaking of the fast] or invitations to lftar; some food is prepared only during Ramadan. Also, waking up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom can lead to hanging out with the family until dawn; ma loom [of course], this means i was often dozzing off during my language & culture sessions. Of the 30 days of Ramadan, I fasted for 25 days; I did not fast part of the fieldtrip and a couple of days due to illness (thank goodness the "big D"** hasn't visited me yet!).

As with most images on this blog, click on them to enlarge.
NB: actual names are withheld for obvious reasons.

First off, this post is dedicated to Babs .. 'nuff said.

This is my extended homestay family in Khemisset. Hearing from what the other trainees have said of their homestay experience, I'm confident that my homestay family has unofficially won "Best Homestay Family" Award! The lingual-fencing can be intimidating***, but that's just an added benefit as I continue to improve my language skills.

Host xuti [my sister] is an expert henna [temporary tattoo] applicator; and since l3id s-sgir is one of the major holidays, she's been busy round-the-clock doing henna with her female friends and family; males only get henna for marriage ceremonies.

As I am the only Asian in a city of 100,000, people are naturally curious about me and what I'm doing in Morocco .. hence, I've made a few friends on my daily route to school. One of my favorite stops is this metalshop run by two brothers (their kids help out). It bums me that the kids aren't in school, but at least they're learning a useful craft and staying out of trouble.

My homestay family presented me with a tailored j-jalab [traditional hooded coat]. I was so touched that I was in tears for about 15 mins. My super-smart, astronaut-bound host brother gave me a pair of brlgha [traditional slippers]; the my freakin' smart host brother-physics-math-major is gonna graduate from Rabat Univeristy in May '06 and hopes to attend a top university in Paris for his graduate studies .. en sha llah.

I've gone to the fairground a few times with xuya [my brother]. Though no Disneyland, I still had fun .. but you won't catch me on some of the amusement rides; hmmm, the littered loose screws make me a bit mqllqa [nervous] about mechanical safety (it's not a top-of-mind concern here).

It's true that I cross a dirt field (reminescent of the Gaza Strip landscape) to get to mdrasa [school]; it was a turn-off at first, but the scenery has grown on me and I actually look forward to seeing what new "treasures" can be found during my daily crossing.

* Nothing has been "regular" since the start of Staging in Philadelphia.
** diarrhea
*** Spoken language heard around the house: d-darija (Moroccan Arabic), Fusia (classical Arabic), Tamazight (Berber dialect), Tashelhet (Berber dialect), Terifet (Berber dialect), French, Spanish, and English.
tags: ...
another point of view ...

Blogger Kallun

Wasn't it based on Emma?

Blogger Nam LaMore

KALLUN: i didn't expect anyone visiting my blog to actually be literate .. damn you for screwing up my demographics!?!

yeah, you're right, "clueless" (the title to my life) is based off of austen's "emma" .. score one to you for deplomacy, as you tactfully did not bring up my shuma [shame] for erring ms austen's name .. i'll have to revise/edit at some point.

Blogger Kallun

So I win a prize or something, right?

Blogger Nam LaMore

well, you have a great tajine and couscous meal waiting for you .. swing by morocco on your free time; also, i could probably throw in a belly-dancer :-)

Anonymous CC

Did you really fasted those many days during Ramadan? That's very impressive.

speak up!

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