Welcome to Taounate!

We’ve been in Taounete for a couple days now. The first couple days it was so rainy that the valleys and mountains surrounding us were completely covered by fog. We didn’t actually get a good look at the town until the day before yesterday; before that whenever we would walk somewhere we’d have our heads bent down because of the rain. But yesterday we finally saw the sun, and the town definitely lived up to expectations. See the view of the city from a nearby hill below.


Our host family, however, has provided us plenty of warmth (and warm food!) to compensate for the initial rainy weather. Mama Naima and our host siblings have been so generous and happy to see us that we’ve felt welcome since the second we walked in the door. Mama Naima is an excellent cook and so far mealtimes are the highlight of the day. We’re really looking forward to getting to spend more time with the family, and having our Darija improve enough to where we can actually talk to them (instead of our current vocabulary of Hello! Good! Very good! I’m tired. Goodbye!)

Language classes are getting a little more intense. 3 hours in the morning and 2-3 hours again in the afternoon means we have a lot to study every night. It’s going slowly right now but we have high hopes that soon we’ll settle into the rhythm of things and start to really notice some improvement. Soon we’ll begin observing classes at the youth center and we’ll start to plan and teach our own. We’ve gotten a couple chances to hang out with the kids there already – Matt really enjoyed playing some ping-pong with a couple Moroccans yesterday… it’s hard work but someone’s gotta do it. Looking forward to an afternoon off today – Mama Naima told us she’d teach us how to make Moroccan bread! We’ll report back with the recipe next week, hopefully. Bslama!

Cori and Matt

Hello from Rabat!

We’ve just finished our first week of training – woohoo! It’s actually only been 4 days but it feels like it’s been much longer since we have been so busy.

Our training days have been full of all things Peace Corps from about 8:30 am to 6 or 7 pm. Cori’s favorite part so far has been the language training in Darija, which is the Moroccan dialect of Arabic. It’s challenging, but it was one of the things she was most looking forward to and so far she’s been enjoying it. Matt has been enjoying it a lot more than he expected.

We learned where we’ll be for our next ten weeks of training – a town called Tounet, which we don’t know much about except that it’s near mountains north of Fes. While we’re there, we’ll be living with a host family and practicing leading activities in the local youth center (dar chebab), which gives us a chance to practice language and teaching/working with the kids.  We’re excited and a little nervous to meet our host family but definitely ready to start learning Darija from them!

Today was a much needed day off – we had a great time exploring Rabat. We went to the Casbah (old castle), explored some Roman ruins, and walked through a ridiculously crowded and noisy market in the Medina (old city).  See the pic dump below.

More updates to come! We miss you all!

-Matt and Cori

Hassan II Tower

Hassan II Tower

Cori with the Casbah and ocean in the background

Cori with the Casbah and ocean in the background

View from the Casbah over the ocean

View from the Casbah over the ocean


Walking through the shops in the Medina

The answers to “Why the Peace Corps?” and all your other questions

After we tell people we’re joining the Peace Corps, we’re inevitably answered with a bunch of questions – where are you going? how long will you be there? etc. (don’t worry, we love to answer them!). Anyway, we thought we’d try to answer them all in one place here. If we miss anything you’ve been wondering about, feel free to ask in the comments or shoot one of us an email!

Why the Peace Corps?

We both love to travel, and have been tossing around ideas for living abroad for awhile. We settled on the Peace Corps because it would give us a chance to get to know a community where we’re working to make a bit of a difference, to receive education in a foreign language, to have the protection of the U.S. government, and to make a little bit of money (not much, but at least we’re not paying to go like we would with a lot of other volunteer programs).

Additionally, two out the top three goals of the Peace Corps are related to cultural exchange, which is a philosophy that really appeals to us. The top three goals are:

  1. To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women.
  2. To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.
  3. To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of all Americans.

We’re glad to have you all here reading to help us work on goal #3!

Where are you going and how long will you be gone?

We’ve been assigned to be somewhere in Morocco for the next 27 months. Our first week will be in Rabat, the capital. We’ll then move in with a host family in a yet-to-be determined city for our training period, which lasts 8-12 weeks. After training we’ll be sworn in as official Peace Corps Volunteers and will receive our final site assignment, which is where we’ll work for our two years of service. We leave Columbus on January 14, so our service should end sometime in March 2015.

What will you be doing?

Our assignment is to be Youth Development volunteers, which as far as we can tell means teaching English and other skills to children in after-school centers. We’ll also most likely do some work at summer camps and other miscellaneous tasks.

Do you learn a foreign language?

Yes – the Peace Corps will teach us Moroccan Arabic. French is also widely spoken in Morocco, but it seems to be more of a business and government language rather than a popular language. Language learning will be what our training period focuses on – we’ve been told to expect 4-6 hours of language classes daily, plus conversation with our host families outside of class.

Will you have electricity/running water/internet access?

We expect to have electricity and most other basic amenities, but we’ll update on that once we actually get to Morocco. We’re also expecting to have access to the internet on at least a semi-regular basis, although from what we’ve heard it depends on where we end up (urban vs. rural area).

We’ll be sure to add updates to this information as we get to Morocco and start to learn more about what it’s like there. For now, we’re mostly just excited to get there and start the adventure!

– Cori and Matt


Hi everyone! Welcome to our blog: 4000 miles from home (and M*ch*g@n still sucks). We’ve started it as a way to keep our friends and family updated on our work as Peace Corps Volunteers in Morocco. Since we will be 4000+ miles from Columbus for the next 27 months, we couldn’t resist adding a little bit of Buckeye humor to our blog title :). Although we’re not sure what kind of internet access we’ll have during the various stages of our service, we hope to keep you all entertained, informed and in touch as much as possible – enjoy!

– Cori and Matt