The last month has been a lot of looking for a house to live in here in Tidili and its proven to be quite a task. I’m looking for a house with at least one room, a salon (like a living room), kitchen, bathroom (which is really just a room with a Turkish toilet and if I’m lucky a faucet), running water and electricity. So far I have looked at a total of 7 houses, they either have all of the above but cost too much (Peace Corps allots me 600dh (about $73) per month for housing) or don’t have one of the above. I want a house near the main dowar- which is called Souk (yes, also the name for the weekly market, makes it a bit confusing sometimes) since this is where I’ll buy most of my meat, veggies, fruits, etc and also where my sbitar is located. The house that’s looking like its going to be the one (I’m running out of time here- only 12 days til I can move out) is located in a dowar about 2 K away from Souk, but there is not a paved road connecting the two so I have to walk through gardens and bushes to get to Souk. This is going to suck, especially when I’m trying to get all the initial things (like pots, pans, cups, plates, bed, fridge, oven, etc) into the house but it’s really my only option right now. The house has been home to 2 Peace Corps volunteers that were here sometime around 2001, has 4 rooms (HUGE!- I’ll prob only use 2 and lock up the others), a small kitchen, a garden area/courtyard and a small room which a Turkish toilet will soon be added. Other than the distance/location the other downfall to the house is it only had one faucet and its in an area next to the house that’s supposed to house animals (none there now) so I’ll have to carry buckets to wash dishes, cook, bath, brush my teeth, etc. I guess it’s just something I’ll have to get used too. I might be able to connect a long tube from the faucet to the kitchen but we’ll see if that’s more work than its worth. Due to my lack of housing I have also had to cancel my 4th of July party I wanted to have. Realistically I just cant have the house set up in time to have company, since I probably wont even have ponjs (Moroccan couches) for people to sleep on. I’m pretty bummed about that, but next 4th of July I’ll just have to have a BIGGER bash.
Everyday I’m in this country I learn more and more from the people around me. Sometimes I learn things about myself, sometimes about others and sometimes just random crap.
- I received a package of goodies from my dad a few weeks ago. It ended up being quite the ordeal actually getting the package since the post office in Ourzazate (where our mail goes through) thought they needed to tax the crap out of the boxes and charge me over 1,000dh ($121.00) to pick them up. To give you an idea of how much money that is, I made 1,000Dh the entire month of May! So needless to say, A LOT of money. I went to Ourzazate and with the help of another volunteer whose language is AMAZING got them to drop the total price down to about 700Dh. Everything I do here is an adventure, including our trips to find the proper post office official (who ended up being drunk) to lower the price. The box was worth EVERY CENT as it’s been what’s keeping me from starving between bread, tagine and mushy rice (it was filled with warm clothes for winter and delicious American snacks). Lesson learned? If you want to send me a box (which you probably should) please make sure that you declare it a gift and ensure it is not listed as more then $50.00 value.
- As stated in a previous post I was trying to get my body adjusted to the water so I wouldn’t have to deal with treating it, however I have since learned the hard way I need to treat it. About 2 weeks ago our water got a little murky, which is because its spring water, so I figured I’d be ok if I just drank a little. Well, about 3 hours later I was in the bitlma (bathroom) throwing up everything I’d eaten in the past few days. Let me tell you, throwing up in a small unsanitary hole is about as fun as having to go to the bathroom there. It was a LOOONG night in the bitlma and a terrible next day. I tried to explain to my family I was sick, but they were so worried about me not eating they kept bringing food and drinks to my room. The brought me cheese and coke (two VERY rare things in my house) and I was so grateful but I just couldn’t eat it. They checked on me every hour that day, they really are amazing people. The next day I was told over and over how I looked yellow, thanks family. Lesson learned? Treat the damn water!
- In the past few weeks I also learned that my male nurse, Mohammed will be leaving us here in Tidili. I knew he wanted to leave but I was secretly hoping that he wouldn’t be able to since he’s such a great resource, speaking a bit of English and really wanting to run a clean, sanitary clinic (well as clean and sanitary as it can be in the mountains of Africa). However, he learned last week he is indeed leaving. He was gone for a few days while he was learning his new assignment and I was alone at the sbitar with Khadija. Wow, were things different. It’s so difficult to try and explain why you should do certain things (ex. Recapping and disposing of the needles separately- currently I’m trying to get her to throw them into a bottle of bleach until I can learn how to properly dispose of them) with my limited language and her being so used to doing things her way. Lesson learned: I have my work cut out for me, even more than I thought (I didn’t even think that was possible).