As I mentioned in my last post, our replacement, Kathy, came for her site visit this week. It was also our last full week of being Peace Corps volunteers in our site. And so, it was a busy week of introductions and saying goodbye.
On Tuesday, Hefida, the President of the cooperative, invited me to her home in the nearby bled (country) town for dinner and to spend the night. It was wonderful to finally meet her family and see where she lives.
Hefida has nine siblings. All are grown and most have moved to other areas of Morocco and even France, so now it's just her, one of her brothers, and her parents living at home. But with plenty of aunts, uncles and cousins as neighbors, they still have plenty of family nearby.
Below is Hefida holding her two-year-old cousin Marwa. As you can see, she's super cute. Just think, she was just born when we got here!
The weather has been beautiful all week (a big difference from when we had our site visit two years ago), so on Wednesday morning Hefida took me on a short walk trough the fields that surround her home. We saw sheep, turkeys, and plenty of olive trees.
We were supposed to return to town after breakfast, so of course I ended up staying for lunch (cous cous, even though it was Wednesday), and in the afternoon the ladies showed Kathy how they make paper.
Yesterday morning I was pleasantly surprised to find them already working on their next batch of handmade paper when I came in. I brought two old bed sheets and one of our gray blankets to be cut down so that they could make more paper at a time. Hafida helped me with cutting down the sheets while Fatima and Achora worked on forming the paper. By the end of the morning they had made 32 more sheets of paper!
Then in the afternoon the girls threw a goodbye party for me. At first, there was some concern over the fact that no one brought a CD player, but that was quickly remedied by them singing the songs themselves. They were songs that I recognized from my time here but still didn't know the meanings of so a couple of times I asked. One song was about an Arab man wanting to marry a Berber woman, but not understanding the customs of his in-laws.
And of course there was plenty of tea, sweets, coffee, and dancing.
Here's a picture of all of us on the steps of the Artisana taken yesterday after the party. I'm really going to miss this group!