By Volunteer Casey (Staj 100)
Staj 101 is here and because my final site is a training site, staff from Headquarters are roaming in and out of my places of work and two training groups have jumped off the deep end and are fully engaged in the awful work/life balance that is PST. And while I’m excited to work with them and get to know them, I find myself in a bittersweet mood because their arrival means your imminent departure, and I’m not quite ready for that.
You were there when we got off the plane. You were our online mentors before that but we didn’t know your faces. When we saw you at the airport we didn’t know who you were or why you were there taking pictures of us in hour 30 of our travel but then again I didn’t know who I was sitting next to on the plane/bus/dinner table. You were there at the hotel the next morning when we were bright eyed and sleep-deprived and asked you what the same 7 questions over and over again. You were at the first trainings, at training sites, at clusters and hubs, and when we set off to our final sites, you went with us (or met us along the way). Thank you.
جمعية بسمة: قصة لروح مجتمع شباب مغاربة
Written By (كاتبة): PCV Adriana Curto
Translated By (مترجم): Ismail Fatihi
A year and a half ago, a few girls and I were working on a project to celebrate International Women’s Day, 2018. We were walking around the high school interviewing students to create a mini-documentary about women’s roles in society & in Morocco. Shaimaa and her charismatic personality lead the interviews. As I was re-watching the clips, there was a rather in-depth interview response given by a boy named Hamid. Who was this Hamid?
Six months ago, the foreign screeches of ten sewing machines began humming in a rural Moroccan village in the Middle Atlas Mountains. Amongst a cedar forest and fruit orchards, the echoes of the machines sounded more like rusty old diesel engines, 26-year-old Peace Corps Volunteer Audrey Huetteman recalls.
Forty women had enrolled in a six-month sewing training program with uncertain hopes of learning a new technical skill that could potentially lead to job opportunities. The women were nervous-excited, Audrey says. Daunted by the six months ahead.
Whether you have questions about what to bring or what daily life might look like at site, the answer is probably here!
There is also a lot of great information under For Applicants & Future Trainees and For Americans!
1) Packing Advice
Where can we find packing lists?
By Jamie, Volunteer (Staj 100)
“Why am I doing this?” I think again as I’m peddling with all my might into a dry, desert headwind with a slightly flat front tire and an empty stomach from Ramadan fasting.
I bike two miles four-days-a-week from my town to the local Dar Talib and Dar Taliba where kids from duars off the main road attend in my area. These dormitories sit next to the lycee, college and 9ida (administration building), and there is a constant traffic of bikes, school vans, and walkers hiking up and down this trek.
At first, I hated the ride. The way there is mostly uphill, drari constantly yell “Bonjour” in my face like it’s a challenge, and students sharing the road leer at me as I pass. I constantly stress that my knee-length dresses are riding up over my leggings and wonder if my butt is too provocative for my site’s standards. I can’t enjoy taking in the lustrous date forest adjacent to my twirling wheels, or marvel over the crumbling kasbahs peppering the black and white highway. Sometimes the social taboos are just too overpowering to take in the beautiful uniqueness of my home.
By Jacob, Volunteer (Staj 100)
I had just gotten home from my region’s book club when Said called me,
“Come over to my house so we can talk about next week.”
“I don’t know where your house is.”
“Just ask, tell people you’re looking for where Said the barber lives.”
By Audrey, Volunteer (Staj 99)
I had spent all day scurrying around my village’s new Women’s Sewing Educational Training Center assisting the women with their sewing problems such as replacing broken needles, helping remove sewing thread that had been jammed in the bobbin case, changing presser feet, running around handing out scissors, paper, zippers, needles, and fabric, helping with basic sewing, and encouraging them. I was pooped! Women commonly ask me over to their homes at the end of the day to gossip and have tea. No offense to them, but after such a busy day, that was the last thing I wanted to do. I needed some solitude, so I made a beeline to my house, grabbed my headphones, put on an audio of Michelle Obama’s book “Becoming”, and started walking though the farm fields.
Newly sworn-in PCV Jonah Vanroekel spoke to his fellow trainees at the Volunteer Swearing-In Ceremony on November 29, 2018. Here is his speech:
Now, it's my turn to give a long-winded speech that could have been an e-mail.
I want to start by saying, from all of us, thank you. Thank you to the Peace Corps staff for putting up with 100 naive, ideological Americans with so much time on their hands, and so desperate for meaning that they travelled halfway across the globe with the simple goals of changing the world and getting some good Instagram photos. Thank you to our LCFs, to the people back home, and to our host families. Thank you to the communities who have welcomed us, and those about to welcome us. For many of us, this was a dream years in the making, and it’s hard to overstate the role that each one of you played in getting us here.
We are Staj 100. We arrived in Morocco on September 11, 2018, and have now completed CBT after having many fantastic experiences and going on many great adventures.
We're wrapping up our #55YearsOfFriendship campaign. We sure are grateful for the past 55 years of Peace Corps in Morocco and all the friends we've met along the way, and we're excited about all the future years and friendships awaiting us. Thank you to all that contributed to our campaign by sharing stories, pictures, videos, memories and support. Here's to #ManyMoreYearsOfFriendship here in Morocco.
Don't worry, we will still be updating this page with more stories and photos of the continued friendship our volunteers foster.
من أجل سنوات أخرى من الصداقة
إننا نختتم حملتنا #55 سنة من الصداقة. من المؤكد أننا ممتنون لـ 55 عامًا الماضية لهيئة السلام في المغرب وجميع الأصدقاء الذين قابلناهم طوال المشوار ، ونحن متحمسون لجميع السنوات المقبلة والصداقات التي تنتظرنا. شكرًا لجميع الذين ساهموا في حملتنا من خلال مشاركة القصص والصور ومقاطع الفيديو والذكريات والدعم. إليكم، من أجل #سنوات أخرى من الصداقة هنا في المغرب.
لا تقلق ، سنستمر في تحديث هذه الصفحة بمزيد من القصص والصور عن الصداقة المستمرة التي يعززها متطوعينا.
Newly sworn-in PCV Lauren Bullock spoke to her fellow trainees at the Volunteer Swearing-In Ceremony on November 29, 2018. Here is her speech:
Every place on this earth has a spirit of its own. A spirit that makes it unique. We are no different. Each of us came to Morocco with a unique spirit and our own set of gifts, not because this country needs saving, but because of our need to make a complete mess with our passion and love for human connection. The time we spend here is about how well our spirits and gifts connect with the people of Morocco and the essence of this majestic place.
As we transition into the next phase of our service it is important for us to understand that just as sure as there will be high days, there will be low days as well. Days that we may feel defeated, unneeded, or overwhelmed by our experiences here. But, I encourage you to find the opportunities that exist within the low days.