Saturday, May 8, 2010

Presenting the 2010 Kookie and Izzie running teams

Some volunteers in nearby Midelt decided to put together a race. Each little village could bring ten little kids to participate in the 1km run. I decided this would be a fun thing to make a big deal out of in my villages, so we started training in late March, and then in late April, a few days before the race, held qualifying races in each village to pick the official 10-person team. The qualifying races themselves became a village event; parents came out to watch and all the teenage boys served as referees or track markers or pacers.
Pictures from the qualifying races:

Painting jerseys for each team:

The Official 2010 teams:

Singing all the way home:

The Camels at Last!

After more than a year of hearing about the camel herd on top of the plateau but never seeing them with my own eyes, I decided a few months ago to make it a point to go find these camels. I asked everyone I knew where they were, and the answer is always, "take this path, go over those hills and they're right there." Three times I set out in search of them, following those directions and trekking up and down hills and through canyons on my bike, finding nothing, and every time I'd come home unsuccessful, all the people of the village would tell me, "just take that path, go over those hills and they're right there." Then one day, one of my neighbors came running into the house and told me to get my bikes, we're going to the camels. And there they were.

Me milking one

Collecting camel urine (supposedly medicinal)

Playful baby camels

The Land of Rainbows

Maybe one of the best things about Morocco is its incredibly high frequency of rainbows. They happen all the time, several times a week. Here are a few I've managed to capture on camera; for every rainbow I catch on film, there are dozens that go by unphotographed, but still very appreciated.

And Now I have Two Curly-Eared Friends

My goat Chantel had her baby! Here are the first baby pics:

Her name is Dolce, because she looks exactly like the cute little girl from my favorite Mexican soap opera:

It doesn't get any more "Classic Peace Corps" than this

A few days last month, the volunteers in the area and I decided to go into all the tiny primary schools in the area and talk to the kids about tooth-brushing and handwashing, and about not smoking. 7am on Wednesday, I left my village and biked three hours to the big dam/lake halfway between my village and Midelt, where the other volunteers were coming from. Though I'd done this bike trip before, I'd never actually reached the dam, which turns out to be one of the most impressive sights I've seen so far in Morocco, though oddly it's closed to the public.

We biked back three hours to my village, rested for a few minutes, then got back on our bikes to head out into one of the even smaller villages nearby, to a school of 20 kids, backpacks full of toothbrushes and toothpaste to distribute, feeling like we were those classic Peace Corps volunteers from the 70s, biking hours through the brush, dodging mean dogs and carrying our bikes over ditches and through swamps and sand to go help children in places with no roads and taxis. (We of course could have arrived at all of these schools in cars, on relatively nice dirt roads, but that wouldn't have been nearly as fun, would it?)