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Saturday, March 12, 2011

a Journal Entry from a Year Ago

Here is an entry from my first Peace Corps Journal (I am now on my second). It is from my first week spent with my host family in Ait Gmat on the Dades river. I was getting to know my family and my fellow trainees and had no idea where my site was as of yet. It's a good look back....

03.09.2010 (Day 9)

The wind howled all night last night. I slept very hard though, and awoke without knowing where I was, but my confusion made me smile. I was energized all day and enjoyed myself thoroughly. I felt like we were connecting to the community today, especially on our community walk out into the countryside. Everyone is so very friendly and I spoke to many people.

The countryside is beautiful here, and there are raised paths between fields of wheat and clover. These are bordered by blooming almond and apricot trees and what I swear is aspen. Silvery olive trees are everywhere; in fields and in every courtyard and garden. These fields have been cultivated for more than 1000 years and the crumbling kasbah that we walked through to is testament to the region's violent past. The valleys of the Dades and Draa anre the first actual civilization you hit coming north from the Sahara so the kasbahs defended the local people from Tuareg raids and also served as centers of commerce.

It's all so rich and fascinating and I am devouring every moment; the warm breezes, the rich golden light, and the echoing call to prayer. This country is beautiful and mysterious. I know this euphoria will not last, but taking it one day at a time, I think the two years will fly by in no time at all. Well, now to my host family, to dinner, and tomorrow to Ouarzazate for debriefing.


It's strange, in some ways it feels like my life has started over. I am learning even the most fundamental things in life all over again: how to use the toilet, even how to eat. This evening Hayat was having a great time teaching me to eat lentils with my fingers. I felt like an accomplished toddler when I finally figured it out and was lauded by the family.

I look forward to experiencing my site, wherever the heck it is, for two years. The opportunity to watch a village grow and change throughout the seasons will be a joy indeed.


And it still is... There have been many ups and downs, some of which you have read about here on this blog, but ultimately the euphoria did give way to a gentle acceptance and contentment. I am happy to be here, I am happy to stay, and in a year's time, I will be happy to return home with stories and memories to share with you all.

Thanks for reading,