It turns out that Casablanca isn’t actually black and white.

And then we were in Morocco (written 4 weeks late) After a red eye out of JFK, we arrived in Morocco at around 6:00 AM. Waiting at baggage claim for 100 people’s 2 bags that carry 27 months worth of stuff is not all that exciting. Particularly if yours haven’t showed up with the first or second round of luggage. Thankfully only a few individuals suffered lost bags, but I’m sure those few did not feel thankful. We had received advance instruction to prepare a bag for storage during our training period and were glad to drop off what amounted to close to 50 pounds (or well over in some cases) for 3 months storage. We threw our remaining bag under the bus and took a seat with carry-on (or carry-ons, in some cases) resting in laps, between seats, or anywhere else space could be found. Thankfully those seats also included a small breakfast to keep us going for the ride to the hotel. Conversations filled the bus(es) as we pulled out of the airport, but this tapered off quickly as people fell asleep, one by one. Not too long later we arrived at the hotel where peace corps would house us for our first 4 days in the country. We were given an hour and a half before our first meeting. Just enough time for a solid nap. Following lunch, the afternoon was filled with presentations. I’m sure these would’ve been interesting on any other day, but eyelids were heavy and many heads were nodding. Stretch breaks were frequent and necessary. At last coffee time arrived, late in the afternoon, and provided some reprieve. Dinner and a good night’s sleep (some of us may have slept over 12 hours that night) brought day 2. It and the following few days were filled with more presentations and the beginning of our Darija education. Oh, there was also a fine presentation by the medical staff. However, someone among us offered the helpful advice that if one has feces on their pillow, they should remove it and clean the pillow to avoid getting pinkeye. Really. Really? Really! I don’t even remember who made this statement, but I guess I should be nice in this public forum and say something like… may they not get pinkeye. We stayed in the hotel for about 4 days, and on the day before we left, our CBT (community based training) sites were revealed. These are the sites where we would be sent to learn Darija and live with our individual host families for the next ~10 weeks. Everything started to get slightly more real at this point. We packed and the next morning all gathered by the buses to load our luggage and head out. This video is some of what we saw from the bus. Anyone that thought Morocco was all sand has clearly not visited. http://youtu.be/RlDw-KNnJ0w Host families, I hope you’re all ready… Here we come!

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