Yesterday, we departed our hotel in Rabat and took a 3 hour bus trip to a town in the Middle Atlas mountains of Morocco. We travelled through a lot of rugged, winding territory and saw a lot of farmland, farmhouses, mountains, and valleys. We took a few pictures from the bus, but they don't translate very well.
So far at our Seminar Site, we've been eating some AMAZING meals. Moroccan food is very tasty, nutritious, and simple! Some of the main types of food include Tagines (pronounced Tah-zheens), which are stews with cucumbers, potatoes, turnips, carrots and/or different types of meat (beef, chicken, etc.), couscous, flatbreads, pastries, lots of tea and water, sugar dates, and a powder-like mixture of flour, cinnamon, finely chopped nuts, sesame seeds, and sugar that can be scooped up with flatbreads.
We've also begun to delve into Darija, the main dialect of Morocco (aka Moroccan Arabic). The main difference between English and Darija is......EVERYTHING! Vowels are not used as often as in English, which results in alot of atypical letter combinations. Take, for instance, the Darija word for scissors: "mqs." Another major difference is that Darija uses alot of throat sounds (which sound like you're clearing your throat), and we Americans use mostly the tongue area of the mouth and the lips to make sounds. It's a bit challenging, but we just started today. Our language and culture facilitator is a really good teacher, so we're both REALLY excited to continue our studies!
The geography of this area is absolutely fantastic: completely surrounded by cedar-tree-covered mountains! Our site is also located in the midst of a national park, and many of us have been talking about hitting the trails to check out the awesome views!
We will be really busy for the next week (until Friday), when we will learn of our community based training sites (aka our first homestay family experience). During this week, we will be learning more about Darija, Moroccan culture in general, and our Business Development jobs.
We haven't uploaded any pictures yet, but when we get some, we'll either edit this post or do a new post with pictures.
Just so everyone knows, our wireless internet is not letting us load certain web pages, including Gmail. So, we haven't been able to receive or send any emails from that account. For now, expect to not get emails from us.
Everything is great and everyone is very warm, generous, and friendly. I'm sure it'll get more difficult, but Emily and I will ride this wave for as long as we can!