Seeing the King
The streets of Khenifra
Festive chics at the souq
The carpet souq
Last week, we got to take a break from our training in Azrou and go on field trips. The purpose of the field trips was to see the everyday life of a current volunteer. More or less, it was to give us a glimpse of what our lives are going to be like for the next two years. Deandra, a fellow trainee, and I went to Khenifra, a city of 100,000 people about an hour south of Azrou. We stayed with Nichole, a volunteer that has been in Morocco for two years. Nichole was awesome. She showed us around the town and introduced us to some great people. She took us to the carpet souq and the regular souq. Because this was the first time we got to “live on our own”, we were responsible for buying and making our own food. The first day we were there, we went to the market and bought some eggs, bread, and pasta and picked out our chicken. That’s right! I said picked out a chicken. Things are a little different here in Morocco. When our cravings in the States call for poultry, we either drive to the nearest Chica-fil-let and order a #1 with extra mustard or go to the nearest Winn Dixie and pick up a boneless, skinless chicken breast. Not here, my friends. Here in Morocco, you stroll by your local chicken shack, point at which chicken you want and wait for the person to kill it, feather it and put it in a bag for you to take home and eat it. There’s just something about cooking a chicken when its blood is still warm. Well, that didn’t stop the three of us. We had some killer fried chicken that night (no pun intended).
Fresh chicken wasn’t the most exciting thing that happened while we were in Khenifra. The King of Morocco made an appearance while we were there. First we heard he was coming on Saturday, then Sunday and then Monday. Finally, I think he arrived on either Tuesday or Wednesday. This was a very exciting event for the people of Khenifra. The city bused people in from surrounding areas and had everyone stand behind railings by the street. We were really lucky. The King was literally in Nichole’s backyard. Even so, we did have to wait on the street for 5 hours in the drizzling rain. That, I tolerated. What I could not tolerate and what almost drove me insane were the little kids that surrounded us. The streets were filled with kids because they got to get out of school early to see the King. Where their mothers were, I had no idea. They were all cute and innocent at first and then it was pushing, shoving and yelling. The little girls started playing with my hair and touching my face. Then, to make matters even worse, there was this creepy security officer that kept walking past us and saying my name like he was Hannibal Lechter or something … “heelllloo Saaarrraaa.” Really creepy! He asked me if I was married and if I wanted to come have Lfdur (the breaking of the fast during Ramadan) at his house. Then he said something that I didn’t understand so I repeated it to myself to see if I could recognize it. Half way through I realized he was trying to convert me to Islam. That was the last I spoke to Red Dragon.
Regardless of all that, we finally did get to see the King. It was really exciting. We all felt like 12-year-old girls waiting outside of an NSync concert. It was all we did that day. Waiting 5 hours to see the King for 20 seconds is a lot of work.