Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independence Day!

Today, the 4th of July, Independence Day, isn't my last day at the job which I'm about to leave, or my first day of not working there, or my first day driving east from the San Francisco Bay Area. Nevertheless, I feel that it's rather appropriate that Independence Day falls so near to each of those events. I'm not completely fond of my current job, which I'm leaving to enter the Peace Corps, which I strongly suspect I will thoroughly enjoy. Moving on from something I've been longing to leave behind, and moving on to something I've been longing to do, I feel is akin to declaring my independence.

In addition to acknowledging such ironic punctuation, I'm also writing this post to provide a little more information about my assignment. So, I've accepted an invitation to serve as a Youth Developer in Morocco. That's the official job title.

In mid-September, there will be a one-day or two-day staging, or orientation, for all of the new Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) heading to Morocco this fall. We, the PCVs heading to Morocco, haven't yet found out where the staging will be held. It looks like the last staging for Morocco was held in Philadelphia, so perhaps the staging this September will be held in Philadelphia.

Right after the staging, there will be between two to three months of training in Morocco. We'll be trained in language skills, cross-cultural knowledge, safety and security, and technical skills. At some point during the training, we'll get assigned to our specific sites in Morocco; right now none of us know where in Morocco any of us will be specifically assigned.

As far as the job goes, Youth Developers in Morocco start out teaching English at Dar Chebab, which are Youth Centers. PCVs integrate into their community by teaching English classes at the Youth Centers. Later, PCVs can branch out and potentially start other projects and extracurricular activities to bring different members of the community together.

I'm especially excited about several aspects of this assignment in Morocco. One, the King of Morocco has made education a priority in Morocco. In particular, the King has made clear that a particular priority is girls' and women's education and empowerment. The King has also been called the “King of the Poor” by the French and the local press, since he is seeking to raise the quality of life in rural locations, and is wanting to reduce poverty. For these reasons, I am especially excited about moving to Morocco, and living, working, and teaching there. I'm excited to see what will unfold during my time there!