Karaoke Night; or How a PC event turned into a great memory for three young girls

Chair in Fountain

When I heard there was going to be a Karaoke Night during our In-Service Training, I didn’t think much of it.  I need to stop thinking that way.  I am always wrong.  When Peace Corps Volunteers organize something, they make sure it happens in the best possible way.  The same goes for the 3-hour karaoke session we held last night.  What’s better, the second round of Assassin was being played simultaneously.

Pack nearly 100 volunteers in a hot room with no schedule, and they’ll make the best of it.  Add some music, and it’s a party.  Add in the fact that everyone was watching their back nervously, and you have an experience.  From country music to several Adele songs to an original song to Queen, I was astounded by how many fantastic voices we have in The Staj of Love.  I ended up taking short videos of each of the performances.  If I am able to get permission, I hope to post some of these online in the days to come.  Especially the “Carte de Sejour” original song—which details how difficult it is to stay legal in this country.

One of the best moments of the night did not involve the volunteers.  The room where the evening took place has several windows that overlook the pool.  After only a few songs, two preteen girls were at one of the windows, watching us.  We are all in Youth Development.  So, of course, we told them to come join us.  They ended up singing a One Direction song.  A little later, their 5-year old sister joined them to sing Gangham Style.  When they finished, we gave them a standing ovation and one of the volunteers put the 5-year old on her shoulders.  If nothing else, I hope we gave those three young girls a moment they will never forget.

I joined four other volunteers towards the end of the evening in a rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen.  I don’t know if we were any good, but I do know that we sang with passion.  We waved our spoons (the Assassin murder weapons) as we sang “mama….just killed a man.”  In the end, everyone in the room was singing together.  It was beautiful.  When the ITunes account jumped to “Another One Bites The Dust,” we just ran with it.  The Karaoke Night evolved into a 5-minute dance party.  Ironically, as this song was playing, at least one assassination did successfully take place.

As our training winds down, I’m starting to realize just how lucky I am to be here.  Here in the Peace Corps.  Here in Morocco.  Here at a resort.  Here in Marrakesh.  Here with The Staj of Love.  I know the next 650 days will have plenty of ups and downs.  But I think I’ll always feel lucky.  It’s cliché, of course, but I am in awe of what I have been given here.  I just hope I can make the best of it.

Early Christmas, The End of the World, and Psy

Today my family is celebrating an early Christmas for my nieces   That’s part of the practice when parents have joint custody.  It’s sad that they won’t be around for Christmas, but I’m glad they get to see their mother.  I wrote both of them letters to start to prepare them for the written communication I hope to have with them while I am in the Peace Corps.  It’s interesting how my writing changed in these letters.  I tend to write for young adults and adults.  Writing for pre-teens is different.  I don’t want to say anything that will go over their head, but I don’t want to talk down to them.  In the end, honest writing is usually the best.  As always.

I’ve been keeping a close eye on Gangnam Style the past few days.  It looks as though it will hit 1,000,000,000 views around the moment the world is supposed to end.  It’s fascinating watching the comments flow in.  So many people are begging for Psy to take down the video and save us all.  I know a lot of it is people messing around, but it’s still strange to watch.  I love this about the Internet.  It’s like watching the internal monologue of humanity–as it tries to convince itself that it’s not crazy.

Here’s today’s batch of Poetry from 2004:

Words

One Question

No Time for Fear