As Time Goes By

The last few months could have gone better. Busy with work was not a problem, but getting sick for prolonged periods really got to me. I remember my programming staff saying, "Volunteers get very busy six to nine months into service as you begin to get a grasp of the kind of work you'll engage for the remainder of the service." When this was said, I remember rolling my eyes to which my programming staff shot a look that could kill. Well, I've sent an apologetic note to the programming staff doubting her words.

This is my First Year In Service Activities Calendar (click image to enlarge), and you can see that I've been very busy.

First Year Activities Calendar

To my amazement, my language is much better than I give myself credit for; this was brought to my attention when a fellow Volunteer visited my site and commented that I seem confident in speaking the language1! Community leaders, including my at-site work supervisor and counterpart, no longer refer to me as miskin (poor thing). My local green grocer knows what veggies I ask for and sets them aside for me. My local post master knows to hold my mail when I tell him I won't be back for a couple of weeks due to a craft fair. My assigned policeman no longer feels like he has to follow me because he knows I can handle the verbal harassment and curiosity from neighborhood kids.

In addition to having a busy schedule, I've also had to deal with giardia, dysentery and relapses2; Pepto can only go so far before the doctor gave me something much stronger. Though my stomach of iron has been compromised, I've not cowered behind my own cooking. On the contrary, I've been eating at far more adventuresome places (... to be recounted another time). O the joy to provide "samples-on-demand" for lab analysis! I think I've finally got the parasites out of my system, as I've been able to function normally in the recent weeks and no longer on the BRATT3 diet.

1. In reality, I often just use simple phrases that are widely spoken in my site. As with most sites in Morocco, this is a multi-lingual site where French, Darija (Moroccan Arabic, and Berber dialects (three of them) are widly spoken.
2. There was a period of three weeks that I left my apartment only three times a week to get needed food & bottled water.
3. Bananas, Rice, Apples, Tea and Toast.

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