Its been just about one week since I jumped in the car from New York to Phili with 2 suitcases and 1 backpack, to join 112 other Peace Corps volunteers on a flight to Morocco. The past weekend was filled with lots of hugs, cards (most of which I brought so shoutout to ya all) and apple pie. Now I’m sitting in a suburb of Rabat. For those of you who don’t know the Peace Corps is a U.S. volunteer program founded by JFK in 1961 serving in approximately 65 countries all around the world. This is my job description for the next 27 months, pretty nice right?
“To promote world peace and friendship through a Peace Corps, which shall make available to interested countries and areas men and women of the U.S. qualified for service abroad and willing to serve, under conditions of hardship if necessary, to help the peoples of such countries and areas in meeting their needs for trained manpower.” (Peace Corps Act)
I will be serving in Morocco as a Youth Development Volunteer. This means being assigned to/living within a local community and working in a dar chebab (youth center), nedi neswi (women’s center) and/or engaging youth in other ways to promote leadership and expressed needs of the Moroccan people. For now, my focus is to learn the local language, Darija, which is the Moroccan dialect of Arabic. We are staying in a rather posh area of Rabat for the next few days finishing up Peace Corps-led training on safety and security, health, and language, ranging from sessions on Moroccan government administrations to diarrhea + food/h20 treatment (yay for reality). On Thursday we then head off to our CBT sites (community-based training) sites outside of Meknes, which is when we move in with our host families for the duration of training. I will be in the same community with around 5-6 volunteers and 1 LCF (Language & Cultural Facilitator) so most of our training will be completed together, and then all 113 of us reunite in Rabat for swearing-in as official Peace Corps volunteers at the end of November.
tips from current volunteers to us, PCT (Peace Corps Trainees)
A group of us PCTs in Rabat with LCF Abderrahim from Agadir
As for now, I’ve been meeting amazing people who I vibe with so well. It’s nice to not have to justify why you’re joining the Peace Corps or why you’re leaving your life in the States for 2 whole years, because these are the people that get it. We’re all here for some reason or unrestrained passion we have and together, have more enthusiasm for a job we’re not even sure how to do. These people are the ones who are going to get me through the tough days, along with of course the peanut butter and Annie’s mac and cheese I stuffed in my already overweight bag. I know there are days ahead of not knowing a single word my host family is going to say to me, no shower or wifi, or trying to understand the rather conservative gender roles that come with living in a Muslim country, but for now it’s one day at a time. We have a beautiful beach 5 minutes away where we watch a killer sunset every night, a shower that drips cold water, lots and lots of couscous, and a group of PCTs who are ready to make moves.