The Islamic New Year starts on the first day of Muharram, the first month in the Islamic calendar. The Islamic calendar started with the year in which Mohammed took flight, in a journey known as the Hijra. In that first year in the Islamic calendar, when he learned that someone was planning to assassinate him, Mohammed fled from the city of Mecca to what is now known as the city of Medina. Moroccans celebrate the first day of the Islamic New Year as a holiday, such that some businesses are closed, as I experienced here in town.
And, Christmas was this month. PCVs are not allowed to take vacation during the first three months of their service. My service as a PCV started when I swore in as a PCV in late November. So, I was not able to go home for Christmas. But through the postal mail, I have been showered with various and great gifts, largely varied desserts, as people who know me know that I have a sweet tooth! Partly due to receiving care packages at Christmastime, I feel really encouraged by folks back home. But throughout all of my time thus far in Morocco, I have also felt really supported, partly and importantly by being in regular communication with people I know back in the USA, largely by e-mail, and also through communications in the postal mail.
In terms of work, I have been tutoring kids in English at the Dar Chebab more and more. While it started as a small affair, with just a couple of kids at a time, it has quickly grown to be a large group of students I've been tutoring. I've been enjoying helping them. I tutor them in the early evenings on most of the days when the Dar Chebab is open, which are Tuesdays through Saturdays.
Next month, I'll start actually teaching English at the Dar Chebab. Given how much I've been enjoying tutoring kids in English, I'm looking forward to teaching kids in English. Since I've started tutoring kids in English, I've felt more grounded and invested and involved in the community. I also feel fulfilled by the work that I'm doing now. And, while I have had more rough patches, they have become less trying and difficult than the first one I had in the first few days after arriving down here at my final site. So, things are starting to take off, for which I am glad!