Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Work, Work, Work
When I was living in San Francisco, it was becoming increasingly difficult to find work. During my last couple of years there, I came to grips with the fact that I was just getting too old to be hired by others. So, I planned and started my own business. But it was tough going and I didn’t have enough capital to maintain it after a year. Of course, locating my shop in a flood zone and getting hit with 4 feet of flood water the very first week I moved in didn’t help matters.
But here in Fes, employment opportunities are a different matter and my age seems to be a plus rather than a detriment.
At any given time I seem to have 4 jobs going. There is my full-time ESL teaching job and there is the job of restoring my house. Of course the latter doesn’t pay yet, but one day, Insha’Allah, I will be in a position to rent it out to visitors. Then there are my belly dance classes. These are sporadic but fun to do. I have the idea to teach some young Moroccan women some Egyptian dance technique along with a choreography or two which they can then perform for hire at riads. I have two young ladies who have expressed interest and I hope to put a show together with them. The idea is to act as their ‘booking agent’ and reimburse myself for the investment of time and energy as the jobs come in. I have also taken on the job of editor for Café Clock Online. I write 1-2 articles a day about the personalities that come and go through this popular eatery.
Occasionally, I coach Moroccans who are seeking a visa to the U.S. and are about to have their interview at the American Consulate. I help them to formulate and articulate their answers to the questions they will be asked. I’ve only done this twice but I’m batting 1,000. Both applicants got their visas! I’ve done marketing communication projects, written an operations manual for a new business and, like most women, I am the unpaid housekeeper who makes the beds, washes the dishes and cleans the house from top to bottom.
I find it very odd to have so much work available to me while most Moroccans I know are struggling to find one job. But then again, I have a great deal of work experience and life experience that I bring with me and it’s gratifying to find a market for my skills. I work very hard and get up early each day to support myself, my husband, my house and the car. Sometimes I get weary, but I always remind myself I’d rather be tired from working then bored and listless from having no sense of purpose.
I feel valued for my experience and skills. Something I was losing in the U.S. And while I barely make ends meet --- even with all the work I do, I am not in debt and I live within my means. I am wearing the same clothes I’ve worn for years and washing those clothes by hand but I do know where my next paycheck is coming from and I never go hungry.
Little by little, I am creating a fantastic home and preserving the traditional style that makes it so impressive. I am teaching the next generation of Moroccans to speak English and improve their chances of finding gainful employment. I’m teaching others how to express themselves through Arabic dance. And, I am finding a wider audience to speak about the draw of Fes as I write for yet another blog.
I never imagined I would find such a venue for the potpourri of skills I have gathered throughout my lifetime. I’ve walked through the looking glass and found another world.
Posted by Water Dragon at 2:12 AM