Wednesday, September 23, 2009


At the conclusion of Ramadan is the L3id ftir, or the small holiday. It is a celebration of the end of the month of fasting, observed by Muslims. The day was a particuraly action packed for me, so here is an account of the day:

5:45 am, wake up, go to my host familys.
6:00 Wait around at my host familys while people get ready for the days festivities.
6:30 My host dad, some neighbors, and I walked around to different peoples houses. At every house, tea, cookies, and a milky sort of pasta is served. Its a chance to visit people and eat food after a month of fasting. People were in a good mood and said nice things to me about fasting.
8:00 I went to three more houses after I finished walking around with the group. These were people who had invited me to come over the day before. I went to the fkeihs (religious leader) house, Unasrs house, and my good friend Driss ou abess house. More tea, cookies, and milky pasta.
9:00 I went to the center of town and talked with the men. It was a sunny day and maybe thirty men were standing around, chatting. The call to prayer went off and a lot of the men went to make their L3id prayers (outside).
10:00 I went inside and started doing some fall cleaning. My house was badly in need of it.
Noon I went back to my host familys house for lunch. During Ramadan, I had only been eating break fast food with them, so this was the first time in a month that I had eaten a tajine (traditional moroccan dish). I cant say that I missed it. But It was good to sit with my host family and chat with them while they were in such a good mood.
1:30 Went back to my house to finish cleaning, read a little bit, and take a nap.
4:00 After waking, I left my house and went back to the center of town to hang out with people. I played this game that people here call fili, which is a board game. Its a complicated game and I still lose most of the time, but Im hoping to master the game before I leave. While we were playing, an argument erupted. The commune had set a bunch of sugar and tea (typical government give away) outside for people to take. I guess a bunch of wealthier people in town helped themselves. Buaza got really angry and started yelling at those people. He said that they should leave the giveaways for the poor people. It was starting to get ugly, so I went to Saids house.
5:00 Saids daughter is the most educated female in my site. She is nineteen and starting her first year at university. She majors in English, which she speaks pretty well. Said asked me to come to their house on a regular basis to help her. Im normally oppossed to English tutoring, but this girl is very motivated and I like helping her. We have very honest conversations about gender in Morocco and sort of honest conversations about religion. I learn a lot from her. Pretty soon I will devote an entire post to our conversations. While there, I also spoke with Said about people in Agoudim. He told me that there are people who have hundreds of thousands of dirhms (maybe 30000 dollars) in Agoudim. There are some poor people, but there are also people who are rich from herding huge flocks of sheep. I always have a difficult time guaging the wealth of my village and this was an interesting conversation. Saids wife, Itto, and I also had an intersting conversation about womens attitudes towards birthing in my village. I will probably try to get her to come to the training that Im holding.
7:15 I left Saids house and ran into my friend, Driss ou abess. He started telling me about his difficulties sleeping, which result from stress. It was the first time that a Moroccan had opened up to me about their personal problems. I felt like it was a big step in terms of the level of trust that he had in me. He has been trying to start a little hotel place for tourists, and he was just venting his worries about getting that going and balancing that work with all of his farming responsibilities. It was heart to heart.
8:00 Driss and I started walking to a syba (big dinner to celebrate a birth; most men in village are invited). On the way we ran into a group of young men, walking the opposite direction. They told us that a fight had broken out. Apparently Driss ou Kajoj had approached Moolay ou Atman and struck him. Some other people got in the middle and were hurt as well. All people were saying was "the guy is crazy. the fight was about nothing."
8:35 Driss and I arrived at the syba. Lots of older men were there and everyone was talking about the fight. People were saying some pretty negative stuff about how bad people were in general. There was a metaphor about how life is as a dark as night. The fkeih starts the prayers (typical at a syba). We have some food. People were really nice to me, telling me how good I was at Tamazight and how much a part of the community I was. Assou told me that if there was a foreigner Tamazight test, then I would be the best. After food, the fkeih started talking about the correct way for people to do their prayers, and everyone was getting really into it, asking him questions and arguing with each other.
11:00 Back home, read, write, sleep.

So it was a full day. I felt as though I reached a new level of connectedness with my community and that I learned a lot about the comings and goings. Very rewarding. Other than that day, Im busy preparing for the maternal and child health training thats happening in a week. Im going to the provincial capital tomorrow to get final approval. Dont expect a post this weekend.

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