Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Grand Weekend

This weekend, I would say was one of my favorites! Not only did I feel more Moroccan than ever (oh by the way, I am becoming a pro at using the squatty pottys - yup that's right), I touched people's lives by helping them out with food, clothes, and fun.
So Saturday night I got invited over to a Moroccan girl's house.
Guest sitting room
The picture I put up is the guest sitting room. In this Moroccan home, there are two sitting rooms. Each sitting room has a couch stretching from one side of the room to another and, as you can tell, there are tons of pillow on it (this couch starts on the right corner of the picture and ends all the way to the left corner). I slept in this room right by the window. The other sitting room is the dining room/living room. This is where the computer, TV, kitchen table and the bookshelf is shared. What I love about this country is the many languages that people know. This bookshelf had French, Arabic, and English books! Their bathroom is the traditional Moroccan bathroom (there is a French style bathroom and a Moroccan style bathroom; I think you can figure out which one is which). Before our wonderful dinner, my friend took me around her town (it's another portion of Meknes) but before we did that, I had to cover my hair because being blonde in a Muslim country gets a lot of attention so now I'm a pro at wearing a hijab. For dinner, my Moroccan friend's mom served me and my roommate (Jennifer) Harira (really good Moroccan soup) and homemade bread sort of thing with things inside it - whatever it was, it was good.
Yummy goodness- bread thingy with things inside right next to the Harira soup
That night was perfect! In the morning, I was awoken by the call to prayer.
Some background information on the call to prayer - they do the call to prayer 5 times a day to remind Muslims to pray. It is done through loud speakers throughout the city and it's scheduled on the sun cycle so everyday it's at a slightly different time. I have always heard the other call to prayers but never the morning one (and when I mean morning - like 5/6 in the morning).
To me, I love hearing the call to prayer. I don't know what they are saying but it sounds like they are singing so at 5/6 in the morning they were singing to me in a different language and it was so beautiful :). Oh-another fun fact: if you have ever heard the call to prayer you might have realized that it echoes from one Mosque to the other. It's that way so they do not create chaos (what kind of chaos they are anticipating, I'm not quite sure).
So that was my weekend at my friends house feeling more Moroccan than ever.
Berber ladies waiting to get supplies
Sunday morning we all got together (about 15ish Moroccan girls and about 13ish ISA students) at 9 in the morning and headed out to a Berber village about an hour and half away. The day before some people volunteered to pick up supplies for them to bring (flour, tea, sugar, blankets, couscous, etc) and some of the Moroccan girls asked their families to donate old clothes, shoes, and bags. On the way there and back we never had a dull moment. We were either dancing in the aisle way or chanting and singing in Arabic. When we got to the villages, we were told that they only speak Arabic and the Amazigh language so the Americans had no way of communicating to them. It was awkward at first but after a while most of us got used to doing hand motions for everything. We gave the lwomen blankets and food supplies and we gave the kids balls and coloring books with markers. Some ladies had tears in their eyes and was extremely thankful. There was a fight that broke out (it was someone claiming that someone else took more than their share). We got it resolved by handing out clothes and shoes. Along the way home, we stopped at a couple other Berber villages, had a picnic in Ifrane next to the river and we literally had a full out dance party on the bus. The bus driver stopped the bus in the road, turned the music on high and we all danced in the aisle. It probably lasted at least 5 minutes I would say (or at least it felt like it). Thank goodness we were on a country road but there were still cars passing us.
Another Berber village with Amazigh people and Moroccan and ISA students
Well, bslama my peeps. I'm meeting up tonight with the ISA Paris group. They just came back from the desert and we are going to have a party tonight! (party meaning drinking tea, smoking shisha, and coming home around 9/10 - oh yeah, the Moroccan way of life! Love it!!)

1 comment: