Thursday, January 7, 2010

It is actually cold in Morocco-who would have thought that

I would have liked to think being raised in Michigan I had developed a very thick skin when it comes to cold. We Michiganians tend to find it perfectly acceptable to shed the winter coat the moment the temperature hits 40 degrees. In my particular region of Morocco, which is near the coast, the weather, I have been told, never becomes too harsh. The weather stays somewhat mild and does not hit extremes as in other parts of the country. I will probably never see snow in my town, but I have been enduring large amounts of rain. Right now I am in what I guess you could call a winter season. However, the temperature, again I have been told, will not drop below 40 degrees. So being from Michigan I have the mindset that I have endured much worse, and survived. I am some kind of soldier of the cold, I’d like to think. But us in Michigan, and mostly all other Americans, for that matter have one luxury that Moroccans are not familiar with. And that is central heating. Yes heating is expensive, but American’s find it to be a necessary investment. An investment in comfort. But here in Moroccan homes there is no such thing as central heating, nor home insulation. Right now my home is a cool 58 degrees. I am forced to dress like a child who is going out and play in the snow. My typical ensemble consists of first -underpants. I have a wonderful pair I got here in Morocco, which are handmade by local women. They are knitted very tightly, basically a sweater for your legs. Next I wear one pair of thin socks under them, and one pair of wool socks over them. Then I usually wear 2 long sleeve t-shirts with a sweatshirt or my fleece jacket over the shirts. Moroccans tend to get a lot of clothing custom made and I joined them by having my very own fleece robe made. When I am at home I wrap the warm, blanket like, robe over me and it helps a lot. Lastly, sometimes I even go as far as wearing my winter hat and putting the hood of my sweatshirt over top of it. I even have broken out my thick fleece gloves on occasion. Most of the time I want to be deep under my blankets in my bed. Drinking hot tea is always very soothing. Once in a while I can even see my breath! I’m sure things could be much worse. I know that there are places colder than, what I have to endure. This is just one of the many challenges I must face as a Peace Corps volunteer. I know one day I will look back, and laugh.