So let me tell you about my Saturday...
The principal from the local elementary school invited me to an end of the school year party in a small village in the hills near where I live. Cool.
I got up Saturday morning, got myself ready, and headed out the door at around 8:45 to meet the principal at the school. We, along with a group of five other men, left in a grand taxi for the school in a town about three kilometers away to pick up sound equipment for the party. They loaded the car up and we headed out into the hills where we spent about 30 minutes on a dirt road before reaching our destination.
All the town's children were there and a group of 10 camp-counselor-type people were there from Inezgane (a bigger city near Agadir, about 2 hours away) to keep the kids entertained. They played big group games, the most notable of which involved a whistle. They chose a few kids to be taken aside while the rest of us were let in on the secret that a whistle would be hanging out of the back of Mostafa's pants from the elastic band. The kids who were taken aside were brought back one by one and charged with the task of determining who had the whistle. So it essentially looked like this: Mostafa wandered around the seated crowd with a kid by his side. When he stopped, someone would reach up and blow the whistle. Mere inches from his butt.
Later in the day, after lunch, we gathered in a room to watch a movie. Ratatouille. I love that movie. Only this version had been translated into Tashelheet by what must be some very patient people in Inezgane. The title was Agherda n Bariz. Literally, "Mouse of Paris". The characters had names like Lahcen and Zaina. I don't think I can define what I felt while watching it. Maybe it both amused and bemused.
Following the movie, we began another. Tashelheet films are quite popular here. I, for the most part, don't understand them (both language and subject matter) and therefore only watch them if they're on while I'm visiting someone's house. I'm not familiar with the stars of the Tashelheet silver screen, so imagine my surprise while watching the film on Saturday that the man who caught my attention by entering the room through the noisy door and interrupted the film was the very same man whose image was being projected on the wall. Didn't catch his name. Nor did I get an autograph. But I did listen to his very compelling argument for being a good student. No, I don't want to spend my life doing nothing but sitting on the sidewalk. Stay in school, kids. I do realize that this was actually probably a very exciting event for the kids. I do hope that his words held some weight with them.
What followed was a big treat. A clown in ski bibs. He danced with a cane. Some of his moves resembled mine. It was disconcerting. Change of clothes. Rapper. Change of Clothes. Charlie Chaplin-esque. Change of clothes. An Indian guy singing... something. I spent this period texting a play by play to my friend Maggie.
There was an awards ceremony for the kids afterwards. They called each kid up and a distinguished guest was called upon to present each award. I was sitting with the kids and not really paying attention when I heard, in Tashelheet, the words for "American," "health education," and "she knows Tashelheet". I looked up, noticed a teacher motioning to me, and realized they were calling me up to present the award. Looking back, I probably acted too much like the award was going to me. Could've waved a little less.
To wrap up the evening, some of the younger (middle school aged) counselors from Inezgane, put on a fairly dramatic production. I can tell you that those kids will probably think twice before sniffing glue, smoking, being homeless, and/or abandoning an infant. I was honestly quite impressed with them for presenting those somewhat racy topics in such a conservative area. They did a good job. It was a little long. But they acted their hearts out. I wondered if they were doing it up a bit because the film star was in the audience. Maybe they've got their careers lined up now.
The crowd dispersed, the men took down the tent, packed it up, we got back on the dirt road, and headed back to the school where we had picked up the sound equipment earlier that day. There was a group of men waiting there and I stood around while they struggled to assemble the tent (for the party I attended the next day) with only the glow from the classrooms in the distance. I felt kind of bad just spectating, but I figured there wasn't much they would let me do anyway.
Another ride in the car. I made it in my door at 11:30pm. 15 hours.
But probably one of the funnier days of my life.