Spring in Khemisset

Though it rained non-stop for the last forty days and nights, requiring me to inquire about the possibility of when and where to embark on the Ark, the weather is starting to improve. Instead of snow in this part of the region of the Middle Atlas, I get plenty of rain here during the winter months. My homestay family says it will be like this for another month or so. When it is not raining and swiya [a bit/little] dry, I try to go on a long bike-ride to explore the country-side. It is far too cold to stay indoors this time of the year. Everything is so green and lush; indeed, spring is here.

The homestay family has been great; however, I can officially move out Feb 1 into my own dar [house/apartment]. In a fairly large town (as far as Peace Corps is concerned), I thought I would have the pick of the litter when it comes to housing1; after a few weeks of looking at more than 25 housing options, here are the highlights: Either I am not looking hard enough or my vocabulary is way off; most likely the latter. I am extending my homestay experience until I can find a dar that my homestay family won't laugh when inspecting it with me. Sorry, no pictures of these places ... am pretty sure I don't want to remember them.

Spring in the Middle Atlas
What is this purple flower?Paperwhite Narcissus Plants Grow Wild in the Middle AtlasInteresting purple bloom, no smell at all
Aside from the wild paperwhite narcissus, I have not a clue to the names of all the wild flowers and plants springing up in the country-side. Lacking any Berber folklore stories about the Rite of Spring, here is an abridged version from Greek mythology: the semi-annual visit from Persephone, Queen of the Underworld and Eternal Spring Daughter, to her mother Demeter, the Great Mother of the Harvest, brings about joy and happiness between Mother and Daughter, creating the seasons of Spring and Summer.

Crossroads - where to go next?Crossroads - where to go next?
My bike rides into the country-side are done with some randomness. I am still in the exploratory stage and really don't know what will be around the next bend. As the months pass, I'm sure to find favorite spots2 and will return often.

Douar outside of Khemisset, MoroccoFarmhouse outside of Khemisset, MoroccoCandyland (olive farm) outside of Khemisset, Morocco
Stopped by a douar [small village, characterized by mud/clay baked homes, this one had brick buildings lining the main street] to get some water from the common well. I would have stopped by the farmhouse and Candyland (really an olive farm) for water, but "Keep Out" & "Trespassers Not Wanted" were clearly written all over these places.

Spring in Khemisset, MoroccoBerber Shepherdess in Khemisset, Morocco
Seems that some of the sheep managed to escape from Aid Kbir of last week, or maybe this Berber shepherdess and her family are vegetarians.

Mosque at Sunset in Khemisset, MoroccoEnd of a long bike-riding day
Sunset calls to prayer from the surrounding mosques helped me to keep a good pace as I furiously biked home at neck-breaking speed before the impending storm and darkness that evening.

DRAFT - catalog
DRAFT - catalogDRAFT - catalog
Just so American tax-payers do not think I am here living the good life3, here is one of the multiple projects I have been working on. This draft-catalog4, still researching and writing textcopy as of this post, will target corporate buyers and wholesale/retail distributors. I hope to have this in a satisfactory condition in another few weeks; it will remain in English until my French and/or Arabic improves.

ethereal box of randomness
delivering a breached baby
logically, i know the steps to delivering a breached baby. on a cold, bored evening recently, i flipped though "where there is no doctor" and decided to read the chapter about delivering a breached baby.

1. Housing options are limited to the generous (by host-country standards) monthly rental allowance. I can deal with outdoor plumbing if necessary; I know I can make this work.
2. One of my favorite spots so far was discovered on the first bike ride into the country-side a few weeks ago.
3. Am cold because I am in the Middle Atlas without heat in the house, and with fun illnesses as traveler's sickness, pink eye, etc
4. My vision for this "brochure": change the focus of the sales brochure and add more content (text and images) so it can be a proper coffee-table book; however, that requires more than Monopoly money. Anyone got a contact at Simon & Schuster? No, I'm not kidding.

tags: ..
another point of view ...

Blogger Peri


Wow, that tree pic is so pretty, and your catalog draft is also. The photos are great!

Sounds like one has to be 'hardy' to live there. For some reason I thought they would be vegetarian because of religious beliefs?
Hope you find a good place.
 

Blogger Samir


A dar of your own! Good luck - I am sure you will find one that is perfect, inshallah!
That was a great post as usual - thanks. Still three months before I hit the ground in Fez - can't wait. Stay safe.
 

Blogger Nam LaMore


PERI: you do have to be in good health to be in the Peace Corps -- the medical and dental screening uncovers everything. Meat is a big part of the diet here - no meal is complete (except breakfast) unless meat is included!

SAMIR: looking forward to your arrival, but I bet it is warmer wherever you are than in the Middle Atlas (though it is nice to wake up to a pile of blankets).
 

Blogger mquest


Your pictures are great. I hope you find a good place to live. I thought all places came with a window.
 

Blogger Nam LaMore


MQUEST: and i think your pictures are great, too! i want to learn the secret of adding nice borders and text. i like your inspiration captions of mquest, jr.

i'm very certain that moroccans like the interior of their homes to be nice and dark, gives a sense of privacy.
 

Blogger mquest


the secret is here:
http://flagrantdisregard.com/flickr/
It is for flickr- but I bet you could save the images and pot them with out using flickr.
 

speak up!


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