I was sitting in my bedroom working at my laptop on the bed, bemoaning the lack of a breakfast table (sigh), and basking in the delicious breeze from the fan, when from outside I heard, in the exact intonations that I use the phrase ubiquitously to the children and tourists in the street, “Come ON people!” as I make shooing motions with my hands. Goose bumps went crawling up my neck (considering the temperature it felt pretty good). I tell you, just when you think no one is listening… you are caught out influencing the youth of a foreign country! One of the little beauties who plays house on our stoop and is always out front with her friends was trying to organize a game (next item) and she was corralling them around with MY phrase – “Come on people!” In ENGLISH. I cannot tell you my chagrin and my feelings of flattery, perhaps misplaced but I tell you all I am smiling still.
The game she was organizing was Ring around the Rosie - in Darjia. I have a photograph for you. It was somewhat surreal, and then the unkind fellow from next door yelled at them and made them all go home! Harrack!
Another great surprise I had today and I’m sorry oh ye of staid personality and reserved emotions but I am so tickled, I smile still (lots of smiling today, which was good after writing that post this morning). I sallied forth to my BlogPower blog roll to read some interesting, fascinating, technically (will someone teach me the secret to making the page go from one side to the other?) savvy, tasty, and other brilliant adjectives, blogs, and lo did I find there my OWN little blog title, sassy and proud to be among such company. I must do my thank you, like a well brought up person, and that is to Sir James (I can’t recall all of the new moniker) of Nourishing Obscurity. Three months ago when I was just an infant blogger he wrote some delicious and kind words about my blog on his site. I was beside myself with glee to even be noticed by someone of his obvious blog-caliber, but to be reviewed and brought to notice was heady indeed. He has since that time not only read my blog but offered comments. He has been a cyber friend of the very best kind. He is generous of spirit and someone to emulate. Thank you james. You are my cyber hero.
After my verbal decanting this morning, Q and I left the house with arms full of dirty laundry in two bags full to find the Press that the girls down the way had told us of. Words on laundry in Morocco: when we were at the Villa in Fez we had a washing machine (sigh). Everyone, really everyone, hangs the laundry out to dry. I suppose in Agdal and Souissi there are a few dryers and in the Presses of course, but the majority of the country hangs to dry, and why oh why would you not? Since moving to the Oudayas it has been a constant struggle to get clean laundry (something I am a real stickler about). We don’t have a washing machine and I looked in to buying one of those toy ones – you know the baby machines, but there is no hook-up for it in the house at all unless I put it in the shower… all right I DID think about it, but only for a minute. For a few months the housekeeper was washing the clothing by hand and taking the linens to be machine-washed. I was not happy with this arrangement for a couple of reasons – she was overcharging us (by quite a bit) and she put everything in the same load or basin. Once I told her (idiot me thinking she would know to separate) I wanted the linens Clorox-ed, she dumped it on everything. Q has some lovely tie-dye shirts now.
The odd part is Presses are thick on the ground in Fez. I mean really they are everywhere; you stumble over one going to the cookie cafes, but here – thin on the ground. I have looked and looked. I did find a Cleaners nearby, but … hmmm a bit dodgy I think. I ‘m still looking. We have been washing our lingerie, and I my gym clothes by hand, easy enough in the summer. We have lines for hanging the wet clothes on the roof and truth be told I find that a hoot. Finally today we found the Press, she took the two bags of linens, and the first question was, “Can everything go in together?” Hey, at least she ASKED. I pick them up tomorrow, and we shall see, the price is very reasonable, around 120 dirhams I think. In Fez at my favorite Press where I had them clean my djellabas they were wonderful, EVERYTHING was 30 dirhams. Bring in two sweaters, 30 dirhams. Bring in one djellaba, 30 dirhams. Bring in two djellabas, 30 dirhams. I was very tempted to bring in the cat.
When we were leaving the Post after Q picked up her package, we passed a shop with pens, pencils etc and a GLOBE in the window. I have not told you the difficulty of obtaining a world map in Morocco. There are “political reasons”. “You know Africa yes, well these countries are always changing their borders who can keep up. Would you like a map of Morocco?” I did find one old world map hidden away at the Villa with the labels in Arabic and the sizes of the countries and continents somewhat distorted.. So when we saw a bright orange (perhaps I should get it to match my new shoes. I could carry it like the new ‘it” accessory? No? eh.) But it was just 1300 hours and the store was closing, so another day will have to do for Arabic globe shopping.
We went ahead to La Comedie, which is a place Q really likes for their deserts. Today we tried lunch and were convinced that this is an excellent place to come for café au lait and dessert.
Another cultural oddity (to us) is the eating of pastries with fresh squeezed orange juice. It makes my blood sugar rise just to watch it. I went to the loo after eating and I felt like I had entered downtown Delhi. The bathroom was so thick with smoke I could barely make out the faces out EVERY SINGLE waitress! After I left I felt in need of an x-ray, but I had chocolate instead.
Q and her professor had a discussion about arranged marriage and forced marriage – the differences thereto. One where the parents are indeed looking for your best interest, and the second more their own interest. The professor’s point was that the divorce rate is comparable in both so it can’t be so bad. Q pointed out that only in the past few years have the women been able to get a divorce and they may well have slanted the statistics a bit.
That’s over a thousand words friends and you have things to do. Tomorrow: Q and Katie’s Excellent Adventure in Tangiers, women in positions of power, the patriarchal bent of history, a inadvertent purchase, all right four purchases at the jewelry store, the state of politics in Morocco, and the Moroccan’s love for the melodramatic when it comes to love. “Don’t you find that romantic (sigh) that he was willing to cut his wrist for his love!” said the Arabic tutor
My pragmatic child said, “No not really.”
“But it is so, so romantic!” We are constantly beset with the love of the Egyptian soap operas in every hannut and shop, and Othello is bigger than Elvis.
What is this? “Concern grows in Britain over female genital mutilation”
All right we may not be able to change this practice in Africa but we can bloody well keep it from happening in Britain. I say write some letters, give the MPs something to read. Email to anyone who has an address and especially the media. I am sending off a little note to CNN and the London Times stating that this subject should remain a news item! This is not just Muslims, it is also Christians; the practitioners are mainly from the Nile Valley region and parts of sub-Saharan African, Yemen, and Oman. Britain is our country, a country in which women have rights, and control over their bodies. A country where we protect our children. This is unspeakable. Tell everyone you know about this article, e-mail it around; get people talking about it. When this sort of thing is dragged out into the light of reason, it cannot continue. “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men/women do nothing.”
# Story Highlights
# Female genital mutilation is becoming a growing problem in Britain
# Police campaign beginning Wednesday will highlight that practice is a crime
# 20,000-pound reward offered for information leading to UK's first prosecution
# Problem mostly involves first-generation immigrants from Africa, Middle East
-400-500 victims every year.
Police estimate up to 66,000 girls in Britain face the risk of genital mutilation.
I have to begin to post BEFORE I read the papers… To bring things back up to a cheery note. Look right to see some of the cats of Rabat. I told you they are everywhere, and generally well cared for as far as feeding. You can see someone had just left them lunch. If you look carefully you will see the kittens all about hidden in the grass. I tried to get some photographs for you but I kept shaking the camera as I was so busy going, “Awww.” This is a small meditation park in the Medina.