Loud screeching whistles got me out of bed. My alarm was set to go off in another 30 minutes, but I had been lying in that blissful half-awake half-asleep state for a while already. A new day was dawning upon the camp and I was ready to take on all challenges.
After getting up and doing the pee pee thing and the tooth brush thing, I went in for my meeting with the Mudir. We exchanged the normal pleasantries and I think I pushed his boundaries a bit as I came to our meeting still wearing basketball shorts and tank, top plus my world class bed-head. I was highly pleased to find no new schedule amendments had popped up throughout the night, and that our day was shaping up just as the schedule had said it would.
My English class was for the most part uneventful. After using the first day to mostly gauge the students aptitude, I felt more prepared for this second class. I taught them emotions from a worksheet. I told them that I didn’t want to hear anybody say, “Fine thanks. How are you.” It has been my policy with new classes to get them to express something other than the standard formula they hear in school. Usually I get them to say something different but it almost always ends up like this:
“Halima, how are you?”
“I am happy.”
“Mehdi, how are you?”
“I am happy.”
“Hasna, how are you?”
“I am great.”
“Annas, how are you?”
“I am happy.”
I have no choice but to take what I can get. Mercifully, the classes came to an end after an hour and a half. As usual, the next thing on the schedule was club time. Floyd, Big Aaron and I were feeling pretty stinky after a couple of days of avoiding the showers at the Centre, which had become unbearable to approach. To solve our problem we went on a “poop and douche” run. Out here douche means shower and not the other thing, so don’t be so alarmed.
It was great heading back to Floyd’s apartment and getting out of the drum beating for a while. We snacked on Chex-Mix and Twizzlers and Starburst and Thin Mints that had been accumulated by Scott and Floyd. Nothing like American junk food to make you feel whole again. Everything was looking beautiful until….
“FUCK! Big Aaron can you help me?”
“Yeah, Floyd. What is it?”
“I can’t get the buta-gas to work. See if you can’t get it on there right.”
“(grunting sounds) Nope, I can’t get it. Chuck see if you can do it.”
“Nope, wont go for me either.”
This development didn’t mean a whole lot. It did, however, mean our showers would be cold and that Floyd’s boiling point was nearing. We took our cold showers and checked the internet and enjoyed the silence for a while before heading back.
Lunch at camp was pretty good. A whole chicken for a table of eight with a sauce consisting of some potatoes and a ton of olives. Big Aaron and I sensed a possible shortage of food and made for a table of younger girls. We chowed down heartily while trying to make conversation with these girls. I remember I had trouble focusing on what ditsy girls would say back stateside and my troubles were magnified ten fold when the ditsyness persisted but the language had changed. I couldn’t help but laugh at/with this girl Hefsa, who would take monstrous bites of chicken and bread and then crack up laughing when I would pull some wacky face at her. Her mouth would gape with half chewed food and no sound would come out but her chest would heave and eyes would water throughout the meal. She never did get control of herself.
The rest of the day was pretty relaxing. The Moroccan events went well and we were only asked to take on small roles. A nice break from being in charge of what seemed like the whole camp so far. I don’t want to forget to tell you that we had tea in the afternoon. Can never have enough tea.
The evening belonged to the Americans. The schedule said American Folklore night but we decided to make it American Games night instead. We started with a slide show with some quick facts about ourselves and our states because the Mudir was convinced the kids still had no clue who we were. After the slide show, the fun got started.
Floyd and I came up with an outrageous pillow fighting game. We selected a crew of six students and sent four of them out of the room. The remaining two we gave big pillows and blindfolded. We told them they were going to fight each other. We spun them around a couple of times and pointed them in exactly the wrong direction and watched them swing at air for a couple of seconds. Then from the crowd Floyd and I gathered a couple of pillows of our own and started bopping the kids ourselves. They had no clue where it was coming from and couldn’t hit us for their lives. The whole time the crowd was going wild with laughter and the other volunteers were rolling in the isles.
After that game we did a games rotation (apparently I love these rotation things). We had dizzy-bat, musical chairs, limbo, tug-o-war, spelling bee and something else I can’t remember right now. This all worked out swimmingly, except for one tiny thing. As I was working the musical chairs station I heard a tremendous crash from outside where the dizzy-bat game was going on. I looked outside and saw a giant lighting fixture had tumbled to the ground smashing some of the huge glass globes that were illuminating the area. This could have been bad, but the Mudir blamed the wind which was awfully kind even if willfully ignorant of him. He said that “L’ard kay shurb bzzaaf u dakshi elash tuh.” He was trying to say that the little garden area where the lights were set up takes a lot of water and that is why it fell. The direct translation was funnier- “It drinks, that’s why it fell.” I have known things to fall after drinking so I guess that’s a plausible explanation.
The final event where we brought everybody back together was a good old fashioned eating contest. After using watermelon at summer camp, we knew this was going to be a great way to cap the night. Too bad there wasn’t watermelon around. Instead, we used big plates of rice. Six kids and Big Aaron took their places at the table with spoons at the ready. The starting whistle blew and the kiddies went to work. Apparently rice isn’t as easy as watermelon to eat. Two minutes later nobody was even close to finished. All our eaters looked exhausted and stuffed to capacity. Finally a kid nicknamed Brillo Pad picked up his plate, scraped what remained onto the next closest kid’s plate and stood up victorious. He looked bushed, but happy as he celebrated- arms extended high in the air and grains of rice scattered up and down his chin and t-shirt.
We thanked all the kids for their participation, and told them to be prepared to wake up early for our field trip the next day. As we started ushering the kids out I looked back at the table and saw Big Aaron still munching away at the rice. He really is an animal folks. I didn’t stick around to see whether he finished the plate or not. I had a couple of appointments first with the Sopranos and later with Hemingway.