Morocco Week 5: Family Reunion

This week all 50 of us spent three days training in what we call “HUB.” It took a while to get down the mountain because of a thick fog, but once we did, the city spread out before us. We got to the hotel as other community-based training (CBT) groups were getting there. The atmosphere was electric. Everyone was excited to see one another and see how things were going at the other training sites.

It had only been a few weeks since we’d all been together at orientation, but somehow it felt like forever. We had all been through so much since then, settling in with our host families and starting work at our dar chebabs. We were already different people than we had been when we left orientation.

The days quickly turned into training sessions and the nights were full of games, socializing, selfcare, and exploring the city.

The first night, I went out with a small group to McDonald’s. Was it ridiculous to go to Morocco only to go straight to McDonald’s the first time I was back in a big city? Maybe. But I had been craving ice cream and French fries for over a week.

The Marjane (a popular Moroccan supermarket) was next door, so we decided to stop by and stock up. I grabbed some essentials and happened to find my favorite tea cookies from my time in Ireland. Was the joy this small discovery gave me also ridiculous? Probably. But I embraced the high anyway and took the bonus win.

The second night was selfcare, including a long shower and an early bedtime.

The third night, a big group of us went to a local park to see the waterfalls and medieval castle.

We decided to stay for the sunset, which meant a mad dash back to the hotel to catch dinner, but it was 10/10 worth it. After dinner, I played 20 Questions with three Moroccans, which was both entertaining and hilarious. I also got an impromptu cultural session about marriage in some of the more conservative regions of Morocco. I tried to go to bed after that, but was pulled into a game of “flip the water bottle” instead. Yes, for those of you wondering at home, a group of Peace Corps trainees and their Moroccan teachers can be entertained for hours by trying to land a partially-filled water bottle on its cap.

Back at our training site, my team ended the week on a high note. We had our first English lesson in the dar chebab observed by the training staff and it was a great success. As I’ve learned in my short time with Peace Corps Morocco: the humblest gifts are the most appreciated.