Monday, April 11, 2011

The Best and Worst of Spring Camp Agadir 2011

-Gorgeous weather and going to the beach everyday
-Being able to enjoy the weather by not being quite so covered yet still culturally sensitive
-Amazing food all week (except for the coffee)

-My English class (especially learning "head and shoulders" and directions!)
-Helping the youth explore their talents
-Meeting some great youth with huge potential
-Watching as some of the shy girls broke out of their shell

-Holding an "egg drop" competition and seeing how creative the campers became
-Impromptu dance parties!!
-Explaining English jokes to Moroccans (Why is 6 afraid of 7?? Because 7 ate 9! haha!)
-Talent Show on the final night

-Hanging out with three other awesome PCV ladies
-Photo shoots!
-Private bathroom with western toilet

-Killing cockroaches at 1am :(
-Moroccan staff encouraging bad behavior
-Having one boy only speak French to me during an English placement test :(
-the coffee
-being woken up by someone pounding on the door every morning

Overall I would say camp was a huge success. The campers were happy during camp and they were all sad when it was time to leave all their new friends. Moroccan staff were not the most useful but at least they were there and did most of what was expected of them. I would give camp a 7.5 out of 10!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Acting Out Awareness

When you think of Africa, what are the first things that come to mind?? Probably things like hot, lions, elephants, giraffes, huts, monkeys, mosquitoes, dancing, drums, tea, and poor people. Most of these things apply to all of Africa. Morocco, known as the cold African country with the hot sun, is hot, there are animals (more sheep, goats, donkeys and camels than anything else), lots of drums and dancing, and of course tea. One thing that you might think of when you think of Africa is AIDS but it's not that big of a problem in Morocco. However, in the south, particularly the Souss area, there is the highest number of people living with AIDS.

One day, my mudir, or director, told me he had put together a skit on AIDS awareness. I stayed after class and the kids presented it to me. Even though I didn't understand everything they were saying (it's in both Darija and Fussha), I could see that they had already put a lot of time and energy into the skit. I told my mudir that I liked it but wanted to know what they were saying. He told the kids "again!" and as they acted it out he explained to me what was happening in baby Darija. Here's the general idea; the skit is about how it doesn't matter where you are in the world, you can get AIDS. It is up to you to educate yourself and your friends and family on how to stay protected.

After we watched the skit a 2nd time, my mudir told me he wanted to travel around the Souss and present the skit to 10 different dar chebab's (youth centers). He asked me if there was a way I could help find money for transportation and some supplies. I talked to my program director and told him about the idea and he was very interested. Turns out there is a grant just for AIDS/HIV projects. He sent me the materials and I sat down with my mudir and we wrote the grant. Thanks to my tutor/interpretor, Ahmed, we were able to write down the general information in one day. I spent some time fixing the language and putting it into the proper format and sent it back to PC. I cleverly named the project "Acting Out Awareness".

I found out that I will be getting the money so the project is a GO! This will be my first big project in site and I'm super happy about it because I know that my mudir and students are 100% engaged in completing it. As it stands right now, we will travel to 9 dar chebab's (we will do a performance at our own as well to make 10), present the skit, have a Q & A session, and we will paint a wall mural at each dar chbab with the participants as a reminder of what they learn and the importance of AIDS education. As my mother pointed out, "you'll be leaving your mark." Yes I will. Hopefully this will only be the first mark of many more to come.

Today I am off to Agadir for an English immersion Spring camp. It should be fun and I'm excited to see what kind of activities the Moroccan staff have planned. I'll be coming back to site in about a week and then will have a day or two to rest up and then it's off for my PBR vacation (Prague, Budapest and Rome)!!! I'm going to be a busy girl these next few months!!