Culture

Making Shebbakiah in Tangier: Because during Ramadan, everything is zero calories

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About a month after finishing my year in Ifrane, I returned to Morocco for a Critical Languages Scholarship in Tangier. Dear readers, it is such an experience: I’m living with an impossibly wonderful host family and roommate now, and speaking Arabic all the time. I’m also taking part in an almost brutally intensive language program. Free time is therefore spent studying, talking to the family and, because of the recent Ramadan holiday (Eid Mubarak, dear readers!), eating.

So much.

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University X: A darker side of sexual culture, and some answers

Lack of education can lead to unsafe attempts at ending pregnancies, as in O.’s case. This situation can also lead students to stumble into potentially violent sexual situations. It can also cause them to create or passively observe these situations due to a lack of knowledge regarding respect for others’ sexual boundaries. According to Pionati, students have reported that the date rape drug Rohypnol is common in the campus town. Young female students, she says, are especially susceptible to sexual violence.

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Race and the “stage of love”: Melanie Cheng on her experiences in Peace Corps Morocco. Part 4: Peace Corps culture.

Could you describe to me the Peace Corps culture (in Morocco)? I know you talk a lot about your “stage” (the volunteer group with which Cheng trained and arrived in Morocco). When I came (to Ksar El Kbir), (I realized) you guys really feel like a family, with all the inside jokes, they way you were cooking together, everyone’s cleaning up, everyone’s helping each other. I’m wondering how that developed, and if it’s a specifically “Morocco” thing.

I think that it’s Peace Corps worldwide, because I’ve had other friends who’ve done Peace Corps, and they become very close to their training groups. We call our training groups here in Morocco “stages.” It’s a French word. In Morocco, at least recently, the stages have been really big. (My stage) started with 95 people.

But (Peace Corps) is a difficult experience.

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University X: Members address the campus’s sexual rumor mill

Students at University X can easily protect themselves against unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections: they have access to emergency contraception on campus as well as confidential counseling and medical services. They can freely find condoms at one of the town’s four pharmacies as well as at a downtown bodega and the public hospital.

On campus, however, rumors regarding STIs, unplanned pregnancies and abortions, in particular, swirl. When asked about rates of abortion and STIs on campus, students invariably mention stories concerning “a friend of a friend” or someone “who used to be at the university.”

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Race and the “stage of love”: Melanie Cheng on her experiences in Peace Corps Morocco. Part 3: Cheng explains that not every Asian in Morocco is a Chinese national.

What about learning Darija (Moroccan Arabic)? Tell me about that.

It was a struggle at the beginning, just because it’s so different from all the other languages (Cantonese Chinese and Spanish) that I speak. I think that for me it was a little bit easier to learn, because I am multilingual already. My problem is actually where I live, I speak a lot of English, because a lot of the counterparts and people I work with speak English or understand English pretty well. Additionally, where I live it’s an Amazigh site, so the only time I hear Arabic is when people are talking [directly] to me. Otherwise they’re just speaking to each other in Tachelhit. I’ve gotten to the point where I can understand… generally, what they’re talking about. I know what I know, and I’m able to do the work that I need to do.

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Muslim Feminism: Graduate Student Ouiam Mallouk on women’s issues, the Qur’an and imposing herself to achieve her dreams

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Ouiam Mallouk is a graduate student at Al Akhawayn University. Originally from Fes, Mallouk, 24, is pursuing a master’s degree in International Studies and Diplomacy with a focus on the Middle East/North Africa region. Recently, she and I discussed Moroccan culture, gender issues and how Islam plays into Mallouk’s ideas on women’s rights.

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