Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Couscous - Traditional Moroccan Cuisine

The first week here during orientation the director had us all over for a traditional couscous dinner. In Morocco couscous is traditionally served every Friday and during special occasions. It takes about three hours to make, and it is made in a special couscous pot. I also found out that when a Moroccan says couscous they are talking about a whole meal, not just the couscous portion. You will see from the picture below that it contains vegetables and meat. We also learned that the traditional way to eat couscous is with your hands. However, many families generally eat couscous with a spoon now. When couscous is served or when any dish is served it is served on a large communal platter and placed the middle of the table for all to eat out of. 
During dinner we were given a lesson on how to properly eat couscous with our hands.  We learned that you roll the couscous up into a ball and try to quickly get the couscous into our mouths without having too much fall onto the table. This was easier said than done. By the end of dinner there was couscous all over the table, down the front of us and all over our faces. The couscous was delicious and it was nothing like the instant Trader Joes stuff I bought back home.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

My New Home

It has been three full weeks since I have landed here, and I have now started to settle in. I am still trying to get my apartment to be more of a home, as you will see in pictures below there is not much to it.

 My street
Mustapha Menfelouti

The Entrance to my apartment building

Entrance to my apartment

My dining area

Living room
Notice the bare light bulb sticking out of the wall. Apparently they don't cover light bulbs here, they leave it for the tenant to choose their covering and cover the light bulbs themselves. They hang from the ceiling uncovered as well.

 Front balcony

And then my view 


1st Bathroom

2nd Bathroom (it is called a squat pot)

 My bedroom 

 Guest bedroom

Back balcony where the laundry dries 

View from the back balcony

First Week of School

Wow! The days have been going by so fast. I can’t believe that I have been here for three weeks now; it seems so much longer than that.  I have been busy getting situated as the new Special Education teacher, as well as redefining the department and developing a program for all of the students who are talented and gifted.            
Monday was the first day of school, and the halls were bustling with 555 students in preschool to 12th grade from all nationalities. Walking down the hall I hear accents from North America, Morocco, and parts of Europe and Asia. Going into a classroom I am blown away by the 100% participation that occurs during class discussion, and how every student is excited to learn. It is so different from many classrooms in the States where it is like pulling teeth to get students to participate.
The majority of the students come from very wealthy families, and as mentioned come from all over the world. For instance, one of the high school students happens to be the Prince of Saudi Arabia. He lives here during the school year with the Queen of Saudi, and will one day be the King of his country.
Overall, I am really enjoying my new job.  I could not ask for a better situation right now. The people I work with are amazing and fun to be with. However, even though things are going great, as any new situation there are always setbacks. Such as lack of materials, which makes me have to be really inventive when needing to make sensory objects for some of my students.