Posted by shiite on Wednesday, February 9, 2011 Under: morocco
Things are looking good.
Or as comedian Larry David would say, "Pretty...pretty....*pretty* good."
My fellow Peace Corps compatriots and I have now received two emails from our Peace Corps Morocco "parental unit" - the first a general welcome email, the other having language and home stay questionnaires to fill out.
Any day now, we should receive word that all systems are a go and plane ticket reservations shall commence.
Despite the uncertainty and unrest revolving around Egypt and Tunisia, I believe things will stay on course and that I will be in Morocco in nigh onto a month, inshallah. In this Reuters article, rating agencies Standard & Poor's and Fitch have said Morocco is the "least likely in the region to be affected by the wave of popular unrest."
It's kind of strange how I've come full circle (and more) after my Lesotho cancellation.
I remember feeling so dejected, depressed, and angry that I felt no country could ever match the excitement I had for Lesotho (I still smile cheek to cheek after watching this Peace Corps Lesotho video on YouTube (e.g. watch at 2:58)).
Now that I've had...several months to reflect on Lesotho and my choices between Albania, Kazakhstan, and Morocco, I'm really happy with Morocco and couldn't be more excited, honestly.
I don't think there are many Peace Corps countries that can match the incredibly rich history and culture of Morocco (a fusion of Europe, Africa, and the Middle East), and I am very much looking forward to experience everything that Morocco has to offer: the Sahara, beautiful coastlines, towering mountain ranges, Casablanca, an Islamic focus, insight into Arab and Berber culture, the opportunity to learn Arabic and French, stunning architecture, and an incredible cuisine.
Here in the U.S. we say that "time is money." Many of my friends (perhaps all) from college seem(ed) to be in such a rush after college to get that corporate job.
As for me, I'm in no rush to pen myself up in an office.
Even though my stint with the Peace Corps will have begun almost a year after I expected (March 2011 instead of June 2010), I'm OK with that.
As an engineer by schooling, I'm inclined to think in numbers, to analyze quantitatively. My work as a researcher has made me probably...nerdier-than-average when it comes to statistics. Calculus was, is, and will continue to be, quite the joy for me.
And yet, like Einstein once said, I believe that "not everything that be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
It's the intangible things in life that make it worthwhile. As Robert Kennedy once wrote, our measure of Gross National Product needs to be updated beyond the rigid quantitative analysis of easily tangible economic activities:
"Too much and too long, we seem to have surrendered community excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our gross national product ... if we should judge America by that - counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for those who break them. It counts the destruction of our redwoods and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and the cost of a nuclear warhead, and armored cars for police who fight riots in our streets. It counts Whitman's rifle and Speck's knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.
Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages; the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom nor our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it tells us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans."
Among many other reasons, one of the reasons I'm looking forward to the Peace Corps is because it imparts a certain perspective and wisdom that you just can't get in any other way - not through classes, jobs, books, or even short-term travel.
I really cannot wait.
But in the mean time, I am relegated to passing the time with books and movies, abstractions of the real Morocco.
And so, I leave you with some pictures of Morocco, as seen through the lens of Hollywood movies filmed on location there:
Lawrence of Arabia, considered by some to have the finest cinematography (without the use of special effects; filmed in 1962 largely at Ait Benhaddou in Ouarzazete, where other films like Gladiator and The Mummy have been filmed):
Alfred Hitchcock's "The Man Who Knew Too Much", a fantastic mystery thriller filmed in 1956:
"Babel", an enjoyable and moving film (2006) that reminded me of the movie, "Magnolia":
And finally, here's a look at Morocco, as seen in the splendid Michael Palin BBC documentary, "Sahara":
In : morocco
Tags: morocco excitement reflections
blog comments powered by Disqus