How to Buy Meat in Morocco

Meat hooks at a butcher.

Meat hooks at a butcher. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The local butcher has a shop just down the street.  His tactics for increasing sales are obvious—and appear to be working.  On the outside door to the shop hangs a cow head.  Every day, a cow head will be there.  It’ll look very much alive except for the vacancy in its eyes and the tongue hanging slightly out of its mouth.  This the butcher’s way of telling his customers that this meat is fresh.

The rest of the cow hangs behind the butcher.  You walk into his store and ask for a certain number of kilos.  The butcher will go to the dead cow and cut off a slab for you—nice and fresh.  He’ll weigh it.  Once he has the right amount, he’ll grind the meat up for you right there.  He puts the slab in the top of the grinder.  Out the side comes ground meat.  This cow won’t even be 24 hours dead by the time his meat is in your stomach.

But that is nothing compared to the chicken vender.  I have only gone once.  With my remaining 700 days in Morocco, I have no intention of returning.  For one thing, I don’t like chicken very much.  For another, I prefer not to see my meal slaughtered.  The chicken vender has a simple setup.  You walk up to his window and ask for a certain number of kilos.  He will walk to the back of his store, where ten chickens are in a pen.

These chickens are always hiding in a corner.  They are able to see what happens to the chickens that get “picked.”  They push each other to hide in the furthest corner, not wanting to die.  The chicken vender picks out a chicken for you and brings it up to the window.  He weighs the live chicken right in front of you.  If the weight is correct, he puts the chicken on the ground, holds its head upward, and cuts its throat.  The chickens in the pen huddle closer together.

After that, the chicken is sent through a defeathering machine.  After a few minutes, you have your meat ready.  The one night that I witnessed this, we ate chicken.  It’s strange to think that the meat you are eating was alive just a couple hours ago—trying not to be the winner of some reaping.  But that’s how it works here.

In America, we hide the process of killing.  When we go to buy our meals for the day, we see processed meat, not living animals.  It makes it easier for us to stomach.  As for me, I’m tending towards the side of America.  Once I’m on my own and cooking on my own…I can’t see myself buying meat.  I don’t know how to be a vegetarian…but I may have to figure it out.

It’s that or learn how to be okay with reaping a chicken every few nights.

Day 56 in Peace Corp Morocco: The End of Training

I am 7% done with my Peace Corps adventure.  It’s becoming increasingly difficult to understand time here in Morocco.  It’s only been eight weeks since I left the States.  It feels like it’s been a year.  The thing is, my time here feels like it is flying by.  It just doesn’t make any sense.  To add more to the confusion, everyone back home is now an hour closer to me since Morocco doesn’t do Daylight Saving Time.  We found this out by trying to explain to our Language and Cultural Facilitator what DST is.  We confused her and came away with the understanding that there is no DST in Morocco.

Sorry for the sabbatical.  Studying is intense in the first few months of Peace Corps.  The thing is, it works.  I’m holding full conversations with my host family now.  I’m sure it’ll be easier to keep updating once I get to my final site.  Below is my first full piece of writing while in Morocco.  I am still doing a lot of writing–just not anything I can put on here.  I write in my journal on a daily basis.  I’m also doing well on the script I started a few weeks back.  It’ll be a long process, but it is definitely coming together.

Here’s my full Peace Corps Update:

Saying Goodbye to Mom and Dad


End of my first Week in the Peace Corps

The orientation week for the Peace Corps has been tiring.  We have full schedules everyday (except today–that’s how I explored Rabat).  The pictures should be below.  I have three more days in this city until I head off to the Atlas Mountains to start my Pre-Service training….which includes some extreme 4-hours a day language training.  I already got a hold on basic Moroccan Arabic.  I hope I can continue making this kind of progress.

I finally found an Internet Cafe that has stable internet.  I was able to Skype with my whole family plus my girl.  It’s been great to catch up with everyone after a week with sketchy internet.  I hope you enjoy the photos.  I am going to continue posting old writings while I get settled here in Morocco.  In honor of President Obama’s second inauguration  here is a piece about the Presidential Election of 2004.  Enjoy my first attempts at political writing (from back when I was 15).

November 2nd, 2004


The Culture of Rape

SlutwalkI hope you can excuse my week-long absence.  After updating last, I got a text from my quasi-girlfriend in Houston, Texas.  What followed was a bunch of running about.  About 15 hours after the first text, I was on the road.  I spent New Years with her.  I got to meet her family.  I got to meet her adopted grandfather.  I got to decipher Spanish when the family talked to each other.  It was a great way to spend the first few days of 2013 with her.  Now, back in Colorado, I am preparing to leave for Morocco.  Today is my Goodbye party.  I also have only 20 items on my To-Do list.  It will be a crazy week, but I should be ready in time.

Today’s update is important to me.  I spent the past two or three weeks trying to perfect this article.  After a long late-night discussion with one of my closest friends, I had to write it.  The article revolves around rape and Slutwalk.  I didn’t realize until recently how strongly I feel about this.  The news out of India only makes me realize how severe the problem is.  Still, my article is only focused on America because this is the only culture I have spent a significant amount of time in.  I hope to get some feedback.

Thank you,

Dismantling the Culture of Rape in America

A Gift to My Readers

As a Christmas gift to all my readers, I have lowered the prices on the novel I spent a majority of 2012 working on: The Stagner Chronicle.  I will not be receiving any money from the sale of the book–that’s the only way to get the price so low.  If you do download it for free or buy a cheap version of the printed book, I hope you will be kind enough to provide me with any feedback or reactions (I can never get enough feedback).

Merry Christmas to you all!  Enjoy!

31 years after the conclusion of America’s Second Revolution, those involved in the events release “The Stagner Chronicle.” This oral history documents a drastically different history from the one set in the history books. While living in a dystopian America, three young men and women accidently spark a revolution. When they are declared enemies of the state, the trio must avoid capture or risk being thrown in an underground prison-known as a Black Site. Meanwhile, The Revolution gains some real traction.

Paperback for only $6.77
Hardback for only $20.28

Christmas Eve Bash

There are some 30 people coming to my parent’s house for Christmas Eve dinner this evening.  I can’t wait.  I love being around my family during the holidays.  I hope all my readers are enjoying their Christmas celebrations.  Not to ruin the spirit, but I woke up with guns on the mind (that’s what happens when you engage in Facebook debates  I guess).  I spent the morning working on another piece regarding my country and it’s disgusting gun-rights offensive.  I just hope something is actually going to be done this time.

All I want for Christmas is Gun Control


Gun Control & Mental Health

I sent my letter regarding the Connecticut shooting to ten of my elected officials.  In the hope of keeping them accountable, today I am going to let you know where each of them stand.  I will follow up on this as more details become available.

Colorado State Representative Dave Young: The only person who has responded to my letter thus far.  It was a beautiful response.  His focus is threefold: Better mental health help in Colorado; limit gun ownership for those with serious mental illnesses; close the gun show loophole.  Although he does not agree with me on banning semi-automatic weapons and extended clips, that is okay.  That needs to be done at the Federal level anyway.
Colorado State Representative Steve Humphrey [No Public Comment or Response Yet]
Colorado State Senator Scott Renfroe [No Public Comment or Response Yet]
Colorado State Senator Glenn Vaad  [No Public Comment or Response Yet]
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper: He helped put together a much needed mental health expansion in Colorado–which needs to be approved by our state congress.  He also called for closing the Gun Show Loophole.  Hickenlooper called for “a debate” to take place regarding gun control, but has yet to release any specifics.

U.S. Representative Cory Gardner [No Public Comment or Response Yet]
U.S. Representative Jared Polis: Polis has also focused on closing the gun show loophole.  He is also very outspoken about increasing mental health help in Colorado.  No word yet on Gun Control.
U.S. Senator Michael Bennet  [No Public Comment or Response Yet]
U.S. Senator Mark Udall [No Public Comment or Response Yet]
President Barack Obama: Obama has been solidly in the pro-gun column his entire presidency.  Fortunately, the events in Connecticut are forcing him to the left.  He appears to be actively pushing for an assault weapons ban.  He has also has talked at length about mental health.  For a President, however, I expect action–not just talk.

I will update this list again in a week or two.  In the meantime, i suggest you write a letter to your elected officials about what you want to see changed.