Published: October 5th 2005September 30th 2005
On ahike to a Saint's shrine I caught a great view of my new town, it's not too different from Boise in some ways.
Teaching is going very well. Since Sefrou is a training site for us and not our final community, we can focus more on what we’re learning than what the students are learning. Of course, we do our best at teaching and take it very seriously. It’s not a one-way parasitic relationship: they’re getting free English classes out of the deal. It’s not like my student teaching either, since the Dar Shebab is not a school. Classes are in the evenings, since most kids get out of school around 6pm. Dinner usually isn’t until 9 or even 10 pm, so we have time to teach a couple hour long classes before we go home to our host families.
The Dar Shebab is run by the government’s Ministry of Youth & Sports and is a bit like a Girl’s & Boy’s Club and community center all in one. Lots of associations and community groups use it for meetings and other functions. Sefrou has two Dar Shebabs: the older one by the market (suq) and the big new one in the new part of town which is next to a large sports complex. With a population of just over 80,000 Sefrou is big enough
Sefrou has a Women's Center which educates women on handicrafts even computer programs. This is the mudira - the person in charge of the center. Note the poster in French, Arabic and Berber behind us.
to support two Dar Shebabs.
This town is the site for a Volunteer who has been in Morocco for about a year now, Sara. She has helped some with our training though she is still keeping up with her activities at the new Dar Shebab. My group is teaching in the older one.
When we first arrived we had to advertise our classes and hold an evening of informal interviews with people to see what their level of English was. It went very well and we were able to split people fairly easily into groups of beginner, intermediate and advanced. Each night we had two beginner classes and one intermediate and one advanced. When we go back to Sefrou on Thursday we will have to change the schedule because of Ramadan. Everything changes during Ramadan, but I won’t be able to write much more until I experience it. I’m not expected to fast, but I’m definitely not going to be eating in front of anybody during the day. I probably won’t eat much though, because I want to be able to gorge myself with them during the two meals they do get. Each morning before the first call to prayer
We took one day and held our Darija classes in the park. From left: Nada, Michael, Bart, me and Brian.
we will have a giant breakfast. All day they won’t eat or drink. (I’m not going to be holding back on the water in the least!) After evening prayers it’s another feast, with lots of foods that are traditionally only for Ramadan.
One more thing I have to add is Frisbee. We not only stand out as the new people in town, the foreigners, the Americans, we also stand out because we play Frisbee all the time. It has gotten to the point that we play it walking down the street and use it to teach possession in beginner classes: “this is MY Frisbee” and “this is OUR Frisbee.” From our first ten minutes in town we play with the kids who follow us around and hang out in the street. Bart and Brian each have one, though we usually only bring out one at a time. We’ve almost lost them several times each, accidentally throwing them over a wall and having to wind through the maze of back streets trying to figure out where it went and if it’s in somebody’s yard or on a roof. Most of the Volunteers are pretty enthusiastic about it and there’s even talk
Amina is my LCF (Language and Culture Facilitator) and putting the i on the end of nouns is the first person possessive in Arabic. I'm already tring to develop Darijlish.
to trying to start an Ultimate Frisbee league here, though that would take at least a year or so to get going. I like it because it takes very little infrastructure. People like soccer and basketball here, but those each need fields and goals/ hoops plus the balls. Frisbee just needs a Frisbee, and the rules (if you play with them) are so simple you don’t need much language to communicate them.
As I teach more I will have more stories to share, and as soon as I start speaking more Darija I'll be able to include all my mistake stories - there will be plenty!
There are more photos below