Sunday, August 29, 2010

This Is All I Can Think About

By Wednesday it could be 84.... Maybe then I can sleep again... You Tata people...I would have ETed like a month ago. Stay strong brothers and sisters. Stay strong.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ramadan and Fasting

The issue of fasting is one that is a difficult one. This has been a personal struggle for me and one that is still stretching me. Take this with a grain of salt. I don't mean to upset anyone but my intention is to clearly define how I am feeling and my personal thoughts on this matter not to condemn or belittle but those who know me would know I would never do that.

For me I choose not to fast during Ramadan. Why do I choose not to? To be the answer is very simple. I am not Muslim. I believe if I choose to fast I will be sending very confusing messages to our friends here in Morocco. See part of my job is to show them a person who lives in America who has their own beliefs and their own religion (or in some cases no religion). I have a lot of people in my site when I say that I am not a Muslim the first thing they say is, "Why thats bad you will go to hell". Then I try to explain that "Well I am Christian so I have my religion and you have yours". This has never worked. Usually I get a response of, "Come on you are so close just become Muslim because it is beautiful". And rightful so Islam is beautiful but it's not who I am.

So here I am in a Muslim holiday where most people are fasting but me. I feel like if I start fasting people will get excited. Why? I assume they will get excited because they think I have an interest in Islam (which again I do have an interest but not to convert). I want the people of Morocco to understand that beliefs work both ways. Just because I am foreign it doesn't mean that I have to conform to a certain belief system. I have heard people say well you are respecting Moroccans if you fast. I am not so sure this is true. Most people here take their beliefs very seriously, and to start practicing parts of their religion out of respect it seems like I would be starting another, "Well being Muslim is better than being (insert religion here)". I am tired of these arguments/discussions. Also, what happens after Ramadan? Will your community expect you to continue to practice their religion? Who knows but it is too complicated to me. Refraining from eating in front of people who are fasting is enough. This shows that you respect them for doing it, that you care about the individual and that you are using common sense by not making others salivate.

I guess for me I just got to the point to where I am tired of trying to act like I am somebody that I am not. I just want to be who I really am and not this culturally shifting person whose beliefs and ideals change because I live in a different location. It's so easy to do because you want to be liked so badly but to me in the end it's not worth it. I want to be who I am. An American Christian living in Morocco trying to understand different culture and ideals without compromising my own. To each his own I guess but fasting is not for me. It's too confusing.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Boredom and Ramadan

I call this time in my Peace Corps experience Absolute Boredom. I haven't really posted a lot lately because there really isn't much to report. Since Ramadan has started my life has been boring. I try to find things to fill this time but it is hard to fill it with cleaning, watching movies, playing games, surfing the net, etc. I just get bored quickly. BTW if you don't know what Ramadan is check it out here.

I think when people told me before that Peace Corps volunteers have a lot of down time I didn't believe them. I thought that we would have so little time because we would be doing our jobs. But the truth is that our jobs are sometimes seasonal, and when we do go into work it is not an eight hour day it is more like a college professor: go to the class you set up, you have "office hours", and then with the free time you play games with the kids(well my professors never did that but maybe yours did). 

With the month of Ramadan no one comes to the Youth House (where I work). They are either traveling, in their homes with their families, playing soccer or helping with chores. So it makes it difficult to just do my job when no one even comes. Also almost all the stores are shut down because no one wants to work in the heat with no water or food. So they go home and sleep. I think they are smart. This makes it difficult to do normal everyday things like buy food or pay bills. Strangeness it seems rules my life.

So in turn we are in our house trying to make it through the heat and the boredom. Sometimes it is difficult to stay completely positive. 

Here is a list of the things I miss and think about the most when I am bored:
Canned Food
Microwave Dinners
Frozen Pizza
Movie Theaters
Driving a Car
24 Hour Stores
24 Restaurants
Being close with family and friends

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Summer Camp

A few days have passed since I have been home from summer camp and overall it was an okay experience. The Summer Camp is at a beach town called El Jadida. As a Youth Development volunteer I am required to attend. Summer camp is a 10 day long English Immersion camp put on by the US Embassy and also the Moroccan Ministry of Youth and Sports. As volunteers we put on activities such as English classes, and clubs for example my science club. Also we help put on activities every night like American games night or Halloween. All these things help fulfill the goals of peace corps like cultural exchange: Moroccan to American and American to Moroccan..

My responsibilities centered around the science club. In this club I had 20 kids, Tanie and another Moroccan helper. We did all kinds of things sort of involving science. I had five classes and I did things like build bridges with toothpicks and glue, build and explode volcanoes, and made a movie wheel. The kids seemed to throughly enjoy themselves. To be honest everything went so well in my club that it was the smoothest thing I have done with the Peace Corps with kids! That's a good feeling.