so i have arrived at my final site. i have no clue what the actual name of it is because according to my paperwork it should be Ejjouwamaa but it is apparently known as Hakkama to the locals and when I actually found a little something about it on google, they say the name is Jouamaa…so who really knows? here are a few highlights of the town as I’ve observed in the past 4 days:
- it should have a population of 7,153 people but i swear i see the same 5-10 walking around everytime i’m out
- i look out and see 4 houses within walking distance of my host family’s house…and that’s it.
- the “town center” consists of the hospital/clinic, the gendarme (police station of sorts also acts as a gov’t. building. it houses the mayor too), the dar chebab (literally translated as “house of youth” my place of work), a primary school/high school, a college, the souk (market), two hanoots (the equivalent to 7eleven in the US), and the “post office”, there are a couple of other buildings that just stay close all the time. i have no idea what they’re there for…all of this in one block.
- the “post man” doubles as a mul hanoot (vendor for small corner store). i keep putting quotes around “post office” and “post man” because i don’t really think it counts. his hanoot is bigger than the post office! also, he’s never at the post office, he gives out mail from behind the counter in his hanoot.– i gotta figure out my mail sitch asap. maybe i’ll get a PO Box in Tangier. we’ll see
- the people are nice…the ones i see anyway. i don’t know where they are! there’s probably a maximum of 30 walking around town at any given time…where are the rest of 7,123 people???
anyway, obviously i have a lot of observing and introductions to do. my plan is, at least for the next month or so, to just walk around town, let my presence be known, remember to look legit at all times (people are skeptical…i guess i look too hip and too asian or something. it’s hard for them to believe i’m american and that i’m doing this for free and somehow they can’t wrap their heads around the idea of me living alone. if i hear “miskeena” (poor thing) one more time i’m going to pull all my hair out and walk away), visit the dar chebab on the daily, befriend the one English-speaking person in town (although technically she is not from town, she lives 30 km away) and make her my counterpart, find a tutor for Darija, do a little nesting in my new apartment (inshallah that i get it and that i get it asap), and just spend some time getting myself together…just need to rejuvenate and regroup.
so that’s that…my town itself isn’t the most exciting place in the world however, i’m only 20 mins from Tangier, which is only an hour ferry ride from spain. my weekend options are endless and honestly, it’s kinda nice living in a place where it’s peaceful and tranquil. you fall asleep and wake up to the sounds of nature…sure we have a confused rooster that cockadoodledoos at midnight instead of in the morning but so what? he’s weird and so am i.
now i leave you with a few pics of my town: