Wednesday, February 22, 2006

whatever my lot...even if it's tripe

so this week's been a weird one...a lot of sitting scrolling through thousands of recovered images...not a lot of RAW ones back, but a whole wack of good-sized jpgs which is a blessing. I did get some of the best photos from the Moroccan village back but am missing all my shots from that night when the guys took me to the medina and the atlantic...which totally stinks, because those photos were not only some great shots, but they personally represented the first time I officially felt like myself...hanging out w/ the guys I felt I could be expressive and funny and just goof public when I was with the girls I had to act as they did, and women in public (at least in Rabat) do not express themselves openly in public often. Plus seeing the ocean and getting out of the tight squeeze of city existence, if even for a few moments, was the first time I felt I could breathe something other than exhaust fumes and yes, even bbq. BUT, I'm going back to Rabat on my way to Fes next week so maybe if I bribe the boys with a horsemeat meal on me, they'll take me to the ocean and the medina again! The only thing I WON'T repeat will be eating dried fruit and nuts straight from the stalls...I'm not sure if that's what made my insides churn, but I defintely didn't sleep that night!

Aside from endless hours letting my eyes glaze over in front of the screen, I have had a few fun experiences. First off, I unknowingly ordered and consumed tripe. Some of us from the media centre were downtown for tapas and one of the tapas I chose was called 'callos' which was conveniently translated in English on the menu as 'pork'. 'Fabulous,' i thought, 'how could I go wrong.' The dish contained pieces of pork that resembled the animal's innards (no kidding!) and the taste vaguely reminded me of the cow's feet I ate in Morocco. Assuming that it was the familiar taste putting me off, I consumed the entire little dish despite my reluctant tastebuds, only because I figured it was protein and I needed some. Never mind the fact that it had cost me 2 Euros. It wasn't until my roommate Rosie was reading a Spanish cookbook that I'd found out the chunky pig parts fried in oil was tripe. I sighed and added it to my list.

The next day was Sunday and Beth who has lived here in the past, took me to her Spanish church. We arrived early which gave us a chance to meet some people (ha ha, one of whom was a very attractive Spanish guy my age who surprised me twice when he came to greet me: first by telling me his name was 'Francie'...pronounced 'Franthie' and short for 'Francisco'...and secondly, by greeting me in the traditional Spanish style with a kiss next to both cheeks! After being in Morocco where you only kiss those of the same sex, I'd forgotten that this is NOT the case in Spain! I'm always flustered when this happens here!...Don't worry dad, i won't be coming home with a spanish guy named Franthie...he doesn't speak any english!). Once the service began, I was quite surprsied to find that we sung only one song, there was no offering taken up, and the congregation spent a lot of the time conversing with the pastor. Now I assumed that even though this was an evangelical church very much modeled after the typical north american style, that there'd be some cultural alterations made to their service, to suit their particular styles and needs, but I was pretty taken aback by the circumstances mentioned above. I shrugged my shoulders and thought 'whatever floats your boat', and proceeded to spend the next hour and a bit reading my Bible, journaling, etc. After all, I couldn't understand a word of the Spanish being spoken. As the preacher closed, and I started to gather my things, Beth leaned over and whispered, "I just realised that this was SUNDAY we have CHURCH!" If I had to sit in a church for more than a couple of hours back home I think I'd leave, but here all I could do was laugh! What else could I do!!?? So 15 minutes later when the actual service started (and yes we did sing more, the offering was taken up, and the preacher WAS the only one speaking during the service!) I whipped out my spanish phrase book and just read for the next 75 minutes. All I could think was, 'oh well, just another story to add to my blog!' Here I figure if something doesn't work out the way I expected, there's a good chance it'll make a good story!!!

Anyway, praise God for new experiences and for the recovery of a good chunk of photos!!! I'm at peace with what was not recovered, and will eventually get over it I'm sure! It reminds me of the time I accidentally erased the footage of me singing the anthem at a Vipers game...I was sick about it forEVER. Now it's certainly still a regret, but I don't feel angst about it anymore!
And speaking of hockey, I don't get to watch the olympics over here, but I'm really hoping Canada pulls itself together to defend our gold...if the girls can do it, so can the men right!?

anyhow, if i don't get another chance to update this thing before I leave, you'll be hearing from me next from the great imperial city of FES!!! apparently Faasi women are the best cooks in Morocco...can't wait!!!!!


Thursday, February 16, 2006

hanging insanity out to dry

So it's been a while since I've posted anything...thanks to all of you faithful blog watchers who've been patiently waiting for an update!!! The last 8 days have been full of excitement, fun, stress, tears, exhaustion, relief...but NEVER boredom!!! Thank goodness, because while I can handle the other things, boredom I believe I cannot!

Let me start in chronological order so I don't forget things! healthwise things picked up and eating routines went back to normal...though no more cow's feet or eating from the market. One evening the girls and I went to a Moroccan movie (no French subtitles even) which was a really artful film, very beautifully done...and because there was a lot of physical comedy in it, I was able to enjoy the movie and understand the storyline. It was awesome just to spend the evening at the theatre w/ chips and pop...I felt like I was back home...until I had to pay for toilet paper in the ladies' room!

One major highlight towards the end of the week was a trip out to one of the villages where I had some of the most awesome photography experiences! First of all, it was such a blessing just to get out into the country and hear nothing but horses trotting up the road and sheep in the fields...the smell of manure, the barns and rickety windmills...I thought I was in heaven!!! And when we went into the village souq I was more than surprised to find that the townspeople were eager to have their photos taken!!! What a switch from the city!!! We visited one small shanty for tea and the woman who ran it allowed me to photograph the whole mint tea-making process....oh my goodness, the people here are so beautiful....often worn and weathered, but very noble and exotic woman i photographed nearby had these absolutely amazing eyes and these beautifully henna-painted hands which were sifting couscous...the men in the village were much more respectful of me than in the city and some of the older men sitting next to us at lunch allowed me to photograph them as they sipped their tea...only in exchange for a picture of them with me though!!! For lunch we had horse again and I really wanted to buy one of those cooking tools (called a 'shuia'...probably spelling that all wrong but it's an arabic word anyway so not like there are english letters to spell it with) but instead they guys at the bbq gave me one to take home. I have it in my room here and spain and after a week it still smells like horsemeat!!!! mmmmm!!!!!!!!

That weekend I said goodbye to everyone at the office, hung out around downtown a bit more, visited with friends on Sunday and packed everything up. Monday morning I was dropped off at the train station and was really quite amazed at how attached to Rabat I'd become...Rabat probably isn't the most amazing travel destination in Morocco, but it certainly was home to some of the most amazing people I've met, and therefore it became a bit like home. But only a bit!

Travel back to Malaga was an adventure all on its own. For the first time I was alone in Morocco and a little hesitant making the trip on my own as a girl. The five hour train ride took me to Tangier where the lady I shared a car with on the train helped me get a taxi, which then took me to the port. During this time I was trying to get a grip on the language issue because without a translator and being so close to Spain, it was possible to use any number of languages, but which one(s) any particular person knew was a complete guessing game. Basically I was like, "Habla Ingles? ou, est-ce que tu parle en Francais? English!? Oh fantastic....Shukran, Bslemmah!" Flip, I was struggling so bad especially as any Spanish I'd picked up in Spain had completely wandered off while I was in Rabat.

While waiting for the ferry in the port at Tangier I met a Swedish man sitting next to me who turned out to be the father of Goran Kropp--the adventurer who'd biked to Everest, hiked it, and biked back to Sweden (among many other amazing feats, including a 2nd climb up everest). Unfortunately only a few years ago Goran (who'd moved to Seattle) was killed when he fell while climbing. There's a book out about his everest trek i think and his adventures have been featured in the banff film festival. Anyway, his dad seemed like a really neat guy and gave me a bunch of travel tips and ideas for when I head down to the south of Morocco towards then end of my stay here.

As I was waiting in line for the ferry, I began growing anxious about how I was going to get back to Malaga after landing in Tarifa. I'd experienced delays all day so far and was now incredibly set back, so I just started praying that God would work everything out. And as always, He did...MARVELOUSLY!!!!! I had begun chatting with these four British ladies who were holidaying down in southern Spain and were just returning for a day trip into Tangier. These women were hilarious and friendly and it was really nice to speak English w/ some English-speaking women so I wound up sitting w/ them on the ferry. As they became aware of my increasingly desperate situation (as time passed the chances of connecting to the next two buses grew more and more slim, and the possibility of catching the malaga city bus home once arriving in Malaga became impossible) they began insisting I spend the night with them at the one woman's condo. I accepted very willingly!!! Not only did these women have a hoot trying to set me up with their sons, but they filled me with food and wine and laughter and gave up one of the rooms for me!!! As I sank into the most amazing bed I've EVER slept in I realised that I'd never have met them had I not been traveling alone. Over the last few years I've felt so alone when I've traveled but for the first time that night I told God that I'd no longer keep asking for friends to travel with. He was enough, and He always provided good company along the way!!! The next morning I had the most amazing shower and finally got to shower long enough to shave the hairy forest my legs had become! One of the women packed me a lunch for the bus, we all took photos (the condo overlooks one of Spain's top golf courses) and then we headed down to La Linea where they set me up with the bus and bus money so that I could return safe and sound to Malaga! Oh, and the women are mostly from Devon area (one from London) and want to visit when I go up to visit Mandee at the end of April!!! The bus station in La Linea is in Spain, but still pretty much in the shadow of the giant Rock of Gibraltar which was really amazing to see. So much history and geography all rolled into one gigantic tip of land!!! From there I took the bus to malaga and then the city bus home...2 days of travel and I was exhausted!!! I really didn't think my apartment in malaga would feel as much like home as it did but it was really comforting to feel like I'd arrived 'home'!

Since then I've been able to catch up on some sleep and try and get things going at work. Today was a really destressing day as I lost 4 gigs worth of some of the best photos I took when a computer program went haywire and decided to just erase a bunch of stuff. Due to some other complications the images hadn't been backed up yet so I was really, really upset. The computer guys were in the room and all day long they've been working to retrieve it but no luck yet (I do have 3/4 of my images from Morocco saved to cd so not all is lost, but my experience in the medina and the village are gone). They're going to try some more stuff tomorrow and I'm hoping but am not counting on getting it back. I'm amazed though at how God kept me from really cracking at that point. I went for a walk just to get some air and as I began walking I started praying. I surprised myself by praising God for all that He HAD given me and just trusting that He would work all things out. I thought I'd be like, "God WHY!!!!!!??????" and just get all mad etc., but the Lord just washed over me with an inner peace that swept away all potential anger and frustration. I knew that, just as with Job, God would provide better images and experiences for me if He decided to take these ones away and if I steadily put my faith in Him. I am SO excited to see how He will come through!!! And if the images are gone for good, then I have to remember that it was God who inspired me years ago to become a photographer, and this is really all for Him and His glory, not for me and mine!!! "The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away...blessed be the name of the Lord." Besides, there are worse things that could happen right!!!

On a much, much lighter note, one of the new girls here (who is very close to my age!) actually found me the closest thing to tortilla chips (which do not exist here...I came expecting a lot of Mexican-style food...apparently everyone does, but things like Guacamole and nachos aren't a part of the diet here...and if you want mexican type food it's in the foreign food section...and quite frankly i don't want to be buying Old El Paso fajitas in a box)....PLAIN Dorritos!!! Do they even HAVE plain dorritos in north america!? they're great!!! so today i had that with salsa (also hard to find) chicken, and mashed avacados with lime (having a hard time finding cilantro for guac)...SO GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!

anyway, i really should go! thanks so much for your prayers and please pray that my images can all be fully restored! and if not, pray that I handle the disappointment with grace!!!!

OH! one more thing, we have this interesting laundry line system that is shared between all the apartments and today was the first time i actually used it (before i kept hanging things up around the apartment cuz i was too scared to hang it 8 storeys above ground!!!) and i'm very proud to say that i put my laundry out and brought it in all without losing so much as a single sock!!! It's amazing, I'd never considered the delicate art of hanging the wash before...nor had I contemplated the strength and quality of clothespins...despite the fact that they've been used forEVER, I found myself eyeing them warily wondering if they could indeed handle the weight of my jeans!!!

ok, i'm off! love u all, have a fantastic day, evening, canada, the States, New Zealand, australia, guatemala, europe, asia, africa...crazy...i can hardly keep track of all your time zones!!!

i'm going home to eat now!

hasta luego!


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

bottom's up! highs and lows...

*note* written on February 7, posted on Feb. 8

ok, so some great experiences and just one I wish I could erase! I'll start with the good.

I had been feely pretty trapped as of late and was just praying that God would provide me with some opportunities to get out, to take photos with more freedom etc., and lo and behold (why am i actually surprised! He always comes through!!!!) a couple of the guys (horse meat dudes) offered to hang out w/ me after work so I could do some shooting during the evening. So yesterday the three of us spent a good three hours walking around pretty much all of central Rabat. We hit the beach first, which was my first time visiting the Atlantic, and hung out there for a bit which was such a huge blessing. The guys wandered off (not too far mom, there were within voice range!) and left me to sit on a rock near the cliffs where I just prayed and watched the waves crash against the shore. I knew I didn't have long to sit there so I just prayed that God would provide enough rejuvination in those ten minutes to carry me through the next week. I didn't want to leave but knew that the setting sun wouldn't provide the coveted light for long so reluctantly I left my spot of solice.

We continued to cover the entire coastline until it wound down to a rocky pier and then made a sharp turn where the Atlantic meets the Bou Ouregreg (a river). From there we made our way up to the towering kasbah L'Oudaias and then down again into the old medina nearby. I'd visited the medina during the day and was pretty disappointed by it's wide empty streets and dull atmosphere, but at night, wow I'm pretty sure all of Rabat and Sale were crammed into its streets!!! Having the guys as guides made it especially interesting and they were always so patient with me wanting to stop and shoot. We stopped at one stall selling nuts, dates, dried fruit etc. where I had the most wonderful shooting experience! I would put this on the charts as a tie with horse meat (no, horse meat was mainly eating and some photos, this was photos and some eating...two of my FAVOURITE things anyway!!!) for one of my top experiences!!! When I asked if I could take a few photos (en Francais) the owner spread out his hands and said "BEAUCOUPS des photos!!!" I'm sure he had no idea what he was offering when he said I could take LOTS of photos...lots is completely relative depending on who you're talking to! Maybe he meant a dozen...ha, if you give me the opportunity, I'll milk it for all it's worth...without overstepping the bounds or outstaying my welcome of course!!! Anyway, the guys spent about 15 minutes haggling over various bags of fruit and nuts while I shot away...happy as a clam!!! After they'd finished and after I'd finished thanking the clerk and shopkeepers profusely, the clerk (who stands up front and deals with all the money while workers stand in the middle of heaping piles of raisins, dried apricots, dates, almonds etc. and toss paper bags full of purchases back and forth to the buyers) asked me where I was from. When I told him Canada he asked if I was from Montreal (cuz lots of Moroccans have immigrated there) and when I told him the Vancouver area (oh come on, who the heck over here is gonna know where Vernon is!!! plus i live for part of the year in the 'couve!) he replied "WELCOME to my country! You are welcome every time! You like my country? (Me "Tres, tres bien....mizyen bizzef!!!") Well you are welcome here!!!" I think my grin didn't fade until sometime a few hours later!!! It's rare that strangers here will open up to be photographed and when the invite is offered and a welcome like that extended, I could just about burst!!! This morning I was meandering through Sale's medina when a woman with a baby on her back asked for me to photograph them!!! For a woman here to agree, never mind ASK, to be photographed, is AMAZING to me!!! These experiences are rare and cherished! Of course most of the guys want me to take their picture...they'd also like a VISA out of the country I'm sure (though no proposals and offers of camels yet!) Anyway, last night's experience was was my first night out and I was blown away by the thousands of people weaving through the medina, the exotic smells, the amazing fabrics, teapots, carpets, spices...the smell of meat roasting EVERYWHERE!!! sigh....i was terribly happy when I arrived back at the apartment.

And terribly miserable only hours later when the Moroccan version of Montezuma's Revenge decided to make a (hopefully quick) visit during the night. Normally I wouldn't be sharing this on a blog with everyone I know, but since half the office here already knows (the girls mentioned it this it isn't uncommon in this particular circle to let everyone know WHY exactly you might be popping immodium like candy.) I might as well tell all. Sigh..I'm not used to having bodily functions discussed explicitly amongst coworkers in another language. Anyway, I spent a great deal of the night hanging out on the cold porcelain throne with no toilet seat. Magical. Thankfully during shooting today I never had to make a mad dash for the w.c. and am feeling substantially better...thanks to the plethora of natural and medicinal miracles I’d packed into miny ziploc bags. Needless to say, lunch today was a few mere servings of yogurt. I went with the guys to buy lunch and the one was like, "So and so told me that you were sick with--" I cut him off right there and very politely explained that in Canada all the reasons WHY one might be ill are not always expressed. I think when my face went all red he understood what I was getting at!!! I am all for fitting into the culture but there was no way that announcing how my bowels were working was something I could get comfortable announcing when I arrived at work every morning. One of the other guys who knew kept insisting I buy certain foods to help my situation. "Safi, shukran" I kept repeating...holding up my hand as a common sign that 'it was okay'. I haven't been more embarrased since...well, it's been a while.

And now I'm in the office converting images and writing this. Trying to take subtle sips of water so not everybody sees and thinks "Ahh, I know why she's drinking more water than usual!"

and that's all i'm gonna write, cuz really, i've said enough for today!

bottom's up!


*note for February 8* feeling a lot embarrassing moments today...still keepin' my fingers crossed though!!!

Monday, February 06, 2006

first official breakdown???

Okay, so I think I'm finally really feeling the effects of culture shock...still love it here and want to spend more time in Morocco, but yesterday a couple from the States who I'd met in Malaga came with their daughter to Rabat. Seeing/talking to westerners for the first time in 10 days triggered a few emotions, never mind the fact that part of their reason for making the effort to see me was just to make sure I was doing okay and was taken care of. Gayle and I really hit it off back in Malaga and she sort of became this surrogate mom figure for me! Anyway, the hardest part about being here really hit me yesterday with full force. Because I'm a girl, it's not safe for me to be anywhere alone, which makes photography really difficult at times. My favourite times to take photos are just after the sun has risen and just before it sets...the light is perfect and the people are out and about coming to and from work, buying food, catching public transportation....I wish I had the freedom to make my own schedule so I could photograph during these times, but those times are when WE are coming to and from work and aren't really appropriate for whipping out a camera. Basically I am whisked from taxi to bus etc., as the masses push and shove their way through the streets...perfect time of day for pickpockets!!! Okay..sorry I'm rambling's just going to be one of those days...Anyway, like I said, no freedom to make my own schedule. And when the girls finish work either for the evening or the weekend, they stay at home indoors. As a western girl I am used to going wherever I want, when I choose, with whom I like (you know, within reason...I don't spend my nights hanging out in Vancouver's Downtown East Side)...and I pretty much have the freedom to make my own shooting schedule! On Saturday I asked if the girls ever took walks around the neighborhood and they looked at me like i was insane!!! The sun was shining and all I wanted to do was walk around the block, but it wasn't safe. However, I was allowed on the roof, so I went up their for about 15 minutes, but I mean, how long can you hang out on a roof full of laundry lines and satelite dishes? And so after no time alone, no way to photograph during my favourite times, and no westerners to talk to about it...I officially broke down. Plus yesterday was a completely overwhelming (but amazing) afternoon as I experienced a Moroccan baby shower. It's men and women and TONS of people and LOTS of food, but when the room exploded with dozens of people I didn't know, all speaking in a language I couldn't understand, I felt like Ian from My Big Fat Greek Wedding when they all rush at him at the Easter dinner. I sat on the couch and thought, 'i should be shooting this!!!' but literally was stuck in my seat, absolutely culture shocked and totally speechless. Any Moroccan I'd learned had taken the day off and my French was a total gonner. I swear I didn't leave that position for 10 minutes. Later as I eased into the atmosphere I did a lot of shooting which was amazing. I also connected with a 7-yr. old girl who's French was far superior to mine...but she had the patience to speak 'plus lentement pour moi'. Plus I think my body is starting to feel some of the effects of new eating regimes. Basically breakfast is really sweet and full of sugar and no my body is a bit shaky and unstable in the mornings...lunch is fine during the week...lots of meat, and then dinner is maybe some bread, yogurt, and a piece of fruit. The mother of the girls I live with came by and commented that I'd lost weight...she'd seen me shortly after arriving. I think that even though I'm eating so much bread, the smaller portions for breakfast and dinner have been taking their toll. Not that I want the bread to be helping me put on weight by any means (!) but I feel a bit nutritionally unbalanced and today very weak. But it's Monday and the guys will go for lunch again, however, I've told them I need something normal today!!!

Okay, I gotta run! Please pray for me...I'm truly doing wonderfully, but you know, there are always hard days and the last 24 hrs. have proven to be one of them!!! I sleep great though, and am nice and warm once I crawl in bed!!! All in all, life is great...can't really complain too much!! Plus being with the girls and not in a hotel with a guide and freedom to schedule my day enables me to understand what it's like for girls here...if I were in a hotel I'd be hoping to experience everyday life...maybe some great pics, but little understanding which is really more valuable!

Anyway, I'm about to go shoot and really just want to burst into tears, so if you could pray that I will have the stamina to put on a strong face and go out there, I'd appreciate it SO much!!!

"Because the Sovereign Lord helps me I will not be dismayed. Therefore I have set my face like a stone determined to do His will. And I know that I will triumph!" Isaiah 50:7

Friday, February 03, 2006

So hungry I could've eaten a HORSE!!!

Readers be advised...this blog posting is not recommended for the faint of heart nor the vegetarians in the crowd...

So the last couple of days have been FULL, and I mean jam-packed, smokin' FULL of new experiences. The highlight being...get ready for meat!!!

Even as I write I'm grinning ear to ear, just recollecting the experience...well, experiences...I had a horse meat sandwich for lunchy yesterday too!!!

Okay, so the other day some of the guys from the office were going out to lunch and I asked to joing them...I'd been stuck in the office for the morning I think (just uploading photos etc.) and was dying to get out. Plus the sun was shining and I figured that these guys would probably take me to some side street spot that only the locals frequented...I was really quite tired of the tourist track. Right on the money, the two guys wove through the winding alleys towards a busy street full of food stalls. To my dismay and much excitement, one of them informed me that they were buying horse meat for lunch. I seriously thought he was joking as I really only figured people ate horse in, like, Mongolia. I expected camel but not something from Aunt Sally's petting zoo.

So here's how it works. You go to a stall, buy your meat, and take it down the street to the stall that provides BBQ services. There you give them your meat and right before you eyes, voila, the ground meat (called kefta) is kneaded into small pieces and sandwiched between these really cool grilling tools (I don't know how to describe them, but want to bring one back!!). Then your meat waits in line to be BBQd and you watch and wait. The smell of BBQ and smoke was just about enough to make me homesick, but with the warm sun beating down on my back, my camera around my neck, good company to laugh with (even if we couldn't speak much, the fact that I was nervous about eating horse was enough to make the three of us joke and laugh) and BBQ Moroccan-style to be had, I couldn't have been happier!!!!! Honestly, the entire experience will remain one of the highlights of these entire four months!!! And the horse...tasted AMAZING!!!!! Similar to beef, and served on a platter, along with dipping sauce and the country's drink of choice next to mint tea...Coca Cola...I was in HEAVEN...just to sink my teeth into hunks of meat, eat w/ my hands, and watch the locals take their lunch break was almost enough to make me faint with joy! And for the three of us to eat it cost about 1.50 Euros....even better!!! Later on that evening I thought about a phrase I've used quite often "So hungry I could eat a horse!" and realised that this could never just be an exaggeration for me anymore!!! The next day we ate the same but back at the office, and it came in the form of sandwiches!!! And today, gulp, was cow feet served w/ chickpeas and sides of kidney beans and fries. Fries and feet--beautiful. Though the taste was ok, the globular chunks of meat staring me in the face was almost enough to make me gag...but I made it!!!! One of the guys my age from the office kept looking at me eat and said that if I could eat it, then he could eat it!!! The other guys ate it on a fairly regular basis so I think they wondered what the fuss was about!!!

On a much more tame note, I indulged in my first Moroccan couscous with beef and veggies last night. The flavour, the textures, the colours, the fact that we just got to dig in with our hands...amazing!!! And I made my first couscous ball!!! It was really tiny but I tried all dinner to get one and i finally did it!!! Basically you scoop the mixture up with your right hand and using your thumb, roll the mix around, kneading it until it becomes a firm ball. Then you flick it into your mouth using your thumb as if you were going to flip a coin. So fun!

And completely aside from the food factor, I got invited to the hospital where one of the women I know was having a baby. Only minutes after the baby girl was born, I was ushered to the little room where the nurse was weighing her, cutting the umbilical cord etc., to take photos!!! Then I photographed the family when they all came together (the father is not allowed in the delivery room, and their other son was with his grandma before). I'd never done that in Canada never mind a foreign country!!! I felt SO privileged!!!

I really do love it here...I feel like my heart is finding a home here, as it usually does as soon as I become attached to the people and the culture. After one week I really don't want to leave but know that in one more week I'll move on and so will they. Sucky!!!

Anyway, I gotta go, but it was really great to finally type on an English keyboard!!!

More reports after the weekend!!! Oh yeah. GO STEELERS!!!

Jaime the Carnivourous

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


the weather here in Rabat has made a turn for the better, providing perfect lighting and warmer weather for photography. everyone that i work with here is amazing and well, young! i prayed that God would send me some friends my age even if they didnt speak english. funny thing, God and that sense of humour of His because while most of my co-workers speak varying degrees of english and french, the one who knows the least amount of french and absolutely no english is the guy that is acting as my guide around the city!!! its quite funny, however i find myself wishing i could have conversation with someone, especially someone who has a western perspective....basically itd be nice to speak some english wth an english speaker!!! but im not complaining....really, im having a wonderful experience so far! and the girls i live with have provided great company!

the other day we were driving to their apartment after work when the car going up the hill ahead of us put his car into reverse. it being rush hour and us having no where to go, we were left with no choice but to let him roll back into us...which he did despite the fact that our driver was blaring her horn! when the driver of the rolling vehicle realised that he couldnt have done much damage at the speed he was going to a car so old, he waved as some kind of compensation and proceeded to pick up his cell phone and take a call. because he wasnt distracted enough!

voyeurism is also something im dealing with here. more often than not i feel like the voyeur with my camera, but here the men are onlookers. i think, however, that they are not used to a woman staring right back at them! after all, im fairly used to staring at people because of my trade! on the other hand, i find myself feeling terrible for looking around at the other women here--as if i am in a sense acting like one of the men. my intent, however, is not to leer, but to smile, make eye contact, let them know that i and my camera are not a threat. its hard though, and i have no photos of women yet, except for those i live/work with. which is fine, but i would also like some insight and connection with some of the more traditional moroccan women. kids here are fun though because they stare w such innocence and curiosty which i understand because its how i find myself looking around. in salé, the city ajoined to rabat, they are so much less used to tourists, so when in the medina, the kids just stare at me wide-eyed and i smile and say `salem`(hello i moroccan arabic).

anyway, there is so uch more to say but i want to check my emails....thanks for the comments, emails, and knowledge that there are some people reading this blog! i actually have no clue who`s all reading it and i havent been able to email the address to a lot of people yet...their addys are in spain....oops. but if you are reading it, maybe drop me a line either on the blog or at my email address, just so i can get a rough idea! your efforts to connect with me so far have meant so much especially so far from home! and your prayers....thank you for them....there are times when i can feel that the prayers of others are all that is keeping my head above water! and i pray for you too, whether you believe in the power of prayer or not!!!

with so much love!