In Peace Corps Morocco

Aqua and arobics

I knew that there was a karate studio in my town and for over a month I wanted to check it out. Finally I did. My brother Soufiene took me just to take a look and see which days the women’s classes were held on. The women who runs the joint, whom I had met before, told me that there was a class tonight. She told me I was welcome to come a try it out.

I wasn’t properly dressed and I knew I would have to change so I walked home with Soufiene. I was feeling nervous about going to the class and for most of the walk home I had talked myself into not going back. I was worried that I would look completely stupid not be able to understand anything that was being said.

When I got home I had 10 minutes left. I knew that I should get this first time over with. But most of all I didn’t want to let my fear stop me. I hadn’t yet here in Morocco and there was no reason to start now.

Even though I was almost 10 minutes late I was the first one there. Typical. Slowly women in long jalabas-traditional Moroccan clothing- started showing up. For the first time I was among women who were shedding their jalabas as well as their head scarves I was going to get to see Moroccan women in a way I had never seen them before doing something I didn’t think many people in my town did.

With the sounds of Aqua blaring we began running circles around the small foam padded room. These women weren’t messing around. My confidence wore as some of them blew past me on the inside. The class quickly turned into a 90s style aerobics class which wasn’t what I expected but was great nonetheless.

The language barrier wasn’t a problem at all. All I needed was eyes and ears. I mimicked everything the other women were doing and quickly learned to count to 10 in French as the women running the class yelled the numbers out constantly.

Almost nothing turns out the way you expect here in Morocco and at this point I’ve stopped fighting it. I didn’t learn any karate but I did get whipped into shape like I needed to be. I was reminded of my days at the Y in workout classes and I loved being in a place where exercise was valued.

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