So as many of you know, I really want to study Darija (Moroccan Arabic) while I’m in the Peace Corps. Well, yesterday, we found out our language groups. I’ll be studying Tamazight. Tamazight is a Berber language that is only spoken by 11 million people in the world, almost all of whom live in Morocco. Since learning a useful language is a big reason I joined the Peace Corps, I was disappointed. But I think Peace Corps is going to be about getting over disappointments quickly and making the most of the situation, so I’m over it. And here’s why.
I’m still going to be able to study Arabic. Right now, Tamazight has to be my focus so that I can communicate with my community and be effective at my job. But once I get comfortable with Tamazight, I can get serious about Arabic. The Peace Corps provides a monthly allowance to spend on language tutoring. There are no limitations imposed by the Peace Corps about what languages you can learn with this money. I’ve been told that most teachers at the locals school will speak classical Arabic in addition to Darija, so I can use the money to study that if I want. There’s no question that being in a village whose primary village is Tamazight will make it harder to learn Arabic, but if I put effort into it and go a little out of my way, I’ll be able to study what I want.
One bonus of being in a Tamazight site is that I’ll probably be placed in the mid to high Atlas Mountains, which is where I want to be. The temperature will be reasonable and there will be a regular sort of winter, with snow. I’ll be within a stone’s throw of some amazing hikes. Plus, the Tamazight sites are closer to big cities like Marakech and Rabat. So all in all, I’m just fine with studying Tamazight.
Another thing is that I think Im going to have to get used to disappointment and setback in the Peace Corps. Obviously, a lot of things aren’t going to work out like I plan, so maybe this is good practice.
That’s it for now, we go to our CBTs (Community Based Training) on Sunday. The family that I’ll be staying with has 12 people in it. There are two brothers, their wives, and their children. They are a farming family. The two wives are the only two females, so most of the people are boys between the ages of 5 and 19. I am going to play so much soccer. It’s exciting and I can’t wait.
ps to alexs question: no, i dont think that revealing my honorary status would be a good idea here, unfortunately. but that doesnt mean im not proud.
miss you all, salaam