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A Day in the life of a Peace Corps Morocco agriculture volunteer 
PEACEWORKS - November, 1999

Jennifer Gillett

Ah northern Morocco where all the women wear funny hats, the men are all abnormally happy and all of the children are above average.  I keep house in a little village called Ben Karrich on the road between Tetouan and Chefchaouen.  On a good day I wake up around six and walk to the bottom of my hill (about two K's) At the bottom of the hill I wait between two minutes to two hours for transport to a spot about 25K away. It is here that work begins I stop in at the house of my favorite family and have the usual country breakfast of tea, olives, bread and an egg (or two if the chickens were busy). This egg or two is usually split between seven and five people all of which live in a room that is six meters by 12 meters.

If we were lucky enough to get some rain I hike out to eight sample sites and collect rain water samples with the help of my family's father. I am working on a project that is funded by USAID, this projects goal is to reduce erosion in the watershed between Tetouan and Chaouen. If it is not raining I hike about an hour to the douars on the opposite mountain ridge here I talk with the ladies about goat milk sanitation or the men about improving irrigation and reducing erosion. One of the most enjoyable things for me is to help with production agriculture in my area; to plant, harvest and thresh wheat, to collect and braid onions into long strings for storage and to go with the women when they scavenge for firewood. Spending time with people and seeing how they live their lives and being allowed to live with them has been my most rewarding experience

If the rains did come, I spend some time with the family and then pack out 8 liters of water into the next vehicle going my way. I then take my samples to the CFRD lab near Ben Karrich. I put the samples in the oven to evaporate the water and weigh any samples I may have put in the oven the day before. Once my labwork is done I may cruise over to my CT and tell them I am alive, but I personally avoid the Ct like the plague, lest they try and get me to sit at my desk or get married. From there it is a two K hike up to my house where I knock off the mud from my boots and clean up some before I try and decide which house I should go to for dinner. Stop by the hanoot and get some jelly or fruit for the family that will be feeding me and spend the next couple of hours watching TV, crocheting, and eating before I crawl back to my house so the next day I can do it all again. If you have read this far thanks and please send in your day in the life of story or else you will be stuck hearing more about my life and we all know no one wants that.


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