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Published: September 9th 2012
Yesterday was definitely the most cultural experience I've had here so far. I went to a party where we celebrated the birth of a new baby in a family related to my host parents. There were probably more than fifty people in the house and everyone was wearing traditional moroccan djellabah. There was SO much food, and luckily there were six vegetarians so we got our own table and didn't feel awkward! There were about a million little kids there too, and they were ranging in age from 2 to 12. We had couscous again for lunch, and for dinner many people ate sheep. One part of the celebration is the sacrifice of a sheep. When a new baby is born, the oldest male will kill the sheep as everyone watches and say the name of the baby as he does, in order to celebrate the cycling of life. I tried to watch because it was a huge part of the cultural experience. Everyone crowded around and sang as two people held the sheep and a third cut his throat with a knife. As soon as I saw the blood I had to leave, I thought I was going to be sick or cry or something. It is nice to know that every single part of the animal will be used by that family, but it was sad to watch a traumatized animal die in the midst of a party. After this a huge group of us went to the beach. It is about a twenty minute walk from the house we were at, but we did have to cross a six lane highway to get there, with about 20 people, half of which were small children. The beach was beautiful and so different than any beach I've seen. It was very rocky and the sand was not fine-grained at all. The waves were pretty big, but the bottom of the ocean was covered in rocks and urchins so you had to be super careful when swimming. It was possible to surf but I don't think the conditions were quite right the day we were there. I hope I can learn at some point! (No sharks in Morocco, don't worry). The police patrol the beach on horseback. Also, everyday I hear the call to prayer multiple times, and most people aren't elaborately religious the way that the stereotypes describe them. Usually people either say a quick prayer in their heads or just continue what they are doing. I think there is a huge misconception of Islam in majority Christian parts of the world. Today people came looking for my host baba while I was napping, and tried to speak to me through my open (but screened) window. I was so groggy and confused and startled, and they were speaking in moroccan colloquial dareeja so I was extra confused. My host sister told me it was her aunt and uncle and I was laughing so hard because I have never been approached through my window by neighbors. They must have wondered what this clearly non-moroccan girl was doing in their family's house. I have been speaking so much french and a huge melange of arabic english and french so my mind is pretty confused, but it is AWESOME to have all these languages flying around all the time!
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