Today marks a 10% completion of my Peace Corps service. 80 days down. 720 to go. As I settle into my community, I am having my fair share of successes and failures. I feel comfortable walking all the streets of my gorgeous mountainside town. Youth that will be in my English classes come up to me all the time to talk in broken sentences (Broken Arabic from me; broken English from them).
I’m enjoying going to the park on a daily basis and reading. On my first full day here, I went to a park and read for an hour. This 20 year old approached me and told me I was the first person he had ever seen read in public in Bhalil. I was kind of in awe of that statement. He said that, when it wasn’t time to study, all the students really cared about was soccer. After walking around town, I believe him. There’s always at least one game going on in some part of the town.
Before he left, he asked me about America. He followed up by saying he was going to get there some day. It’s not the first time I have heard this. There’s this “Path to a Better Life” that most people in developing nations tend to follow. Here in Morocco, step on is to get into University and become fluent in English and a European Language while studying something important—like becoming a doctor. Knowing the language and the study will help them get to their European country of choice. For my stranger in the park, it was Germany. But Germany is not intended to be the final destination. America is always the final destination—even in today’s world.
For my friend in the park, “I will die in Las Vegas, if God Wills It.”
These are the moments that I live for. I’ve already had several. Yesterday, I found a road that looped around the outside of the entire town. After taking a wrong turn, I found myself at a dead end. It was beautiful. The road dead-ended because it reached a cliff that overlooks the entire town and the entire countryside around the town. I stood there for maybe 20 seconds before a man approached me.
His English was perfect and he didn’t let me speak in Arabic. We talked for half an hour. He lived in the States for 18 years during the prime of his life. His life story was incredible. I wanted to keep talking to him all day. His perspective was unlike anything I have ever heard before. At the end of the conversation, he pointed to a building next to this beautiful overlook and told me it was for rent—and almost perfect for my budget. I can’t wait to go back and check it out. His business is right downstairs from the apartment. I would love to be next door to a person who can tell a great story.
Things are going well.
Let’s keep it that way for the next 80 days.