Monday, November 30, 2009

Holidays and Other News

I have been eating lots the past week.

Last Thursday, of course, was Thanksgiving. 8 PCVs gathered in Tounfite to celebrate. We killed 2 turkeys and made a bunch of other food. We invited a Moroccan family that we are close to come and celebrate with us. It was there 2nd Thanksgiving in a row; they like the holiday a lot. I made mashed potatoes: about six pounds of potatoes and nearly a pound of butter. Delicious. The celebration was a lot of fun, but this is the 3rd Thanksgiving in a row that I have been out of America for. Next year I hope to be home.

Saturday was the biggest Moroccan (and Muslim) holiday of the year. The holiday is a celebration of when Ibrahim was told by God to sacrifice his son, Ishmael. Just as Ibrahim was about to make the sacrifice, God told him to sacrifice a sheep instead. It's a story about faith and obedience. Lots of people here are surprised that I know the parable because they don't know that it's a story from the Old Testament.

Everyone in my community slaughters a goat or sheep (or two) for the holiday. Once again, I helped my host family slaughter and skin their goat. There are two especially gross parts. First, after the goat is dead, you cut a little hole in its skin near the foot to start skinning it. You blow a bunch of air into this hold which kind of inflates the goat and makes skinning easier. The second gross part is once the goat has been skinned, getting rid of the innards. In order to flush all of the shit of the goats intestines and stomach, you fill the intestines with water and blow on the opening of the intestine until the water runs out. I did both of these gross things this year. I think it's important to be able to prepare/kill animals if you are going to eat them. Taking part in the slaughter makes me want to go back to being a vegitarian.

My host dad's brother died a week and a half ago. My host "uncle" lived a couple hours away, so I had never met him. My host dad went to stay with that family for a couple days for the funeral. Upon his return, nearly everybody in town has been coming to the house to pay their condolonces. My host mom complains a lot about having to serve them all tea and all the extra work from having guests. But at the same time, she told me that she's counting everyone who doesn't come to the house and she will never talk to them again.

Three more community meetings happened. One with men and two with women. I think they are effective at disseminating information throughout the community. I had a female volunteer come and facilitate the meetings with women. The most encouraging part about the meetings is that the women who attended the midwife training have been very good at explaining the lessons of the training (which was the purpose of the training).

In the next two weeks, I have more community meetings, an educational meeting with sex workers about STIs and I am hopefully going to do a biomass survey of the local forest with another volunteer. The idea is to use current wood usage rates to estimate how many years the forest has left. That work should keep me busy until Colton comes on the 15th and we travel around Morocco together. I'm really looking forward to that vacation.

The only other news is that this year has been exceptionally warm. On Thanksgiving last year, we got a big snowstorm that dropped probably 8 inches. We have yet to have any snow this year. However, the weather has just changed. The last couple days have been quite cold. Winter may finally be here.


Mark said...

The blowing-up-the-goat routine and the blowing-out-the-poop routine make me dizzy just hearing about it.

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