Friday, November 21, 2008

Things that are different

A couple months ago I posted an entry about how its difficult for me to know how to explain Morocco in my blog because Im used to things that would be interesting to you all. Well Ive been thinking about those things and compiled a list of them.

Almost all houses in my village and surrounding communities are made of mud and dirt. Its actually a really good thing because the walls are like 2 feet thick and so they insulate really well.

I live at the base of a 10000 foot mountain.

There is one store in my community where I can buy the barest essentials. I buy almost everything on my weekly trip to market, 28km away.

Nearly everyone in my village has farm animals. Mules, chickens, donkeys, cows. Lots of people have big flocks of sheep and or goats. Animals are critical to survival.

People plow their fields here using mules. They know what tractors are.

Bread is eaten at every meal. Wheat is the staple food. People are incredulous when I tell them I dont eat bread in my house.

Most people here pray 5 times a day. I have not yet met a Moroccan who has told me he doesnt believe in God. One more educated guy has been for weeks slowly admitting to me that he doesnt take the whole religion thing very seriously.

Most men see prostitutes fairly regurarly.

Most people in my site cant read. Those who can read read the Koran almost exclusively. My estimate is that I individually have read more books than the combined population of my greater Caid area. A region that includes maybe 20000 people.

I live in a patriarchal society. When there is a marriage, the wife moves into the husbands familys home.

There are men who have flocks of sheep a couple hundred heads big. They spend weeks at a time in the mountains herding.

My village has had electricity for about 13 years. There are nearby villages and homes that do not have electricity or running water.

Speech here is full of references to God.

The best and easiest way for men in my village to get ahead in life is to join the army. They serve for several months a year, but when they come home they are the richest people in town.

It is entirely impossible for me to date someone from my village. I would have to get married.

Update

Things are going well. I feel as though I have less time for writing for the blog, but thats because Ive got more of other stuff going on. So thats good. This past week I travelled with a man from my neighboring village to another village where people are working on a similar project. I think it was a good trip.

The big news in my village is that about half of its population is gone. Apparently everyone who has big herds of sheep leaves the village for the winter and goes South with their sheep. I guess there is no grass for them to eat during the winter here. People say that they will be gone until May. In related news its getting kind of cold in my site. I use my wood stove a lot.

Hope all is well.

1 comment:

maryellen said...

nice post, buddy. i agree, good news that you don't have as much time to write! so only men go south with the animals? isn't south the sahara? are you the only guy left in the village?

here's an article about princess lalla speaking out against violence toward women in the UN: http://www.unifem.org/news_events/story_detail.php?StoryID=766

love, ma