Friday, September 17, 2010

Ups and Downs

Butterfly mosaics with patterns.
I was hopeful today. I really was. I had read psalm 90 first thing this morning, and I had prayed through it. The first couple of art classes went really well. I felt encouraged, and I felt I was hitting my stride. Then came the kindergarten class. There had been mix-ups on times for the two K classes, but I was finally teaching the second class. The kids had settled down well.

Then it was time for me to learn something Moroccan. The two K aides who had come with the students were chatting away happily in Arabic or French in rather loud voices. I couldn't think with them chatting. Wanting to be able to think (novel idea), I asked the aides to please be quiet. I really said it nicely. BIG mistake. They were highly offended. Seems they have been free to chat in other situations, and I was insulting or shaming them.

I soon found out they were not going to take this "shushing" lying down. I asked them kindly to give me the word for "pattern" in French. They said they did not speak French. Other than the fact that you have to speak French in order to be hired as an aide, I thought, hmmm. they are lying to punish me. Crazy. They let me stumble through the lesson with the kids sort of getting what they were to do. 

I walked the children back to class and asked their teacher if the aides spoke French. She said, "Yes." Then one of the aides came up to me and said she just didn't know art words in French. Pattern is a math word and they knew it just fine. It was a hard, cold moment of knowing they were not about to feel shame even if they had to lie repeatedly. And, they were not going to be for me. Period. 

Warm and cool colors leaves.
I decided to go to the acting elementary principal to enlist some help and understanding. She was very supportive. She shook her head and said she'd talk to the head aide. She said they should not be talking while I was teaching. I felt encouraged, but sobered.

Moroccan culture shock hit me, and I didn't like it. Should I ask the aides to remain in the K room while the K students are in art?  I'll continue to think and pray about how I can interact with them and show them my heart.

Later in the day, my sixth grade students painted their drawn leaves warm colors and the background cool colors. It seemed rather hard for them. Some started painting leaves blue, and I rinsed their paper so they could begin again. When have we seen blue leaves anyway? I felt like I was going backwards again. I patiently reminded them red, yellow and orange are warm, and blue, violet and green are cool colors. They begin again. Maybe they are the ones with patience.

Tonight we went to the downtown Marjane (Wal-mart like store). Jill and I each got 3 bottles of wine. We knew we wouldn't be back for weeks, if not months, because it is so far from where we live....and well, I am tired of the hurt each day seems to bring. I wish I was tough, thick-skinned and let junk roll off my back. In case anyone is worried, no, I am not going to drink it all at once. Just laying up supplies for the rainy season:-) I also noted that some camel meat was for sale. The container wasn't too large...maybe a spread? It cost about 3 American dollars, but I decided to pass on it for today. I think I've had enough excitement for today. 

Onto the up for today....One really sweet thing happened at the Marjane. Jill and I were eating MacDonald's  burgers (a known quantity) on a bench outside the store when one of Jill's second graders came up to us to say "Hi".  We did the Moroccan cheek kisses as we greeted each other. She ran off, but soon came back with a yogurt drink for each of us her mom must have given her to give to us.  I really treasure the moment. So sweet.

Before we headed home for the night, I thought of a kind friend who has blessed me this week with lots of encouragement, even though she has been down, and I decided it was time to encourage her with a special gift. It will be fun to give it to her tomorrow.

looking out our car window to the cafe.

You can see the long drapes in the windows.
On the way home from the craziness of driving downtown with millions of people (literally), we stopped to fill up on gas which is not called gas here. I got a couple of shots of the gas station and the cafe next to it where I had been toasted the night before. Please see the pictures for proof that a really cool cafe is at the gas station. 

So, there you have it. A  day of ups and downs on my adventure in Morocco.

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