Wednesday, May 5, 2010

On ‘I’m Foreign and I approve this message”

No matter how much a person studies Moroccan Arabic, following a conversation in which you are not participating and which is not directed at you is difficult. Ad into the mix less then six month of experience with the language and it becomes just about impossible. Which is why attending the meetings of Moroccan associations can be boring, confusing and depressing. It is however, one of the great places where PCVs contribute immensely to the development of their community. Just by going to the meeting with a friend or host family member you are saying, “I am foreign and I agree with whatever this guy is saying.” So often, that nonverbal message is all that is needed to break through the deadlock of local politics to get everyone working toward the same goal. Without it, associations just talk, drink tea, agree to disagree and talk about it more next month. But with it they resolve, “well, if the foreigner approves of this plan, it must be a good one. Lets do it.” Who knew sitting and looking around confused could accomplish so much?

No comments:

Post a Comment