Tuesday, March 12, 2013

March Marks One Year!

March marks one -year in Morocco, and I couldn’t feel more excited. This past year has undoubtedly been one of the most challenging, but rewarding years of my life. As I reflect on this past year, it is amazing how much has happened. I moved to Morocco, learned basic Moroccan Arabic, moved in with two Moroccan families, survived my first desert summer, facilitated activities for Moroccan youth, and experienced the many emotional highs and lows of Peace Corps life. It has been an unforgettable year, and I feel more blessed and grateful than ever for the wonderful people in my life and the opportunities that I have been given.

March not only marks one year in Peace Corps, but is also one of the busiest work months of the year. Since returning from vacation, the dar chebab (youth center) has been packed with youth. I have had a consistent work schedule and routine, which has really helped me feel adjusted and productive. My work includes teaching English, soccer, art, dance, hiking, and girls/women’s empowerment activities. I love to watch the young women learn and be engaged in the activities at the dar chebab. I also recently celebrated International Women’s Day with a few other volunteers. My friend organized a program, and I helped facilitate an activity about the Moudawana Code, a law that now gives women more freedoms and rights in marriage, divorce, and guardianship.

In addition to being busy with work, I also celebrated a Moroccan holiday with a local family. We walked to a nearby village where they slaughtered a camel and a cow in honor of Muhammed's birthday. There was a large market set up with local jewelry and goods.

I have also been busy taking care of my new dog, Haven. I found him alone and abandoned in a little cave in the mountain. I couldn’t say no to his sweet, innocent puppy face. My neighbors and community members think I am a little weird (something I am sure they have been thinking for the past year).  The concept of having a dog as a pet is a little foreign to many Moroccans. He has been a positive addition to my life here in Morocco. He is one lucky pup and will be returning to America with me next spring.

In general, life in Morocco feels pretty normal now. There are fewer surprises, and I feel settled and comfortable in my little Moroccan house. I have my little routines that bring me peace and help me re-center after a stressful day. I especially love to sit in my courtyard, look at the stars, and drink hot cocoa. I have also figured out how to cook tasty meals using the local ingredients and have had a lot of fun in the kitchen. The hiking and bike riding is also spectacular this time of year. I have never seen beauty like I do here in Morocco.

That’s all for now. I hope life is going well for all who read this. Sending love and light to friends and family in the USA!

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations Melanie on 1 year!! Glad your doing fabulous can't wait to see you in the Fall!!!