Saturday, December 12, 2009

But the meat still remains......

So the week of eating that follows Eid Kbir (the big feast) has finally ended. Eid is the holiday where each family slaughters a sheep (or goat if you can't afford a sheep) in honor of the Prophet Mohammed. It can be kind of an intense eating experience but fortunately my stomach stomached the stomach and I'm feeling proud about my digestive system. Somehow I managed to avoid the sheep testical this year. If I ever share to much information let me know?

It's actually a holiday I enjoy and, once again, the generosity and kindness of the people here continue to humble me. Not only do I go to a lot of people's houses to eat meat but people also show up at my door with copious amounts of food. I think they're taken pity on the skinny orphan boy. Today while leaving my house to go eat lunch with my host family, I was met at the door by a neighbor boy with a lamb/almond tagine and my former tutor with ribs.

I'm a little nervous that I will turn into one of those wild animals that you're not supposed to feed. Because they lose the ability to fend for themselves and no ones around to feed them during the winter. What if people stop bringing food to my door and I lose the ability to feed myself and starve this winter? I just hope I don't bite anyone:)

Winter is definitely here as I sit in front of my heater wearing many many layers. I fought it for awhile but finally pulled out the long underwear bottoms this morning. I won't take them off till April:)

Thanksgiving was good and a low key affair shared with a couple other volunteers. I'm happy to say that it will, hopefully, be my last for awhile shared away from friends and family.

Hope this finds you all happy, healthy, warm, and enjoying the holidays!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy Black Friday!

So I guess its about time for another blog entry.  The fall has been really nice.  In late Sept it seemed like Autumn was about a week long and the long cold winter had begun.  But then Fall came back!  The hedgehog must have seen his shadow.  So yeah the weathers been great.  Nice sunny cool days and then pretty chilly evenings.  I’ve had to break out the sleeping bag but not the long underwear yet.

So in early October I started helping out with English classes at this small private elementary school near my house.  I go there every day and spend between one and 3 hours with the kids.  They all get about one hour of English a week so its pretty basic stuff.  Sometimes I work with the English teacher and sometimes I’m on my own.  The kids are great and they help me with my Arabic.  I also sit in on the beginning French class once a week.  Its pretty humbling since the kids in their are about 5 years old yet know far more French than I.  So far I can count to 20, know the seasons, and know all the names of my school supplies. that I’ve said that I’ve probably forgotten most of it.

So my plan was to start with the English stuff and then at some point slip in some Environmental Education.  Then, the principal approached me and asked if I would be interested in doing a year long Envr Ed program focusing on trees.  He said I could have every Friday afternoon from 2-5 to do lessons.  Not really sure how much I can talk about trees but I think I can expand.  

My first lesson was for the 6th grade class and was about the parts of a tree and their functions.  We also did a short hike and an activity and it went really well.  Then, since I’d heard more and more talk about H1N1 I did a lesson on prevention for the whole school.  Me and two other volunteers put glitter on our hands to demonstrate how germs spread by shaking hands and how important it is to wash our hands.  We also talked about not drinking out of communal water bottles and sneezing into your sleeve.  All in all I think it was a success and we were able to reach around 250 kids.  The only hick-up was when i was trying to open the glitter bottle with my teeth, it exploded, and I ended up with a mouth/face full of glitter.  I’ve always considered myself to have a sparkly personality.

Then yesterday, I repeated the first tree lesson to the 5th grade class.  They were a rowdier less focused group.  I got pretty frustrated when I said that trees make sugar and was just met with a roomful of blank stares.  I further dug my hole by saying its like sugar but not.  “Ummmm.........forget it.  We need trees because they give us oxygen.”  I think they grasped that important point.  

We celebrated Halloween in Tafaghalt at a friend and volunteers house.  It was an International gathering as we had Americans, Spanish, Italians, and Dutch represented.  For the Europeans it was there first experience and I think they had fun.  Anthony certainly won the prize for best costume with his Captain Planet outfit but there was also a batman (me), a Morton salt girl, zombie Captain Kirk, a road construction worker, a hammam goer, and other various consumes.   

I’ve been in discussion lately with a few associations regarding repairing a basketball court and holding a tournament and also maybe doing something with Safron and bees at a community garden.  Also Operation Smile is in Nador next week and I think I’ll help out with that.  Sometimes I really stress myself out since I’m down to my last six months and still have a lot to do.  I

On a really sad note.......a volunteer (So-Youn) died here on Monday (Nov 16th).  She had an undisclosed illness and died really suddenly in the hospital in Marrakech.  She was only 23.  Unfortunately, I had only met her once and really briefly but its super sad and it hit hard with the Peace Corps community here.  I’ll try and post more information when I get some.

If you are reading this then you are probably either family or friend.  I just want to thank you for your support and encouragement through this experience. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Yearly update I know that I haven’t been to good with this blog thing lately.  I got lost in Spain:)  I’ll just skim over the stuff that’s happened in the last 10 months or so.

I believe I left you in Spain?  After Christmas there I came home and celebrated New Years in Jerada with a couple of the volunteers who live near me.  

I’d been training (more or less) for a half Marathon so in late January I headed to Marrakech to do that.  There were a handful of other volunteers who were running either the half or the full or playing the role of cheerleader.  Everything started out well with things seeming to go fairly smoothly.  There was a good mix of Moroccans and tourists running and even women in headscarfs.  The spectators were an interesting mix though.  There were some there who were enthusiastically cheering us on, the majority just kind of stared confused like and seemed to be wondering, “Those people paid money to run?,”  and then there were some kids who were actively heckling, telling you how slow you were, and asking for money.  One kid asked for my hat as I ran by.  

At the beginning there were water stations and people telling you were to go.  At some point however Hanneke and I came to an intersection and nobody was there to direct us.  I don’t if he went off for a tea/prayer break or what but we somehow ended up off course.  When we found ourself near the bus station choking on diesel fumes we decided that something was not right.  At this point we started walking and actually thought about taking a cab back to the hotel when we saw little Ishmael.  There were a group of Moroccan kids (Ishmael being one) who we’d been running with and talking to earlier in the race.  Ishmael had also taken a wrong turn (at least there was someone else) and was so sad and disappointed that he wouldn’t be finishing.  So we grabbed him and said we would find the course together.  We were wandering around for a bit and then were saved when we saw some folks up ahead in running atire.  Ishmael spoke good English and serenaded us with James Brown (“I feel good”) all the way to the finish line.  I then traveled further south to Ziznit for some rest and sun.

Another volunteer (Logan) and I had been trying to arrange a meeting with the Center for the Development of Energy Renewables (CDER) in Marrakech.  Logan had heard that they had developed a more efficient boiler system for use in hammams (like a public bathhouse).  We finally got the meeting set up and so after Tiznit I headed back to Marrakech.  The Center was pretty impressive and they showed us the new boiler which had been developed in Germany.  Hammams go through a lot of wood and Morocco is currently using their forest products at over 3 times the rate they can regenerate.  The traditional hammam boiler operates at between 20-30% efficiency while the new technology boosts that efficiency up to 50% thereby cutting the amount of wood you burn in half while increasing profits.   

I was all excited about the potential of this new project and traveled back to Jerada ready to share this new technology with the hammam owners.  Unfortunately the owners were not nearly as excited about it as I was.  Most of the owners felt they what they had worked fine.  Even when I explained that they will make more money they weren’t interested.  It seems like the mentality is to worry about today and tomorrow not 5, 10, 20 years down the road when there are no trees left.  The technology is somewhat expensive, even after a Peace Corps grant but I tried to explain to the owners that if you make the investment, “this will pay for itself in 7 months in increased profits,” but I think that’s kind of a difficult concept for me to explain and for them to understand.  Also I think people don’t completely trust me when I say that I have absolutely no monetary incentive in this project.

Logan seemed to be having more success in his site (Itzer) so we decided to focus there.  He organized a workshop where the hammam owners could meet with the CDER representatives.  He also got an American development NGO involved and even some engineering students who happened to be in Morocco and were focusing on renewable energy.  The workshop went well and there seemed to be a lot of interest but still no hammams were sold on the new technology idea.  Another workshop happened at another larger site in Midelt and maybe from that one a hammam might switch.  We’ll see?

In February and March I did a few trips to Rabat and went to Essouairra for the first time.  Essa is a beautiful old medieval city right on the beach and is definitely one of my favorite places in Morocco.  Plus there’s a Mexican restaurant there run by a super nice British couple where you can get delicious carrot cake and scones.  

I spent the end of March/beginning of April in Zagora helping out with an English camp.  Along with English I also did some Environmental Education.  Despite some logistical/scheduling glitches, it went really well and the kids were great.  

On the way to and from Zagora, Hanneke and I stopped off in Ouarzazete where we first studied our target languages for two months after arriving in Morocco.  It was great to return and actually be able to communicate somewhat with people.    

On the way home I detoured to Rich to see my best Moroccan buddy Hassan, who is an English teacher there.  I’d been hearing rumors of a transit strike for weeks but when I was in Rich all transportation in the country ground to a halt.  Morocco suffers from terrible traffic accident statistics so the government increased the fines and penalties on violations.  It makes sense to me but the bus and taxi drivers didn’t like it.  You could not move anywhere in the country.  In Rich I ran into another volunteer so we talked two teenagers with their mom’s minivan to drive us to the next big town.  I tried to find a ride but drivers were charging ridiculous prices.  I finally had to approach two German tourists at a cafe and asked where they were going and if I could have a ride.  They were a bit apprehensive (understandably) at first but they agreed to take me up the road to Logan’s site.  I rode for two hours on top of all of their stuff in a packed Landcruiser and then waited in Itzer for over a week before the strike finally ended.

I finally arrived home to find my pregnant kitty had given birth to two kittens.  

I celebrated one year in country in early May and then jumped on the ferry to Spain to meet my family.  My dad, sister (Alison), Alison’s future husband Matt, my cousin Justin, and Justin’s girlfriend all came over and we had great fun.  Really enjoyed Spain and the relaxing beach time.  Justin and Chelsea had to leave after a few days and then my dad, Alison, Matt and I took the ferry over to Tangier Morocco.  I’d heard notorious stories about the Port of Tangier and the hustlers there but it really wasn’t that bad and I actually enjoyed Tangier.  My dad was a good sport and did one night there before he headed home but Matt, Alison, and I toured around Morocco for a week.  We went to Chefchouen, Fez, and then Casablanca.  Fez is my favorite city in Morocco and Chefchouen is this Berber village up in the Rif Mountains.  Other than one particularly difficult Casa taxi driver it was a great trip.

Since I wasn’t having a lot of success with the hammam project I started to look at solar/thermal water heating to use in a small hammam or individual households.  I built one pretty cheaply using a big tin reservoir and a bunch of black irrigation tubing.  It worked great during the summer and still works now (early Oct) but I’m not really sure how effective it will be come winter.  Some of my neighbors were a little concerned about it and even asked me if it was a rocket.  Of course it is:)

My big picture vision was to combine thermal water heating during the summer and then use the new boiler technology for heating during the winter.  The small village (Louenet) that my host family lives in has no hammam so it seemed the ideal place to do this project.  I asked around Louenet and everyone there seemed excited and supportive.  I then took my proposal up to the local government office who directed me to the Water and Forest Office who directed me to the Nedi (women’s cooperative) who directed me back to the local government office.  After a completing my circle I was pretty frustrated and discouraged.  I still haven’t given up on the project but currently the discussion is on whether or not there’s a place for a hammam and where that will be.

In July I traveled to Rabat for mid-service medicals.  Parasite free!  I hadn’t seen many of the other volunteers since November so it was fun to catch up.  Also my good friend Adam and his wife Michelle flew in and we met up in Rabat.  After hanging out in the capital we headed down to Marrakech and then up to Imlil which is the jumping off village for Jbel Toubkal (highest mountain in north Africa).  The plan was to summit but unfortunately we were literally run off the mountain by torrential downpours and massive flooding.  When we left Marrakech it was probably 110 degrees and then went to Toubkal and dealt with mild hypothermia.  Ahhh.....the extremes of Morocco!

After drying out Adam, Michelle, and I worked our way north stopping in Fez and Tafaghalt.  They then had the pleasure of spending a week in Jerada.  It was fun to show off my town and my friends in it.  They really got a true taste of the incredible hospitality of the people here.  Even though we went to a lot of the popular tourist spots Adam and Michelle said that Jerada was the best part of their Morocco experience.  After Jerada we went north to Ras El Ma where we celebrated The 4th of July with 18 other Americans.  

It was sad to see Adam and Michelle go but it was also great to have them here.  Its been 3 months since they were here but people in Jerada regularly ask how they are and when they are coming back.  When are you coming back?

Another volunteer and I share the same birthday so in late July a small group of us decided to do a 3-day backpacking trip through the Eastern Atlas Mountains to celebrate.  We were halfway through, out in the middle of nowhere, hiking through grazing lands.  It was hot so we’d stopped for a water break.  Off in the distance you could see a herder’s temporary settlement.  We had put the packs back on and were about to start hiking again when we saw a man running toward us in the 80+ temps.  The discussion in our group was, “well he’s either going to yell at us for being on his property or invite us for tea.”  We waited and when he got closer I threw him a wave and he flashed us a huge grin and exclaimed, “Peace be upon you!  Come drink tea!”  We spent the next couple of hours with him and his family drinking endless cups of tea while his mother made us fresh bread.  Then, when it was time to go he refused any sort of payment.  I shouldn’t be surprised anymore but I am still humbled by the kindness of these people that have very little material possessions yet are so quick to give.    

The first two weeks of August I was busy helping out with an Environment Camp in Azrou.  Again, there were some logistical/scheduling snafu’s but overall I think the kids learned some stuff and had fun.  So did I:)  

After Azrou I immediately headed south again for another try at Jbel Toubkal.  Met up with some good friends and this time we were fortunate to have great weather and managed to make it to the top.  On the summit (at over 14,000ft) we were very surprised to see a small puppy resting there.  No idea how he got up there.  He seemed to be in pretty sad shape so we gave him some tuna and water and he immediately perked up.  He followed us all the way to the refuge, down to Imlil, and then slept outside our hotel room.  He probably pulls that scam with every tourist group:)

I was back in Jerada for a little over a week and then hopped on a plane for this mysterious land called America!  After a short detour in Germany I flew into Seattle for Labor day Weekend.  It had been almost 18 months exactly since I’d been home.  I was able to catch up with some good friends there and then I headed to Utah for my sister’s wedding.  The wedding was great and so much fun.  Got to see a lot of my relatives, some old friends, and met Matt’s family.  All in all a truly wonderful day with great people.  

After short 10 days I returned home to Morocco.  I arrived just in time for the end of Ramadan and Eid Sgir (the small feast) which involves going to everyone’s house who fed you during Ramadan and thanking them by eating more of their food:)

School has started back up and since then I’ve been teaching an English class at a primary school near my house.  I go there almost every day for an hour or two.  The kids are young (6-10) so its pretty basic stuff.  So far we’ve covered numbers, greetings, days of the week, and months.  It keeps me busy and the kids are fun.  The long-term goal is to incorporate some environmental and maybe health education (ie: teeth brushing) into the curriculum.    

Other projects on the horizon include a possible camp in November and bee and/or tree planting in the spring.  I still haven’t given up on the hammam project but I need some more community support in order for that to proceed.  I’ve also been involved in discussions with a local association about a possible chicken/egg cooperative in Louenet.  We’ll see?    

Well...I think that about sums up the last 10 months.  Good work and thank you if you have found your way to the end of this.  I really didn’t plan in it being this long.  Well.....I hope you are having a wonderful fall!  See you soonish!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Feliz Navidad!

Well….looking back on 2008 it’s crazy to think that most of that year was spent here in Morocco. The majority of the time it really does seem to be flying by.

So I spent Christmas in Madrid, Spain with Hanneke (my girlfriend) which was wonderful. While we maybe suffered a bit of culture shock arriving back in the developed world, we were mostly just giddy about the comforts of home that were available there (i.e. Ben & Jerry’s) and how clean, efficient, and easy everything was. We were also pretty excited about the pork product offerings (not readily available in Morocco.) We spent the week wandering around Madrid and enjoying cosmopolitan life. We easily entertained ourselves with the restaurants, parks, and museums there. Unbeknownst to me, a tradition in Madrid is to dress up in funny hats and colorful wigs for Christmas? I guess it beats Christmas sweaters? Leading up to the holiday, it really didn’t feel much like Christmas in Morocco so it was nice to see some Espanol Christmas festivities. Incidentally, since Christmas Eve in Spain is spent at home with family, and there are no restaurants open, it was kind of funny to be eating Christmas Dinner at Indian Aroma. The dal replaced fruit cake this year.

I write this now back in my house in Jerada. Kind of a challenging transition back but I’m really gonna buckle down and focus on my work here. I’ve been working with an Agriculture Cooperative and have a bee keeping/honey production project that will hopefully be gaining momentum. I’m starting on a grant for that. Who wants honey?

My plan was to run the Marrakech Marathon in 3 weeks but do to inclement weather and being kinda sick I think that’s been downgraded to running a ½ Marathon. We’ll see?

Hope everyone had very Happy Holidays and I wish you all a wonderful 2009. I’ll be home next year!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Mbruk Eidkum! Snu hada?

Well Eid Kbir(the big feast) has come and gone but the massive amounts of meat still remain. Eid started on Tues morning with every family expected to slaughter a sheep to honor the Prophet Mohammed.
I was awoken at 8:15 Tues morning with a phone call from my host brother asking me where I was. Not realizing the significance of the slaughter, I’d accidentally committed myself to attend the execution of 3 different families’ sheep that morning. It was going to be a busy day.
Thinking it was a very important religious holiday I cleaned myself up and wore my best clothes. Then when I arrived at my first house, and looked at everyone else’s attire, I quickly realized I was there to help slaughter a sheep and maybe nice clothes were a bad idea? The Imam (religious leader) came over and did the initial cut and then everyone helped in the butchering. I managed to stay mostly blood free (mainly by taking the roll of photographer) through the execution, organ removal and skinning but while helping to hang the dead sheep he unfortunately emptied his bowels onto my shoe. Karma? Other than that little incident the whole process seemed pretty clean and sanitary.
While the organs were still warm we made a fire and I began to prepare brochettes of liver and heart wrapped in stomach lining. The organ meat was surprisingly tasty and the stomach lining kind of reminded me of bacon fat. Yum! While eating it, I realized I have probably never eaten meat so fresh. After a few brochettes it was on to the next house.
I arrived at my buddy Hassan’s house in order to do more brochettes this time involving kidney as well. I didn’t make it to my host families’ house until afternoon just in time to sit down to a lunch of "mystery organ" stew including piecees of intestine. I don’t think I’ve ever consumed so much meat in one day. In a pre-Eid email my father (thanks dad) had told not to eat any meat not off the bone. Ironically I don’t think I ate any meat that was on the bone. Needless to say, I was a little concerned about how my stomach would react to the foreign invader sheep stomach but so far no problems (knock on wood).
The rest of this week has been a flurry of going over to people’s houses for more meals of sheep meat. Fortunately, nothing to scary (i.e. sheep head) has been placed in front of me yet though I did have a bite of sheep testical. Tasted nothing like chicken.
The other day I went over to my house families house only to find my host father. He asked if I would like to cook him lunch. Thinking he was kidding I said "ok!." He led me into the kitchen and hacked off some ribs from the hanging sheep carcass. He handed me the ribs, salt, bread, and tea, pointed to the fire and then left. All in all I think I did a pretty good job and prepared a tasty lunch. Then, while eating my ego was quickly deflated when I asked him if I was a good cook. His response "swiya." A little! Maybe medium rare next time? Tonight I think I'm gonna have some pasta.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving!

Once again sorry for the lack of posts lately (i see this being a common theme). Here's a little something.

Highlights of the last few months
In Service Training in Azrou where all the volunteers who came over together got to meet up.
A fun couple fun days in Fes after IST.
Hanneke came and visited my site for a week.
My language does seem to be improving.
We have a great new Country Director.
I (hopefully) have a bee/honey production project in the works.
Thanksgiving at my house was great.
The other volunteers I have near me.
I bought a heater.
I have a kitty cat. (I went out the other day to buy a coke and came home with a 3 legged cat....I really should make shopping lists)

Language is not improving rapidly.
My field trip project fell through due to lack of transporation.
My computer broke
Long cold dark lonely nights with no computer
Saying goodbye to Kareem (former business volunteer who completed service)
Saying goodbye to Hassan (my best Moroccan buddy who went back to teaching in Rich)
Did I mention its really cold and wet?

All in all though things are good and I had much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Hanneke and I are headed to Spain (Madrid and Granada) for Christmas which I'm super excited about. I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and I wish you Happy Holidays!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

La Shukran!

Hello all! Sorry for the lack of correspondence these last couple months.

The big news is that I’ve moved out of my host families house. I have a little place now and I’m loving it. My host family was great but I’m really appreciating my own space and privacy. My house isn’t big (three rooms and a kitchen) but it has a nice outdoor private courtyard. I’ve been busy getting furniture and things and its now starting to feel like home. I have water and electricity 24hrs a day and have cell phone service and even have the option of internet at my house. I didn’t expect all of these luxuries but definitely appreciate them. My neighbors are great and the gendarmes station (federal police) is just down the road so its pretty safe. Its about 2km to both Jerada and Louenet (where the Water and Forest Office is) so its a nice walk or bike ride.

It is now a little over one week into Ramadan. Ramadan is the month long religious holiday where Muslims fast (Siam) during the daylight hours. This means that the breaking of the fast (aka lftur or “breakfast”) takes place when the sun sets between 6:30 and 7:00pm. Lunch takes place at midnight or 1:00am and then dinner happens at around 3:30 in the morning before the first morning prayer around 4:00am. I’ve been doing sort of a modified fast. I usually sleep in and eat a big meal around 9:00 and then I won’t eat again until I break fast at 6:30. Technically you’re also not supposed to drink anything during daylight hours but I sneak water at home and every once in a while have a little snack. Shhh.....don’t tell. The other afternoon I’d received a care package with some licorice in it (Thanks Dad!) and didn’t have the willpower to refrain from sampling one or two. When someone knocked on the door I had to frantically try and clean the red chunks out of my teeth before I could answer. People constantly ask if I’m fasting and then invite me over for Lftur in the evenings. Its a pretty fun time and and good way to meet people. Food usually consists of Harira (a yummy bean soup), dates, fruit, bread, and the customary tea. The gendarmes even bring me Harira over in a thermos in the evening.

One of the downsides of Ramadan though is that the entire schedule changes. Obviously there are no restaurants open during the day. Cafe's had become a big part of my afternoon routine so I kind of miss that. During Ramadan it can also be more difficult to find transportation, especially in the morning. Since people have to wake up at 3am in order to eat, oftentimes they will sleep in until 10am or so. And since people are hungry, at times folks can be a bit crabby. And because people are pretty tired during the day it seems that many work projects have been put on the backburner, until after Ramadan.

Before Ramadan I managed to squeeze in a little vacation. I met up with my sweetie (Hanneke) in Rabat for a few days. Rabat is a very modern, almost European city with many of the comforts of home. It was great to spend some time with Hanneke and also experience city life. We ate a lot of good food (some bad food), checked out the zoo (pretty pathetic), and got in a lot of cafe/coffee time. After Rabat I went to Ifrane National Park (in the Middle Atlas) and helped out at an Environmental Education camp that was happening there. I haven’t dealt with kids much lately so 150 was a bit overwhelming at first. Because of the heat, and not drinking water, many of the kids were dealing with dehydration issues. I ended up teaching a lesson on the importance of hydrating and also washing hands. This was the first camp of its kind here so there were various logistical issues to deal with. But the kids had fun and the same kids who early in the week were crying and wanting to go home, by the end of the camp they were crying and didn’t want to leave. I had a great time but was exhausted by the end of the week.

I was gone from site for almost 2 weeks and it was nice to come home. It was a great break and also helped me appreciate where I live and the people here. I really like the other volunteers who are near me and I’m starting to develop a good community of Moroccan friends. My buddy Hassan has been absolutely invaluable to me. His family is some of the most kind and generous people I have ever met. I continue to be humbled by the friendliness of the people here. For every taxi driver in Fes that has tried to rip me off, there are many others in my site that refuse payment. For every merchant that tries to shortchange me, there are two that will chase me down the street when I’ve forgotten my change. Good folks here. the other night I went over to my host families house for lftur (breaking fast). After the traditional meal (soup, bread, dates, olives, etc) I assumed that we were done. But then.......thats when the goat intestines came out! Images of Anthony Bourdain came to mind and thought “I can do this.” I really do think I could of gagged down a piece if they’d been cooked but they were just boiled in water and still looked kinda raw. When my little (4yrs old) host sister began blowing up a chunk of intestine like a balloon, I politely declined.

Allright.....thats all for now. Sorry for the lengthy rambling. I’ll try and be better about posting regularly. Hope this finds you doing well. Happy Ramadan!