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Showing posts from April, 2012

CBT Phase

In my last post, I offered you a little glimpse into what Peace Corps calls pre-service orientation. Now, you will be granted an equally unsatisfying glimpse into the world of real training, the 2-month phase Peace Corps calls Community Based Training, or CBT.

Here is how it works:

After the trainees have had enough time to form intense emotional bonds in Rabat, Peace Corps cruelly separates everybody into groups made up of six trainees each. These six people, plus a Language and Cultural Facilitator (LCF) (a Moroccan, of course) are the trainees' new family. All of the CBT groups are divided into three Hubs: one around Fes, one around Azrou, and one around Immouzer. As mentioned previously, my CBT landed in the Fez Hub.

What this means for me is that after nine wonderful days of togetherness at the Hotel in Rabat, 2/3 of the group will be largely out of reach to me. Of the remaining 1/3, about 40 trainees, I will see only my five site-mates on a daily basis. However, three times dur…

Hospitality in the City

Rabat is known in the guidebooks as the "bland city."

For nine days, 112 Peace Corps Trainees occupied a hotel in downtown Rabat, roaming herd-like from session to session and indulging in the ubiquitous, sweet-as-sin mint tea and pastries in between. We had 24-hour police protection around the hotel, yet PC staff gave us plenty of freedom to explore the city on our own during free time.

Rabat is beautiful: the Old Medina is labyrinthine and magical, the percussive notes of Darija dancing with the smells of spice stands and shawarma. In ancient Chellah, storks nest in the upper levels of the ruined structures. The Atlantic waves crash into the walls of the Kasbah, lapping up around the lighthouse. Lounging on the breakwater, one can watch the sun gently lowers herself behind the delicate veil of ocean mist.

"Bland" can not, in other words, accurately describe any part of my experience thus far.

Allow me to share a few first impressions:

Desperate Measures

On the bus ri…