I think that the homestay is really helping me learn about different aspects of the culture in Morocco in a way that I would never have otherwise in school. For example, this morning we were talking to our host brother Yuseff and his wife Sarah about the traffic regulations here in Morocco. Apparently here they have recently raised the traffic violation fines a lot. When you get pulled over or caught for something a lot of the police take bribes instead of giving the ticket and now the bribes are very high, but the fines are even higher. Also, the cab drivers will take more than three people even though they aren’t supposed to, but the fourth person counts as a totally different cab fare. So, after 8:00 pm the rate increases to something like time and a half, so if you owed 10 dh in the day you would owe 15 dh after 8:00 pm. And if the driver took four, you would owe the 15 dh plus another 15 dh for the extra person, who is like another fare.
We also got to see a smaller medina by our house that is sort of like a farmers market. It is where our host mom buys her fruit and vegetables. Unlike the large medina the food does not have flies all over it and everything smells amazing. However, I am not a fan of seeing my chickens alive before I buy them. We also saw a goat tied up for slaughter later. They just kept feeding him and had him on display in the market center. While I don’t know if I could handle that every time I had to buy meat I do wish that Milwaukee had places like this medina. It was huge and filled with so many different fruits and vegetables that I had never seen before. They also made pastries and different bread and crepes in front of you that we ate that were delicious!
Also, last night we were told by our host brother that he was accepted for a full ride scholarship at a university in Canada, but that he was turned down for his visa by the Canadian government even though he still had a visa in for the US and Japan. He told me that it is very hard for a Moroccan to get a visa in some countries for an extended stay because they are afraid they will never leave.
We were also discussing American history and he knew quite a bit about American history that I did not know, which made me realize that even though my focus is not on American history, but ancient paganism and christianity, that I should learn more about my own country. Then he proceeded to ask what we were taught about Morocco because all the American history was what he learned in primary school and by doing his own research. I tried to think of anything and could not. I had one class that made me know where it was on a map for a quiz, but that was it. And I currently coach a high school cheerleading team and most of them thought it was in Europe and one of them thought I could drive there because it was by Canada…which was even more embarrassing. He said that he was sad by this. It is sad that they learn so much about our home and we don’t learn hardly anything about theirs.
Julia Akerman on The Mother Teresa of Moro… mom on Lunch with felines mom on Hammam a l’ocean mom on Fez! Maternal and Infant… on Observing the Police