Posted by shiite on Sunday, April 24, 2011 Under: morocco
Yallah. (Let's start).
So my final site and I met each other OK, lHamdullah (thank God)...walakin (but) not until larb3 (Wednesday).
Monday night I spent the night in the nearest big town from my site (100 km) and then Tuesday night I found myself at my PCV escort's house, which is in my souk town (45 minutes away).
Not until Wednesday morning did I arrive at my lovely final site.
Let me tell you about my new host father/grandfather, who is a subsistence farmer.
I wish I could take and post a picture of him, but for now, I'll do my best to paint a picture of him with words.
I don't think I will ever forget his face; it will be indelibly etched in my mind from this point forward.
It is a face most memorable.
Firstly, imagine Mr. Magoo, but with glasses.
Secondly, take said glasses, break them along the side-hinges as well as the nose bridge, and re-tape with copious amounts of Scotch tape.
To the bridge wrap 8 or 9 windings of copper wiring to hold the thing together. Before re-taping the bridge, be sure that there is a good 20 degree angle bent between the two frames.
Hands tough as nails, hardened like built-in work gloves by the seasons and quite literally decades of back-breaking work. Poor guy points to his back and tells me it is killing him (inghayi).
My three days in site consisted of a lot of meet and greet, tea invites (and the immediate acceptance), playing takurt (soccer) with the kids, and visiting the dispensaire (clinic) with one female nurse, who had to leave for the weekend after the second day.
Hence, I offered to help my host father out in the igran (fields).
So let me tell you about my two days as a Moroccan subsistence farmer (yallah).
The first day began with watering the n3an3a (mint) planted on a small lot inside the house's enclosure. This was achieved with the assistance of rubber tubing strewn from the spigot of the lbit lma, hashak (bathroom, pardon). To spray the mint further than an arm's reach, my host father created a "spray" stream...the old school way.
Later we went outside to the small plot in front of the main entrance to the house - a plot perhaps 100 feet wide and 40 feet long.
Several hours of laborious work were spent tilling the as-of-now-unplanted-field and shoveling the ixxa (bad) rocks and weeds into the wheelbarrow, the contents of which was shipped on over either to the abrid (road) or onto the roots of the encircling trees around the plot (the species of which I do not know at the moment, samHi [sorry]).
The strength of my host father, considering his small stature and well-seasoned age, is remarkable.
I was whipped by the end of the day, when he called it quits.
The next day we were at it again.
This time we pulled out the lmotor ujdid (new water pump), hoisted up onto the wheelbarrow and accompanied with perhaps 12 feet of 5-inch diameter yellow PCV piping (with a metal anchor on one side) and 200 feet of folded plastic tubing.
Follow the yellow brick road...err...abrid taxatart (main road).
Du nishan, ymkn miyatayn mitru, dur xf azlmad, safi. (Go straight, maybe 200 meters, turn left and done.)
With the help of some twine rope and rubber elastic, we secured the yellow piping and plastic tubing to the water pump.
Delegating some responsibility (and perhaps a tid bit of strength) to me, we both shouted a "bismillah" (in the name of God) while I yanked the pull-chain of the motor.
Pump motor works its magic and soon thereafter (though not without many minutes of finessing and finagling) we were pumping water out of the asif (river) and into the fields, wherein my host father has wheat (for aghrum, bread), apple trees, and some other crops for which I didn't understand/know his Tamazight word (perhaps turnips).
Let me tell you about my favorite Peace Corps moment thus far:
After about an hour of hard work, my host father and I sat down on some rocks, the motor two meters out in front, rumbling a sweet harmony of spitting and spewing.
My host father leans towards my ear, wraps his arms around my shoulders, and shouts, "Kyyin amdukelinu." (You are my friend).
With a grin grand as could be, I repeated "amdukelinu" and at that moment, with us overlooking the fields and enveloping mountains, I felt a supreme sense of accomplishment.
I suppose it's the small things that matter the most.
So about the title: I try my best to talk as long as I can in Tamazight with anyone I meet.
Since there's a couple auberges (bed and breakfast/hotels) in town, the occupants of which are largely from Europe (France and Spain being top two sources), I tend to explain that I'm not a tourist (mashi turist), I will work here for two years, God willing (da xdmgh da sin isugassn, enshalleh), that I like the outdoors/nature very much, and the mountains, snow on the mountains, the river, and the fields (i3jbi tabia3 bzzaf - i3jbi jbl, atfl afflan jbl, d asif, d igran).
I talk about how at the moment I only understand a little bit of Tamazight, but that one day, God willing, Tamazight will be as easy as drinking water. (dghi, nkkin fhmigh ghas imik, walakin ar yanwas tamazight isehel ad su am waman.) This usually engenders a great smile or laugh, with the requisite, "enshalleh!".
I also get asked about Obama alot. It's probably been at least 6 times now. Each time, I say, "i3jbi Obama bzzaf! Obama nishan bzzaf. Nkkin dimuqrati." (I like Obama a lot. He is really smart. I am a Democrat.) The response is usually, "dimuqrati! mzzyan." and a pat on the back or a warm handshake/ (Perhaps it's because they watch Al Jazeera all day (which is by the way, quite impressive in its quality of programming, and is like the CNN [but better, in my opinion, despite not understanding the language] of the Middle East) and enjoy talking about politics, but they seem impressed when I say "dimuqrati".)
I also use this as an opportunity to say what I like most about America - its diversity/culture. After talking about Obama, I say, "i3jbi amzwaru n mirikan, i3jbi taqafa - ungal, lhnd, lfilipin, kori, ajapunit - kulshi mddn n l3alam g mirikan - i3jbi bzzaf" (The number one thing I like about America, is I like its culture/diversity - black, Indian, Filipino, Korean, Japanese - all the people of the world in America, I like alot.)
This is usually greeted with a huge nod and smile.
So I think my language is progressing along fairly well, I have found my community very welcoming thus far, and seem quite excited to have this new American in their town for sin isugassn, enshalleh.
So enough with the words, let's get on with the worth-a-thousand-words-array-of-colors, a.k.a. pictures:
Here's a view of the mountains from the main Auberge on the paved road through town. Even though there's three auberges in the town, they are not ostentatious and the town still has a very douar feel to it. The tourist industry is supposedly growing, but it does not feel touristy at all.
Here's a better view of the fields. Those are apple trees. In a town within an hour is an apple juice cooperative.
In case you're curious about these type of things (like I), here's the construction of the main auberge.
Walls are super wide.
Oh yeah, it snowed the last night - this is the souk town with one PCT and one PCV.
View of the snow-covered mountains from the tranzit (bus taxi; about 20 people).
My PCV "escort" (the person who helped bring me to my site) also gave me a tajlabit as a "welcome to the mountain" lkadu (gift). SaHa bzzaf! (thanks a lot!)
In : morocco
Tags: "final site" tamazight
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