The Rev. Deacon Kevin White (St. Augustine’s), is serving with the Peace Corps in Morocco where he will be a Youth Development Specialist volunteer.The Rev. Deacon Kevin White Two-minute read. Resources
I am living in a small village near Fez, called Mahaya, lovely people. Not exactly near Fez but close enough. I will be here in Mahaya until the end of November then I will be getting my permanent site placement. I spend most of my day in an Arabic language class and in the community youth center or darchabab.
Wow who knew? I have attended one wedding celebration and one baby-naming celebration. I sit with the men in separate rooms while the women do the real partying. It is one of the few times the women can let loose. With no men around the women can uncover their hair dance and sing. These celebrations usually go on for at least 10 or 12 hours sometimes much longer. The guys go home or to bed while wives and daughters party. The Women bring two or three outfits to wear to show off their finest. I have seen videos of my host family’s weddings.
I am a big curiosity/celebrity in the village and people do not hide their interest. Lucky for me my host Dad is one of the town’s notables, a notary and party planner. He knows everyone.
He has been very helpful and everyone knows ‘Jusef’ — they told me Kevin was to difficult to pronounce. They like Joseph but pronounce it Jusef. So that is my name. I was expecting more interest in my hair but no one seems to be the slightest bit concerned that I have long hair in braids
I think they just cut me some slack because I am an American The other thing that surprised me is how many dark-skinned Moroccan people live in my village including my host family Dad. The family is a very diverse and interesting group I still don’t know the backstories and believe me they have many layers of lives here. I have lots to learn.
God is good. The Peace Corps is very well respected here and so the work of Youth development can begin. My group will building relationships and starting new ones. That is our primary task, building relationships with the people. I will continue to preach the Gospel through my interactions with the people of Morocco. My village is very poor but the children have schools and the community center. They want to learn English so that is how we engage them — by teaching English.
About volunteers in Morocco
There are more than 270 volunteers in Morocco working with their communities on projects in youth development. During their service in Morocco, volunteers learn to speak Moroccan Arabic (Darija). Some volunteers also learn to speak local languages, including Tachelhit or Tamzight. More than 5,165 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Morocco since the program was established in 1963.