Sunday, September 27, 2009

The dudest picture of Moh VI ever.

Friday I woke leisurely, keeping an eye on my email for messages from my internship and prospective language school. After receiving a message with great directions to ADFM, along with a lunch invitation, I prepared myself for the day. The taxi ride was a dream (I even got change back without asking!!) and I found rue Ibn Mokla without any problems. I got a tour of the office from my new boss and lunched with the staff. Afterward I fulfilled my first duty of helping to prepare for the press conference on the liberalization of the communal land law. The beneficiaries, the women of Soulaliyates, were invited to attend the press conference and ask questions. You can read about here (it is only available in French). I decided to walk home, which was delightful and uncomplicated. Saturday I was able to move into my room in the apartment and even did a little grocery shopping where I picked up my beloved yoghurt with cereals in it and mortadelle aux olives. Today the perfect loveliness continued as I rejoined dear Hind, who taught me the Moroccan words for pillows, shower curtain, toothbrush and other useful darija.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I am an illiterate adult, according to motivational literature

Arrival in imperial Rabat

After traversing the Atlantic yesterday, I arrived in Rabat with the whole day ahead of me. Unfortunately, I was too delirious to seize the daylight, but I did buy shampoo and Oulmès (Moroccan fizzy water) after lunching with my two new roommates at Salés Sucrés. I woke up today with ease at 7.40 AM (oh that waking at that hour were always so easy) and spent much of the morning trolling the internet for information. I have also acquired a sim card for my well traveled Jordanian Nokia.

This morning, I found this advice, which I will try to follow:

In learning Arabic: “Our goal cannot be to sound Moroccan, but it can be to sound "neutral foreign".”

Thus my mantra is “neutral foreign” instead of “specific foreign.” In addition, the same text conveyed this useful tidbit:
“In Morocco there are also books made for illiterate adults, which is exactly what we are.”

Today was a wonderful day in every way. My new friend, Hind, allowed me to tag along on her errands. We dined at Dar Naji just outside the Kasbah. On her recommendation we had salad Zaaloukwith bread and Chicken Rfissa Medhoussa (trid au poulet). She took hers with white meat and I with dark. You can take a look at both the process of preparing the dish here and the delicious finished product here. The hosting institution of my internship expects me tomorrow, and I begin my Arabic and Moroccan classes on Monday!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Back to Africa

I returned home from Cairo on 8 August 2009. Although I ought to have been thinking about my PhD written comprehensive exams that were to take place just 6 days later, I was already scheming about how to return to the Victorious City. Written comps finished, I enjoyed some idleness in Norfolk and elsewhere while I suffered the agonizing month between writing my exams and defending them. On 16 September I passed my oral defense and can now enjoy the title of ABD—all but dissertation—a title of little importance to most Anglophones, but one that I am nonetheless reveling in until I can upgrade to Ph.D. I arrive in Rabat on Wednesday 23 September, where I will reside for a year at least.

I did punctuate the idleness between trips to Super Saharan Africa (thank you Alex for your enthusiasm) with A) reading about Morocco’s many delights, B) planning a trip to Kenya next spring and C) happening upon validation in mainstream media sources.

First the Morocco books:
1. Morocco (Eyewitness Travel Guides) by DK Publishing (ISBN 9780756605094)

2. Living in Morocco by Barbara Stoeltie and Angelika Taschen (ISBN 9783822813836)

3. Flavors of Morocco: Delicious Recipes from North Africa by Ghillie Basan and Peter Cassidy (ISBN 9781845976064)

4. Living in Morocco: Design from Casablanca to Marrakesh by Landt Dennis and Lisl Dennis (ISBN 9780500282649)

5. Culture Shock! Morocco: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette by Orin Hargraves (ISBN 0761425020)

6. Fodor's Morocco, 4th Edition (Fodor's Gold Guides) by Fodor's (ISBN 9781400008049)

7. Made in Morocco by Julie Le Clerc and John Bougen (ISBN 9780143019428)

Second--In the mainstream media, women in development has gotten some great attention here and here.