The extra hour of sleep was appreciated by all parties. The baguettes at breakfast had an extra hour of crustiness the tea an extra… well… nothing was different about the tea. It was still just regular tea, but you can never have enough tea.
English classes were a breeze and more fun than usual because I decided the time was right for a music day. My musical selection was Get Up Stand Up by Bob Marley. It was slow enough, and with an easy message so the kids were digging it. I have found the best way to teach music is to type out the lyrics and then erase some of the more obvious words. The kids have to fill in the blanks, and that always helps keep their eyes on the paper and actually gives them something to do.
Club time. Poop and douche run. No drums. Hamdullilah. All praise be to god.
I said earlier in the week that I needed to get back to Goulmima to put my laundry inside and snag some things I had forgotten. I realized on Monday that it just wasn’t going to happen, but lucky for me I had given my host sister Sebha a spare key to my house. I thought Sebha could make a sack for me with all the stuff I wanted, and put the laundry inside. Since my host father has to drive to dialysis three times a week in Errachidia it would be easy enough for him to drop off the sack for me at the camp.
“Sebha, it’s me Charley.”
“Charley! La bas elik?”
“La bas. Let me ask you for a favor. Can you go to my house and put my laundry inside?”
“No problem. Anything else?”
“Umm yeah, could you also grab some things for me? Can you grab a pair of basketball shorts, a pair of regular shorts, the green bottle in my bathroom and the batteries off of my shelf?”
“Whats that? You want hasharat?”
“That’s right. I want the batteries on my shelf in the room with the computer”
“Okay, Ill see what I can do.”
After a poop and douche (can you tell I love that phrase?), I pulled up to the camp in a taxi at about the same time my whole host family arrived. I met them outside and they asked me to check the bag to see if everything was right. I looked in. Shorts. Check. Green bottle of body wash. Close. I got the blue bottle of hair gel. Honest mistake. I kept digging to the bottom of the bag and pulled out a mayonnaise jar that had… could it be… what the f… My eyes did not deceive me. It was a mayonnaise jar with the three dead scorpions that I found at my house last year. I looked incredulously at the host family who were looking right back at me. They said , “You asked for the hasharat on your shelf.”
“Right, the batteries on my shelf. What gives with the scorpions.”
“You said you wanted hasharat from your shelf.”
“I said hasharat. You know batteries. Like for my camera.” I clicked away on my air camera.
At that point it dawned on both parties. What I really wanted were hajarat but asked for hasharat and that’s precisely what I got. They couldn’t for the life of them understand why I would want scorpions but were happy enough to bring what I asked for. They are still, two weeks later, laughing at my blunder.
The laughs didn’t last. The Moroccan staff had scheduled a meeting with the City Council of Errachidia for the first half of the afternoon. We should have known better than to trust this event to actually be pulled off. Just before lunch, the Mudir came to me and said that the City Council backed out of their commitment and asked us if we could come up with something educational to fill the time.
Dun-da-na-na! Floyd to the rescue. Luckily, Floyd had a women’s empowerment video in Arabic with English subtitles for the volunteers to follow along with. We would watch the movie as a group and then split up into groups and ask questions about the movie, and women’s roles in Islamic societies. We set up the auditorium theater style and popped in the flick. The volunteers were having no problems keeping up because of the subtitles, but the kids were looking as uninterested as possible. I have zoned out during almost every educational film I have ever watched, and the kids could have been excused for zoning out but this was incredible. I asked Scooby Doo what the deal was. Why were none of the kids watching? Turns out the video was in different dialects of Arabic and the kids couldn’t understand at all. Goodness…
Reluctantly we turned the film off and split them into groups consciously taking a long time to get anything done. There was essentially no preparation for our discussions and we had been counting on the film to provide the talking points. Alex and I sat down with our group and started throwing out questions and getting minimal responses. It was like pulling teeth. Not only were we not prepared but we got the jail bait/too cool for school crowd. Girls who were only interested in looking good, and boys who were only interested in the good-looking girls. It was awful, and it didn’t make me feel any better when one of the other groups in the room was furiously arguing, and another group was applauding like Oprah had walked into the room. Then it was over.
Tea. Can never have enough.
The second half of the afternoon schedule also fell through for the Moroccan staff, and when the Mudir came to me asking us to fill in, I told him we weren’t up to the task. He actually looked a little hurt, but you gotta draw the line somewhere.
I retired to the room for a while and popped in the final episode of The Sopranos. I could see why people were disappointed I guess it ended. Kinda. But not really. I mean what happens? Phil Leotardo gets whacked and then gets his head crushed by a rolling SUV, but then??? Does Tony cut a deal with Butch and Coco or what? Does the guy in the restaurant come out of the bathroom and whack Tony, Michael Corleone style or what?
Dinner that night was another adventure. I sat with the Berber pride girls from Tinjdad. They were very nice and welcoming, but also very demanding. Not a lot of time for eating with so much talking going on. I felt like I was under interrogation from these ladies. There was one girl, Ikram, who had my elbow in some sort of immobilizing lock so I couldn’t maneuver my spoon. She was leaning so far over into my personal space I was wondering if she was going to eat my food. She was more into giving food though. As she was talking at me, she spat a grain of rice from her mouth into my soup. Then, without having completed her sentence even, shot another grain off her bottom lip directly into my mouth. Oh god… It was disturbing, and even more so because she didn’t realize it until she noticed the other girls at the table barely breathing because they were laughing so hard. To ensure that I would never eat with them again, Ikram smashed her hard boiled egg shell off of my forehead and cackled like a fiend.
The night event was the domain of the Moroccan staff, and I quietly blended into the background until I could slip away without being noticed. I spent the night joking around with the other volunteers and surfing everybody else’s iTunes. I went to bed very happy that there was only one more full day left. ZZzzzzz.