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Questions People Have Asked Me About Morocco (and the Peace Corps) (part one)

A few common reactions I get from people when I tell them I'm going to Morocco for the Peace Corps:

A: "Oh, how great! Are you having to learn French?"
B: "Morocco, where is that?"
C: // uncomfortable silence, perhaps slow nodding //

The people in group A know enough about history and geography to engage in the conversation. The people in group B don't know as much, but are still engaged and want to learn. They are not ashamed of their questions. Group C people do not know where Morocco is, but also feel as if they can't ask any questions about it, because that would reveal that they do not in fact know everything in the world, and that would make them feel foolish.

Well fear not, unquestioning ones, for I am about to share the fruits of the labors of those who have mustered up the courage to let their curiosity show. Here is the first:

Cool, Morocco! Where is that?

Morocco is the country in the Northwest corner of Africa.

Spain protrudes from the top of the picture while the lower 3/5 is taken up mostly by Morocco. A few things to note:

1) Morocco is bordered by the Atlantic on its west and the Mediterranean on its North.
2) Morocco comes really freaking close to Spain.
3) Morocco has lots of coast, lots of fertile land, lots of desert, and a large mountain range, dividing the fertile land from the desert. These are the Atlas Mountains.

Morocco is roughly the same size as California and has a comparable population (in terms of quantity, not demeanor). It is a Constitutional Monarchy (more on that in a later post). The main spoken languages are Arabic, Berber, and French. It is 99% Muslim, and the people are a mix of the indigenous Berbers and Arabs.

I've been reading a book called Morocco, A Country Study, put out by The American University. According to the title page, research was completed in 1985. So yeah, it's outdated, but the history has been very in-depth (and readable!), and anyway, it'll have to do while I wait for my Inter-Library Loan books to show up.

I'll return to answer some more questions about my impending adventure into the Arab world.
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