Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tiflet and bum foot update

For those who have been following updates on my Facebook page, you may already know the news of my latest adventure in Morocco; for those unaware yet, I have had the unfortunate luck of learning firsthand about the Moroccan medical system:

Yes, that is my foot. Last Wednesday - on our last day of training in Fes before leaving for Rabat the following morning - I bounded down the stairs into the breakfast area and managed to skip the very last stair and land with my left foot twisted underneath me. I heard a crack at the time and while I tried to convince myself that it was a sprain, I was pretty sure it was worse than that.
Fortunately, our medical staff was walking into the building at the same time as my little fall and they were put right to work. Within 2 hours, I was taken to a medical clinic, where x-rays indicated that I had fractured a small part of the tibia in my left leg (a bone just above the ankle), and I was immediately put into a cast and given crutches. It was a FAR quicker process than I have ever dealt with in the U.S. (and completely free), so I was pleased about that! But as you can imagine, it has caused a lot of challenges in dealing with day-to-day life (as it would in the U.S. too, but I would know a lot more about my surroundings back home).

Justin and I were taken to Rabat a day early with our medical staff and I met with a specialist there who confirmed the fracture and gave me some medicine. The following day (last Thursday), we were sworn in as official Peace Corps volunteers! We met the U.S. Ambassador to Morocco and his wife; he asked me where I was living before joining the Peace Corps and I told him Brooklyn – he looked down at my cast and said that if I’m a New Yorker I shouldn’t have any problems dealing with a broken leg :) I took that as a compliment!

Our full training group and staff at Peace Corps Headquarters in Rabat

The U.S. Ambassador to Morocco and his wife at our ceremony

We all tried to wear traditional dress; photos of me coming soon I promise!

On Friday, Justin and I left Rabat for our new home, Tiflet. We are only a 45 minute taxi ride from Rabat, so fortunately the travel was fairly easy. We met our new host family and they welcomed us into our home where we will live until the end of the year while we look for a place to live permanently. And I breathed a sigh of relief that our bedroom is on the first floor of the house!

Since then, we have been moving pretty slowly given my casted leg. Fortunately, the expectations for us between now and early next year are not too major - mainly to get to know the community and the Youth Center where we will work, to look for a place to live permanently, and to find a language tutor. Even so, it’s been really frustrating for me to not be able to fully explore my new community. I am excited to be in a new place and it’s hard to not just be able to walk around and see as much as I can. I’m trying to remind myself that we’ll be living here for 2 years and I will have plenty of time to see and learn everything.

And Justin has been a saint in the last week, amazingly patient and understanding and willing to walk slowly next to me as I hobble along in the crutches. I hope that in the coming weeks I will be able to put some more weight on my foot which will allow me to walk further, and based on the current calculations, my cast should be off by December 30th (fingers crossed!!). So I hope to enter the new year healthy and excited to fully learn about my new home. I imagine that the next month or so will be both physically and emotionally difficult for me, but like I said I’m trying to remain as positive as possible. More to come soon!

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