and Living in Morocco - Part 2
Campbell from Michigan
shares more journal entries of her time in the
Peace Corps in Morocco.
sitting in the Sahara Desert
Here I sit in an Internet café in Er
Rachidia (the nearest city), mere hours after
sleeping on the dunes of the Sahara. We took Land
Rovers to Merzouga, then hiked in a couple of
kilometers to a ridge on the dunes and set up our
was so coolwe just hiked in and plopped down.
No fees to pay, guides to bribe, no one to shoo us
away. We arrived just as the sun was setting, and
the dunes were a rusty gold. The moon was nearly
fullit stayed bright enough all night that we
didn't even need flashlights. We saw several
This was a fun lesson. This was the eighth time I'd
seen this group, so they're a bit used to my
approach. If I'd tried this the first week, no one
ever would have come back! They're breaking out of
their molds a little bit, but I think they think
I'm completely daft. I gave each student a playing
card as they walked in, to split them into groups.
in itself got them all riled up, because they have
different playing cards here. So we had to spend a
minute talking about the King, Queen, Jack ("What's
a Jack, Teacher? Is he like a prince?" "Ummmmm, a
Jack kind of helps the King and Queen."
never thought about the Jack before! What the heck
does he do?) But I digress. I wanted to break up
their little cliques and get boys mixed with girls,
so I had each suit (another short vocab
lessonthis one aided by illustrations on the
board: ? ? ? ?) sit together.
(During Ramadan, the holy month of religious
fasting in Islam) The ultimate in irony today. As
the US geared up for its third consecutive night of
airstrikes in Iraq, I sat with my Muslim family for
three hours making shebakia (a special
(After I asked some students why so few returned to
classes after Ramadan) A communicative teacher's
nightmare. They said that no one comes anymore
because I do new things, instead of just
re-teaching or pre-teaching what they learn in the
lycée. That's apparently what they want:
review of the grammar they learn in school.
basically I killed myself thinking up fun stuff,
crazy props, memory tricks and the like for three
months, and they want me to lecture on grammar and
give them exercises.
frustrating! I've been trying so hard all year to
come up with creative lessons that require them to
think critically, break out of the mold, stretch
their minds, and now they tell me they want
[During the holiday commemorating the
coronation of the King] Headed into town for
Throne Day festivities. Rich was hopping! Women,
children and men swarmed downtown (I use the term
"downtown" loosely!), live music was played, and
carpets were spread on sidewalks as makeshift
headed to the dar chebab for a kiddie
programadorable munchkins, boys in white
djellebahs and red fezzes, girls in frilly white
dresses with red vests. Looked like every Christmas
pageant I've ever seen: Abdullah forgets his lines,
Hakima hides behind her dress, Saïd runs
around disrupting, Aïcha sucks her thumb, and
(Written during a camel trek out of Zagora, in
southern Morocco) The camels. How to describe them?
These were four of the saddest, mangiest most
flea-bitten critters I've ever seen. You've heard
of "The Ships of the Desert"? No, no. These were
maybe Dinghies of the Desert.
Sandy and Thomas Peters -