Yesterday most of us new PCVs (Peace Corps Volunteers) went to the nearest town to buy some supplies.
I bought soap. All by my lonesome. Speaking only broken Arabic.
I also bought some candies for my host family (I meet them tomorrow), a towel, and some shampoo. I bought each item in a different store. The storefronts all had different things for sale, and apparently the soap guy didn’t have much soap in stock. After selling some to another PCV, he literally left his store (there was another guy working there, too) and walked me around all the other storefronts, trying to find me someone who sells soap. We eventually found some, and I bought it. I found the Shampoo guy myself. When I went to buy it, he asked me “Inta Muslami?” (are you Muslim?). I told him “La” (no), but it was weird being asked, and being asked if I’m Muslim as opposed to Christian or something (do I look Middle Eastern/Muslim?). I thought he gave me the wrong change after I told him I’m not, but another PCV explained that they make 10 Dirham coins (not bills), and that I definitely had it. When I bought a towel, I tried to do it in Darija (Moroccan Arabic), but the merchant switched to FusHa (standard Arabic), and then to English (didn’t know he spoke that). We had a good laugh about what actual language we were speaking.
We got back to our hotel, and I played the Moroccan version of Rummy with some Moroccan staff and some PCVs. You ever talk while playing a card game…but with some people doing it in FusHa, some in Darija, some in French, and some in English? It was a good time (and I won, which may have helped). After dinner, I hung out with some more PCVs `til the early morn.
Today we learned about transportation safety, some survival Arabic, which of us are going to what town for our host family (there are four other PCVs in my town, each of us has a different host family), and the names/members of our host family. My family consists of a widow and her five sons. I get my own room, electricity, running water, and there’s a bathroom (that bathroom part’s important). Not sure if I’ll have internet there, but I’m ready to go.