So.. I was back in site for a week maybe a week and a half before I had to travel out of site again to Medhiya, Morocco from Feb 5th – 11th for IST – In Service Training / what ever PPST stands for – Peace Corps has so many acronyms – they need to issue a dictionary to each new volunteer – or at least a freakin cheat sheet.
My stajj doesn’t get an individual IST and PPST – because the budget is tight – so to save money – it all got smashed together into one week. Some stuff it would have been better suited to PST – Pre Service Training and other stuff – could have just been an email and other stuff was worth sitting in session after session – when we could have been eating hot freshly fried donuts dripping honey and sugar on the beach.
Which is what I did every time there was enough time to escape to the Donut Hanut on break – I think our stajj paid for that mul hanuts Hajj or at least Umrah with the amount of donuts we bought at 3DH a piece.
I returned to site only to remember – hey I have a birthday on March 1st – and things were going swell – I baked a massive chocolate chip cookie and ate Moroccan food with my site mates host family.
Then the swell dipped and my toliet got clogged and wouldn’t fix itself. So I ended up having to call the water company fix it folks – they tried to fix it to no avail – they even had me call out the muldar’s son – who was like – this isn’t my problem – especially once the water guys were like – this will take 400 DH to fix potentially.
I was at the end of my rope having dealt with – unpaid electrical bills, the water being turned off because the land lord didn’t pay the water for the month of January.. which had me going between Taza Lower and Upper trying to figure out how to solve the problem until the secretary of the water company took pity on the poor American single woman – and fixed the problem – did I mention the pipe the landlord’s son broke and then never fixed? Yeah I had to get it fixed other wise I would continue to have a water fall running down the wall of my toiliet.
-My water fall –
– The piece of pipe that had to be sawed out to fix the leak-
So I moved right before my birthday into a better apartment – that has an awesome landlord – the same one as my site mate – and I no longer live in the Dar d Muskils – the house of problems.
Yet.. that doesn’t end my problems – no no.. that would be to easy. Now the old land lord wants me to pay rent for the month of March – at a 1000 DH even though I moved out BEFORE March 1st and attempted to give his son the keys before March 1st – which he rejected – not once but multiple times.
Sigh.. As a Muslim dealing with a Muslim who just went on Hajj – you would think perhaps it would make him have more compassion – but NO.. not happening.
Ya Allah – Morocco is becoming a serious Jihad. I have never seen such a lack of organization and resources that make sense – I have a 50+ page policy and procedure manual but no where does it discuss Moroccan rental law – Readers – do you think a 20 minute presentation covers it when your at the disadvantage from the get go – when it comes to language – understanding customs and laws – knowing your rights in relation to renting a home in Morocco.
I personally don’t think so and I know a better resource exists – why not issue Culture Shock Morocco – to every volunteer since its far more comprehensive a text than the PC Morocco handbook when it comes actually living in a country that in so many ways is so foreign to our home?
I think what makes this suck is in my site housing is very expensive – I was lucky to find something for a 1000 DH when my site mate is paying 1400DH and our living allowance is 2600 – you do the math as housing, food, utilities all come out of that amount.
I pounded the pavement, asked at Cafe’s, hired a Simsar, asked friends – and still ended up with a problem house and owner – after seeing homes for 1500, 2500 and more.
It was only after being in Taza for 4 almost 5 months that I had enough connections to get a new and better house with a reasonable and nice landlord at a 1000DH. I will be completely honest – no PCV wants to stay with their host family if they have the option to find their own house along with the companying privacy and quiet.
I know I was tired of never having alone time because I shared my bedroom with one of the sisters of the family, getting walked in on when I was bucket bathing by the children, being sick because the house had mold that I was allergic too and my allergy meds could only do so much to fight. Don’t get me wrong the family is really nice but – I needed to get some space or I was going to go crazy!
I just want something to not always be a struggle here in Morocco – every day I wake up knowing I am going to have to fight to understand people in a new language, struggle to convert riyals to dirhams, struggle against harassment, struggle to get things done that are so basic in America – its mind boggling how difficult it can be here in Morocco.
I can’t be faulted for wanting a respite from the constant up hill battle.
So make dua for me – because I need it and so does my old landlord – May Allah make his heart soft and open his eyes to his hardness. Ameen