Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ruth and the Bewilderingly Bizarre Bazaar

Yesterday four of my fellow PCT's and I went to one of the large towns nearby to explore. This is the town in which we have our hub meetings (where all the small business volunteers meet every couple of weeks) - and where we walked through a few weeks ago, not knowing that there was an entirely different area that we didn't know about. Well yesterday, we found that area, and I was left with a whole new appreciation for the town. Honestly, I didn't think it had it in it. We even found goats cheese! Granted, it's not what I would call proper goats cheese (it's more like Boursin), but I'm guessing it's the closest thing I'm going to get in the next two years, and it's also the closest I've had in the last three weeks, so I'm jumping at the chance - real goat's cheese or not. I'm definitely going to miss good cheese for the next two years, so thoughts about how to get a lovely wedge of brie or Point Reyes Blue to me on a postcard please.

But, we wandered through a great little part of town that was all tiny alley ways, tiny shops, full to bursting with everything you could think of - shoes, rugs, buttons, thread, people spinning wool, a whole alley way of barbershops, tailors, chocolate shops, tagines, jellabas… everything. And beautiful doorways and arches throughout the area. I feel like it's maybe a taste of Fes, which I can't wait to get to.

Then came home, and had the most amazing bucket bath - outside of my house, there's a small outhouse with a turkish toilet. And I walk past this outhouse everyday, but I've never really thought about it being used or not, since there's two bathrooms in the house. But, last night I found out how it's used. There's a small fireplace inside the toilet, which when I went in, was roaring, and two large metal buckets strategically placed on top of and next to the fire, and then a tap for cold water. But because the room is so small - it was literally a sauna in there. Using a third bucket, I mixed cold water from the tap with the hot water from the buckets on the fire (which was near boiling) and had a bucket bath in the sauna. I don't think I've ever been so hot in my life… it was interesting having to take a shower in that heat, because as soon as I stepped out of the toilet again, nice and clean from my shower, I was sweating again from just having been in a sauna! But it was lovely.

Backtracking for just a second, Saturday night all the girls in our group had our hands henna'ed, which was really fun. The host sister of one of the other trainees, very kindly, and expertly, drew amazingly detailed patterns on our hands, front and back. Then we all had to sit still for ages, wait for it to dry, and when we thought we were done, she put a very strange mixture of oil, water, sugar, and we think tea all over our hands. And then we waited more. Then scraped all the dried henna off to leave the orange pattern, and even then, we were still not allowed to wash our hands at all that evening, which was quite hard to do. But it's very beautiful, and absolutely worth the wait. Everyone here that sees it for the first time says BHssa, which means to your health, and is what is said after things like going to the hamaam, or getting henna'ed, or a haircut.

Anyway, a busy week this week as we have a number of reports due on Friday, and we're meeting with our women's co-op again on Wednesday in order to finish up all our questions. Then to our hub town for most of the weekend, where we'll see everyone who's in the SBD program again (it's been a few weeks), which will be lots of fun.

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