females and the US workforce

Posted in Uncategorized by Diana on September 30, 2010

Gender and Development are still issues in the US:

Still a Slow Climb for Female Managers:

Women Earn Less Than Men, Especially at the Top:

Gender Trade-Offs:

Money, Gender, and Job Satisfaction:

math, the universal language

Posted in Uncategorized by Diana on September 29, 2010

I may not know how to read or write Arabic script, but I do understand math concepts! I helped Fatima with her math class/homework. We worked on counting and multiplication.

Her grandmother was sitting beside us. While I quizzed Fatima on her multiplication, her grandmother tried to chime in. However…I soon realized illiteracy isn’t just limited to reading and writing, it also extends to quantitative skills. It was awkward for me to correct this older woman, but I think she appreciated my efforts in the end.

It’s been a while since I’ve had afternoon tea at a Moroccan’s house, so I happily accepted this afternoon’s sweet tea and bread with fresh honey still in the comb, fresh churned butter, and olive oil.

My hot water heater works swiya, which is all I really hope for. I hope it keeps on working, inshallah.

Life…as challenging as it is often times…I’m lovin’ it.

site visit

Posted in Uncategorized by Diana on September 28, 2010

You plant the seed that you won’t get shade from.

– Rachid, Health Sector Program Assistant

Or the ripple effect. One drop – one CPV – can have a big impact, even if the impact isn’t immediately quantifiable.

Fatima is a 10-year old girl who I’ve been teaching English to every week since the summer. She wants to be a doctor when she grows up. She’s such a sweet and friendly girl. Her family doesn’t have much but they are so nice.

During today’s English lesson, I casually told her I wanted to review her homework during future lessons. I told her I wanted to see if I understand it – even though it’s really me wanting to make sure she understands what she’s learning. Well, either my language is still incomprehensible (absolutely possible) or she understood my intention (which is also possible) because as soon as I told her, she wrapped her arms around me and kissed me on the cheek! How adorable is she?!

I showed her a map of the world. I asked her where Morocco is. After a few tries, she found the country. Then I asked her where America is. She was so surprised at the size of Morocco compared to America.

She’s a smart, beautiful, out-going girl. My hope is that she’ll accomplish her dream of becoming a doctor. Maybe she’ll even go to America and study? Haha.

when it’s difficult…

Posted in Uncategorized by Diana on September 27, 2010

Whatever your work is, dignify it with your best thought and effort.

– Esther Baldwin York

When it’s difficult to be here…

…all I need to do is open my front door and embrace the innate good spirits found in children.

I literally ran with my host sister to school today. We ran from my host family’s house to her dad’s pottery shed through souk and finally arrived at school. I met her teacher. Several of the little girls greeted me with kisses. It was really cute. And fun.

One big reason I wanted to serve in PC was to, quite honestly, see how people live when their lives aren’t inundated by mass media, career options, or financial wealth.

How do they live? What do people think about? What are their day-to-day concerns if not what’s hip and popular now, which restaurant to eat at, where to work, or how much money to make.

At the moment, I find that people’s priorities are: asking about each other and their family’s well-being; putting food on the table; daily domestic chores; education (to varying degree); and health (also to varying degree). People worry about the immediate things – aches and pains they feel now, dressing their children, cleaning the house.

They don’t project out to the future so much. They don’t plan their futures the same way Americans do. They don’t dream about possibilities as much…or they stop after awhile, perhaps after reaching a certain age.

As daunting as life in the bled can get sometimes, in the grand scheme of things…I have nothing to complain about and everything to be grateful for.

essence of serendipity

Posted in Uncategorized by Diana on September 26, 2010

Live wildly uncomfortable lives.

– David Lillie, PC/Morocco Country Director

Shout outs are in order:

–       Happy 80th birthday, NeNe (grandma in Hainanese)! I’m so glad I got to talk to you on your special day!

–       Friends who will be/are in Europe (Brussels, Spain, and England thus far) during my time in Morocco! I’ll be coming through, inshallah, at some point.

Currently reading The Audacity of Hope by Barak Obama. Anyone else notice how he dedicated his book to women – his maternal grandmother and mother – and makes a point to acknowledge his relationship with his father in the prologue:

“Someone once said that every man is trying to either live up to his father’s expectations or make up for his father’s mistakes.”

Redefining my job: cultural educator. Then community health volunteer. People care more about where I’m from than how they can improve their health with just small changes in their daily lives.

PCVs often have interesting conversations. Case in point:

–       If there was an average person of the world, what would he/she be like?

–       Male PCV asks female PCVs: “How would you feel if you made more money than your husband?”…”Would you be insecure about him making less than you?”

Response: Actually, that’s how I envision it. I want to be independently and interdependently successful. That means I want to earn a high income in my career. Question isn’t whether I’m okay with it (because I’m prepared for it); question is whether he, whoever my spouse turns out to be, will be secure about it. (Though if he is my spouse, then he will be secure about it because we will have already talked about this possibility before marriage. Haha.)

Peace Corps is the essence of serendipity.

– PCV Tom

When amongst PCVs, it’s interesting to hear about the thought process that did and the decision process that didn’t work out to get them where they are now. For instance, when asked, “Where did you choose as your geographical preference for service?” some PCVs in Morocco will confess that they didn’t choose Morocco or the Northern Africa region, in fact, some didn’t choose Africa at all.

Case and point: myself. On my application, my preferences were South East Asia and South America. I was lukewarm about serving in Africa, quite possibly because the idea of living among impoverished people, sleeping in a mosquito net to prevent getting bit, having to take malaria medication, eat mystery bush meat and grains, and in landlocked country in Sub-Saharan Africa for two years intimidated the heck out of me. Besides, at the time of application, I was still reminiscing about my semester studying in China, where I longed to return to. At the same time, I was also interested in improving my Spanish, learning more about South American culture.

Considering all those things, I can ask, “How did I end up here?”

But I don’t. I consciously choose not to. There’s no need.

Life is about challenging oneself. In order to do that, sometimes you have to admit to yourself that, well, you don’t know what you don’t know.

When I heard about my placement in PC/Morocco, well, I didn’t know the place or culture very well. Actually, I had to consult a map to find where it was. While I gripe about it – or certain aspects of it – I am so happy I accepted my invitation. Not only did I end up in a fabulous country, I was placed in a beautiful and picturesque province with wonderful people.

If you want to live life, if you really want to experience it for all its beauty – I recommend going against the tide. Try something different. Do something new and challenging everyday. Listen to your instinct instead of the crowd – the view from being a leader is so much more vibrant than the view of a follower.

Embrace life’s changes! It’s the only thing that remains constant! Take the direction that makes you grow into a better person – spiritually, mentally, emotionally. Aspire to be and do more than you did before.