I feel like I’m in the second season of my PCV life, and it definitely has a different angle than the premiere. My “seconds” starting to pile up: second rounding up of students for classes, second L’3id , second Christmas in Morocco, and now, second L’Mossim.
As you may remember from last year (since I’m sure that you all follow my blog religiously), L’Mossim was my introduction into a life of Moroccan crime. I got my camera and wallet snagged because I was…..stupid. Moroccan CSI turned out to be just as thrilling as the American version. At the same time, I also got to see my little town of 6000 people swell to unprecedented amounts. The dirt expanse that I fondly refer to as my front yard evolved overnight into the main event of tbourida. We even had a ferris wheel!
This year was much of the same– same ferris wheel of death, same tbourida, same bee-infested candy vendors, same intestine sandwich stands– although thankfully I was a little more vigilant with regards to my personal belongings.
I wasn’t, however, so vigilant when I walked by this:
I spent allllll morning talking about buying chicks. I think I drove everyone mad going back and forth about the extensive pros and cons about this life-altering decision. Also, as a Peace Corps Volunteer, you always have to take into account the fact that you might have to be at a camp or a training for a week– who is going to take care of your animal? Ohhhh real world responsibility, you irk me so. Unlike a dog or a cat (which are extremely tempting to snag off of the streets and take into your home), I feel like a chicken is something you could give to a Moroccan family when you leave for America and they’d be genuinely happy to receive it. Of course, there’s the probability it will be consumed in a matter of hours after the gift-giving process is complete, butttttt what are ya gonna do. Ultimately, I decided to make the hefty investment of 4DH– about 50 cents– and buy two little orange cotton balls.
After lots of amazing suggestions for names (thanks Facebook friends), I christened them Frida and Diego. Whether or not I actually have a boy and a girl remains to be seen, but in the meantime, I usually just call them my “katakeet”, which means “chicks” in Arabic.
In my few days of being a chicken owner, I’ve learned a lot. Chicken care forums are full of mind-blowing amounts of very enthusiastic people. For example, I tried to research how to make my own chicken food after running out very late at night (chicks eat food like a teenage boy). After paging through dozens of recipes calling for “organic alfalfa” and “smoked salmon” mixes, I took matters into my own hands. I can color myself hippie too– I rolled up my sleeves and made use of my surroundings. This involved crushing up some dried lentils, dried white beans, and dried chick peas, mixing them with flax seed, and then topping it all off with popped popcorn. I thought I had won against the earthy powers of the enthusiastic chicken owners. Guess how much the chicks ate of my premium Morocco Whole Foods mixture? WALO. Nothing. They were not fans of my non-organic, smoked salmon-free feed. Brats! It’s like they read the forums and knew what I should be giving them.
We also had a little season 2 drama– Diego decided he no longer had the will to live. After last night’s food scare, I checked on them this morning and Diego was looking a little frazzled. I read (yes, in the crazy chicken forums) that sometimes chicks peck at each other if they sense one of them is sick. Diego’s feathers were a little messed up around his face, and Frida seemed to be in a feisty enough mood to be the culprit. After bringing them onto the roof for some fresh air, Diego just kinda collapsed and gave up on life. His eyes were closed and he didn’t move for a good 10 minutes. As I gave him some space and started arranging the rooftop chicken hotel for a lonely Frida, he rose from the dead! I’m happy to report that after faking his own death, Diego seems to be doing a lot better. I don’t know a lot about chick psychology (I’m sure I could read extensively about it on some forum), but I seem to have selected quite the little orange actor.
Obviously, a lot of my L’Mossim holiday was spent figuring out chick care. However, I did spend one really pleasant afternoon with Mustapha’s family, who owns a house in swe9a– another neighborhood in Tameslouht. They have a skinny little house that rises above the massive souk AND the mausoleum of Tameslouht. We got a lot of beautiful pictures in the late afternoon light.
That’s my latest update from my dusty corner of the world. We’ve been working a lot on our women’s artisan initiative, and I’m happy to report that the ladies now have 121 followers on their Facebook page! You should totally like them too.