Our CBT town has been abuzz for the past couple of days, as the King has been scheduled to drive through the town, on his way back from a visit to another town. The last time the King drove through our town, he ordered the town to be redeveloped and beautified. So, ever since we arrived and before, there has been unpaved roads, random holes, piles of rocks or dirt, a detour (on the one main road in town), and my favorite, the two foot cliff from the sidewalk to the road. When we first spoke to the Qaid, who is one of the officials in the town, he told us everything would be completed within two months. Well, as far as we could tell that wasn't going to happen. Then, word came down that the King was going to be driving through again, and there was a mad scramble - ditches were filled in overnight, holes magically disappeared; there still hasn't been any paving to speak of, but the roads are at least flat again, and resemble roads as opposed to dirt tracks. Then last night, Moroccan flags appeared everywhere in town - and I mean everywhere - including covering entire hanoots (stores). So, we went down to see the King after lunch (after several false alarms of course), and waited with the rest of the town's population and more, who lined the entire length of the town. There were bands lined up about every 50m playing different styles of folklore music, some Berber, some Moroccan. So, drive through he did - and he was even driving the car himself - driving with one hand and waving with the other. So, it was a very quick sighting, but I've seen the King of Morocco, everyone. Then followed the largest entourage I've ever seen… a good five minutes of European cars ensued - even as we were walking away, they were still driving past. No such thing as traveling light when you're the King of Morocco!
This week is our last souq in our current town - next week is lEid El Kbir, the Big Feast, so it was a rather intense souq - everyone was shopping for Eid, including buying their sheep that will be sacrificed. There were definitely a lot more people than usual, and all of them were on a mission for sure - don't get in the way. Our family has 3 sheep; because two of the sons in the family live overseas, we're slaughtering sheep for them too. Day one is the innards eating, followed by the rest of the meat on day two - I'm going to be all sheeped out by Friday for sure. I'm still debating whether to post any pictures I get of the actual slaughter - thoughts on a postcard.
We're now in the count down of the final week of CBT, and it's going to be a busy one. We have Monday and Tuesday in class, and Eid is now on Wednesday - it was unclear whether it was going to start on Wednesday or Thursday, since it's based on the new moon. Then we have our CBT party on Friday, and Saturday to pack up! Next Wednesday we will be sworn in as real volunteers - trainees no longer will we be!
Anyway, I've now gone and gotten myself another cold - yes, that's two in as many months… probably something to do with it being freezing cold in this town - so I'm going to bundle myself back up in bed with two hot water bottles, two wool blankets, a duvet, wool socks and all my clothes on. Take that, cold!
Today, I went for a short hike up on the rocks behind our school, and as I was walking out of my house, there were two small girls walking towards me. They cannot have been more than 3 or 4 years old, but I said hello to them (in darija, of course) and they both came bounding up to me for kisses on the cheeks. It's amazing, that, and yes, it's a small town here, but the children have no concept of the idea of not talking to strangers, which of course is the notion that I was raised upon. Just interesting, and it made my day a little bit.
Ktr mnb3d LEid!
(More after Eid!)