Monday, October 8, 2012

Back where it all started...

On Friday and Saturday, Justin and I attended a Peace Corps planning workshop in Fes, held in the same site that was used as a training hub during our first 2 months in Morocco. So the building brought back a lot of memories - especially the second to last stair on the staircase, the scene of my majestic slip the day before we were sworn in as volunteers. Here's a photo to jog your memory (newer blog followers, you can read all about the incident here). Crazy to think that was almost a year ago!

 

Onto much better memories - After our meetings ended on Saturday, Justin and I hopped in a taxi to head to Moulay Yacoub, a town about 20 minutes outside of Fes where we chiefly spent our time during training. For 2 months, we lived with a host family, attended "school" along with 3 other volunteers for language, cultural, and technical training, and tried to do some of the work of Peace Corps volunteers in the community - meetings with community members, assessments of youth needs, and English teaching and other activities at the Youth Center.

Teaching kids a dance at the Youth Center
A "quilt" that girls created in an activity

Overlooking MY with our training group
With our host family

Justin and I spent 2 days catching up with our host family in Moulay Yacoub, and more than anything, being back where it all started made me realize just how far we have come. Whereas before we could only have basic conversations with our family, now we were able to talk about an incredible range of topics - politics, culture, travel, future plans, youth in Morocco, marriage, school, careers, I could go on and on. And whereas before I walked around taking everything in for the very first time, now I have a year's worth of living in Morocco to give me a more confident manner and a trained eye. Even the cultural side has come so far - knowing the appropriate phrase or response to say, understanding the roles of women and men, being able to relate better to our family's way of life - all of these things seemed to come so much more naturally now. 

Sometimes I get caught up with the daily struggles and challenges, and experiences like this help me to step back and truly appreciate how far we have come in our first year in Morocco - which can only lead to so much more for our second!

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