From Peace Corps Wiki
|From US state||Delaware|
|From US town/city||Wilmington|
|Rachel Weiner started in Morocco 2008|
|So-Youn Kim, Rachel Weiner|
|Youth in Morocco:|
|Gerry (G) Kaufman, Rachel Weiner|
|Other in Morocco:25px|
|Other Volunteers who served in Morocco
|Jesse Bailey, Maggie Barnes, Barbara Ferris, Maureen Hagen, Orin (Buz) Hargraves, Bernadine L. Hoff, Gerry (G) Kaufman, Dave Keiser, So-Youn Kim, Bonnie Kirk, Charlie (Hassan) Kolb, Raymond Kruger, Nam LaMore, Suzanne Lane Belahmira, Anjali Mahoney … further results|
|Projects in Morocco
|GGLOW Camp for Youth, Safety in the Workplace, Well Refurbishment, Women's Community Center, Women's Computer Literacy Classes|
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Description of Service
Introduction and Preliminary Training
After a competitive application process stressing applicant’s skills, adaptability and willingness to immerse herself in another culture and language, cross-cultural sensitivity, and the desire to serve underprivileged communities, Rachel Weiner began Peace Corps training on September 6th, 2008 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She then completed the eleven week training program: one week in Rabat and ten weeks in the community-based training (CBT) site of Mrirt. During this time, Rachel lived with a Moroccan family in order to experience Moroccan culture and family life first-hand, as well as to immerse herself in the language. Ms. Weiner joined other trainees at the training seminar site in Azrou where they participated in cross-cultural and technical sessions organized by Peace Corps staff. During the training period, the following was accomplished:
- CROSS CULTURAL TRAINING
- Study of Arab and Islamic values and traditions with an emphasis on Moroccan history and culture. (28 hours of formal training sessions plus an additional 33 days of cross-cultural experience during a “home stay” with a Moroccan family.)
- TECHNICAL TRAINING
- General introduction to participatory community analysis and development methodologies and the Moroccan Education System through lectures, hands-on activities stressing language, teaching methods and techniques and youth development activities, including girls education (50 hours of formal training). As part of the Community Based Training experience, practice taught, planned and organized youth-related activities in a youth center (120 hours).
- LANGUAGE TRAINING
- General introduction to and intensive study of the Moroccan Arabic dialect (Darija), including reading, writing and speaking. (170 formal hours) Additionally, many informal hours practicing language skills with host family and applying language tasks in a Moroccan community context.
- HEALTH AND PERSONAL SAFETY TRAINING
- Health care in Morocco; first aid and safety; preventive medicine and nutrition. Safety and Security including both formal sessions and competencies integrated into Language and Cross Culture training (34 formal hours of training plus additional time during language and cross culture classes).
After swearing-in with Peace Corps on November 20th, Rachel served as a Youth Development Volunteer for the Moroccan Ministry of Youth and Sports. Her primary assignment was in a youth center in Tinzouline. She arrived in her site and lived with a host family there for two months.
Rachel Weiner was involved in a range of projects and activities in her dual role as English teacher and youth developer. In executing the primary and secondary responsibilities of her service, she:
- Networked with community leaders, Moroccan government officials, teachers, and development workers in order to create possible connections for further development in Tinzouline.
- Coordinated two spring language camps (Zagora and Al Hoceima) in collaboration with the Moroccan Ministry of Youth and Sports.
- Zagora: 7 Peace Corps volunteers, 85 children/new camp staff, new location (2009)
- Al Hoceima: 5 Peace Corps volunteers, 60 children (2010)
- Coordinated one summer language camp in El Jadida in 2009, supervising 13 Peace Corps volunteers and 85 Moroccan children.
- Staffed two additional summer language camps in El Jadida
- Taught English language classes in the youth house in Tinzouline to approximately 50 boys and 20 girls; three levels.
- Taught English language classes in the boy's boarding school to about six boys.
- Organized an Environment Club in the youth house.
- Coordinated tree planting in the youth center in cooperation with the Moroccan Ministry of Water and Forestry, and the King's environmental initiative of 2010.
- Coordinated and participated in an English language workshop in the desert town of M'hamid, (approximately 40 boys and 40 girls) to encourage Moroccan high school students to continue their studies in English and go to college.
- Trained six youth in public speaking methods in order to facilitate a mini speaker's bureau in Tinzouline.
- Participated in a Zagora regional health bike to give instructional health lessons to women and children in hard-to-reach areas in the countryside.
- Instructed children on proper tooth brushing methods, the importance of washing their hands, and appropriate physical fitness.
- Educated rural women about good eye care, management of ailments such as diabetes and high cholesterol (especially in towns without health services); talked to them about the possibility of forming a government-recognized women's association.
- Initiated world map-painting project in Tinzouline, in collaboration with Moroccan teachers, in order to improve students' knowledge of world geography.
- Worked consistently to educate Moroccans about American culture.
- Corresponded with more than 70 children from two elementary school classes through the Paul Coverdale Worldwide Schools Program to educate Americans about Morocco and its people.
- Acted as regional coordinator for Zagora, liaising between Peace Corps staff, volunteers, community members, and ministry officials.
- Coordinated biannual regional meetings for volunteers and ministry officials for the purpose of project planning and networking.
- Researched new possible sites for volunteers on behalf of Peace Corps; assessed the work environment, safety concerns, and project feasibility.
- Held a Saturday “Girls' Cafe” in my home for six months, allowing girls to practice their conversational English in a safe environment.
- Mentored and trained new volunteers on methods for living effectively in Morocco, working on projects, and completing successful youth development camps
- Wrote a Peace Corps Partnership Grant to establish a multimedia center in the youth house in Tinzouline, including the town's first public library.
- Fundraised more than 20,000 Moroccan Dirhams to complete a grant project.
- Helped to create a Technology Club in Tinzouline in order to improve computer literacy levels, especially among girls.
Description of Service Summary
Rachel Weiner has successfully integrated into his community, achieving an advanced-high level of fluency in Moroccan Arabic, allowing her to gain the respect of Dar Chebab Directors and coworkers in the Ministry of Youth and Sport. Through her diligence, hard work and perseverance, Rachel Weiner has brought to her local community sustainable projects and ideas, allowing for the growth and development of the community with whom she worked.
Rachel Weiner successfully completed her service with the Peace Corps in Morocco on November 12, 2010. She will fulfill the final Peace Corps goal by sharing Morocco with Americans upon her return to the United States.
Pursuant to Section 5 (f) of the Peace Corps Act, 22 U.S.C. No. 2504 (f) as amended, any former Volunteer employed by the United States Government following her Peace Corps service is entitled to have any period of satisfactory Peace Corps Volunteer service credited for purposes of retirement, seniority, reduction in force, leave or other privileges based on length of government service. Peace Corps service shall not be credited toward completion of a probationary or trial period or completion of any service requirement for career appointment.
This is to certify in accordance with Executive Order No. 11103 of 10 April 1963 that Rachel Weiner served satisfactorily as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Her service ended on November 26, 2009. She is therefore eligible to be appointed as a career-conditional employee in the competitive civil service on a non-competitive basis. This benefit under the Executive Order entitlement extends for a period of one-year, except that the employing agency may extend for up to three years for a former Volunteer who enters military service, pursues studies at a recognized institution of higher learning, or engages in other activities which, the view of the appointing authority, warrants extension of the period.
November 12, 2010 David Lillie - Country Director
- E-Newsletter Article: Paul D. Coverdale Worldwide Schools Program E-Newsletter, October 2009 "Ask A Volunteer"
- Newspaper Interview: Wilmington Delaware Community News,"Meet Rachel Weiner" by Jesse Chadderdon, December 15, 2009
- Newspaper Chronical: Wilmington Delaware Community News, by Jesse Chadderdon
- Travelogue: Bob and Cindy Weiner's visit to Morocco, touring the country with Rachel Weiner
Anecdote From Service
There are these exquisite little sugar cookies we eat with tea at my host family's house. They have honeycomb patterns, and I always felt guilty enjoying them because I knew they were from a store, and not baked by my host mom or host sister, Samira.
One particular day, after eating a few of these cookies with tea for a mid-morning snack, I made my way to a new acquaintance's house who had invited me for lunch. As soon as I arrived, they asked me to give them some money. They relented...
- "Help me get a visa to America," the man insisted.
- “I don’t know how,” I said truthfully, as I inched away from him slowly.
I sat there, fuming internally, and plotting my escape. I managed to leave by making up some excuses.
When I got home I headed toward the kitchen, armed with my Arabic dictionary, in case I needed some serious words to talk to Samira and my host mom about what had happened. I thought someone in my town should know about this. The kitchen smelled warm. My host mom, Samira and I all sat in a 3x6 room for an hour with the warm oven, and the swirling scent of vanilla, sesame seeds, yeast, and orange rind. I put my book behind me and sat down on the stool they pulled into the kitchen for me. Minute by minute, I felt the tension leave my muscles, aided by the fresh out-of-the-oven cookies they gave me to eat. I smiled as I realized that these were the beautiful little sugar cookies that they serve me sometimes before dinner... and they’re not from the store. Samira invited me to help make the little honeycomb pattern in the dough. After we had made what seemed like 300 cookies together, Samira turned to me and said,
- “Now what did you want to talk to me about?”
I took a deep breath and relayed in broken Derija the events of the day. I could feel a little ball forming in my throat as I spoke, but Samira stared at me calmly, waiting patiently to see what I would say without responding alarmingly. I got my message across and Samira assured me that I would never have to go back there. I felt supported, protected...and warm. We had dinner like normal, and I tried to explain to them the connotative differences between the words “house” and “home.”
- “I’m not explaining this well,” I said to Samira.
- “No – I understand,” she assured me, and she put her hand lightly on mine to emphasize the point.
I think people are the same the world over. Some are good, and some are bad, and we should just count ourselves lucky to find the good ones. It's such an incredible feeling to know that despite the cultural or linguistic differences, you can count on someone when you are in distress.