*This post has an NC-17 – Rating and discusses taboo topics*
I have now been in Morocco for nine months and I will probably be here a year and three months before I travel back to America and see my family and friends again.
Its crazy to think I have been living here for nine months. So much has happened in such a short while- a fellow PCV got engaged and married within that time and she is a part of the group I arrived with. I am happy to say she is blissfully happy and looking forward to a long and wonderful marriage inshaAllah.
Other PCV’s have been in relationships only for them to not last the distance and more are finding comfort where they can when they can. I think perhaps this is something very important that Peace Corps doesn’t discuss in depth – the lack of physical contact you will miss especially in this country where physical contact between sexes is limited to perhaps a handshake in public.
I miss being able to simply hug a male friend or hold his hand – in a completely non sexual way. In my region – which is the smallest region and the most northern of regions – it is dominated by men because the harassment is and can be so extreme for female PCV’s.
Even simply having a male PCV come in for souq day and spend the night at my house in my salon is a Hshuma – a shame and “tarnishes” my female honor in the community. Did I mention? – I MUST be sleeping with him.. or the whole dang group that spends the night. Obviously because I am an American girl.. although – a Muslim. (insert eye roll here)
Its very frustrating for me. It makes me miss the neighbor’s that you could live across from for 20 years in America and never once talk to! Where is the privacy? Sheesh at this rate I would take apathy over nosy gossipy neighbors here in Morocco.
So I know if its hard for me it must be hard for the male PCV’s because casual touching is so taboo. Even simply holding hands for an extended period of time is taboo unless that man and woman are engaged, married or related in some manner.
This is why I think Peace Corps Medical should recommend that PCV’s assigned to such countries should really pack what ever item they need to maintain their sexual and physical well being.
In this case – my stajj and many PCV’s in Morocco agree – pack a vibrator, dirty videos, erotica – what ever its gonna take to get you through 24 months of just you and quite possibly your hand.
Only 10% of PCV’s make it through service without engaging in sex with another individual. You do the math.
I also thought it was interesting that Peace Corps also accepts HIV and AIDS positive individuals – which is wonderful for equality. However – its the individuals right to reveal their status means that – the PCV pool of potential sexual partners isn’t completely risk free.
HCN (Host Country Nationals) aren’t safe either given how much trouble it is to get an HIV/AIDS test and how much of a taboo it is to discuss in mixed company.
So my personal recommendation – is join Peace Corps as a married couple. This way you have a built in support system and sexual partner all in one.
I just had to get this out there since this issue isn’t discussed until after you get shipped out and are in country- and then as a PCV you don’t stop talking about it and diarrhea – so fair warning to all those potential PCV’s – pack what is going to keep you happy sexually and safe.