I asked for more work, and I most certainly got it. After a couple meetings last week and a meeting this afternoon, my schedule at the Azrou Center for Community Development, which is a part of the world-famous Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco, was settled with my supervisor and co-workers.
- Tuesdays– 4 Classes: English for Employees, Level 1 University Student English, One-on-one English with my supervisor, and Women’s Fitness.
- Wednesdays– 2 Classes: One-on-one English with my supervisor, and Childrens Educational Activities (for about 30 children who do not attend school.)
- Thursdays–3 Classes: English for Employees, Level 2 University Student English, and Womens Fitness
- Fridays–4 Classes: Level 1 University Student English Level 2 University Student English, English for Employees, and Childrens Activities.
Last week I gave the University students a language proficiency test to determine if they belong in Level 1 or Level 2 English. All 40 of them tested beginner or intermediate, so I divided them into their respective groups. At the meeting today, the Director (my boss, Malika) and the head of the University program all sat down to make my schedule official. So, as of tomorrow at noon, I am a University Level English teacher working under one of the most prestigious universities in Morocco. Of course I am just a volunteer… but still, it has a nice ring to it. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t freakin’ nervous as all heck, but hopefully I can pull myself together and help these students learn some English to help them with employability (and maybe make some friends?) I am also excited for the other activities; Ladies only fitness will be fun, games/art/discussions with the non-school going children should be fun, as well as spending extra time with staff practicing their English, eating, and having some cross-cultural exchanges. I was also asked to coordinate some large scale events in Azrou and surrounding villages. My first one is for International Womens Day on March 8th. My supervisor and I decided to have a “Leadership Training Day” involving a showing of a Moroccan-made film titled “You Can Dream,” which focuses on successful women throughout Morocco following their passions. Discussion questions as well as speeches from successful women in our own community will follow the film. After a break for lunch, the event will continue with a “Proud to be a Woman” activity. Still working out the details on all of this… and writing my grant application tomorrow. Inch’Allah it will all come together in less than a month!
I still need to go up to the other Dar Chebab (youth house) to see if they want me to have classes/groups/programs with them. I would be very happy just working at the Azrou Center for Community Development, but Peace Corps (here at the invitation of the Ministry of Youth and Sports) should also have all their volunteers in youth houses as well. We’ll see. My experiences with the other Dar Chebab were less than ideal. Although I enjoyed working with my high school kids, I did not enjoy classes being cancelled at the drop of a hat, a non consistant schedule, and just constant chaos and confusion. My new “job” requires more professionalism from me (kinda scary) and will be very consistant. Hooray!
Finally, the Region 1 (the Fez/Azrou region of Morocco) female volunteers are planning a GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) camp for the end of summer. The goal of the camp is to empower young women to take control of their lives through education, healthy lifestyles, leadership skills, and fun activities. Each one of us volunteers (I think there are 10 of us?) will each bring about 5 girls from our towns to a central location for a week long camp. Should be great!
In non-work related news, I have been getting together with other volunteers in my region more often, which has been great. I was hibernating for awhile there, but it feels good to finally feel like an active participant in life again. A bunch of us got together for a Super Bowl Party the other week and had a great time. If we get more snow anytime soon, my housemate and I will be hosting a get together for all of us to go skiing/snowboarding in the town next door. I’m sure other get togethers will pop up soon since it is almost our 1 YEAR in country anniversary. Where has the year gone?
I’ve been a little homesick lately, so this major pick up in work couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m thankful for work. After 2 weeks of amazing weather, it is back to being cold and rainy. I’m thankful for my wood stove.
Be well my friends. My little pup is feeling much better, Hamdulilah.