Friday, November 20, 2009

Whatever Works

In Peace Corps you learn a whole new way of problem solving. If your water bottle breaks you don’t go buy a new one, you find a way to fix it. You use everything until it can be used no more. You find a way to rig a handle to open a window if the handle is long gone. You find some way, even through your best charades, to communicate that you want teach kids how to dance. I’ve never been faced with the same problems that I have been faced with here in Morocco. And above all my biggest problem right now is communication. There are so many things that I want to say, so many feelings I want to let out to the people around me but I just cant. Usually I can only work with the very basic emotions and feelings. “I’m happy”, “I’m tired”, “I’m hungry.” But already I have been able to find creative ways to get the solutions that I seek. I just recently had an instance of the most creative communication I’ve ever had. Aziz is a friend of my host brother and after the three of us left the youth center together we stopped in a cyber cafĂ© for a while. Aziz was trying to talk to me with little success. He is very computer and technology savvy so he came up with the idea of going online to Google Translate. He typed message in French and it would slowly transform into English before my eyes. Then I would reverse the translation and type my response in English to be translate into French. I agree, you could call this cheating. But you could also call this genius. I was able to ask questions that I wasn’t able to ask before and actually say things that were on my mind. It was funny because if there was a typo in one of the words the translation would make no sense or turn out to mean something complete different. There were a couple times I had to say “WHAT” out loud to myself. I keep saying communication is bad, and it is, but each day I get little surprises and I understand more and more. Being alone in my site with very, very little English spoken is really what is forcing me to learn Arabic better. I have only been in my site for 1 week and I feel confident in my progress so far. So I know that if I can have some patience with myself and the process I will get better and better with time.