Burping like a camel

Jeremy delivers this pronouncement solemnly, after looking around at me with surprise: “Mama, you’re burping like a camel.”
Camels have a remarkably resonant digestive system: we were all in giggles on our camel ride, listening to the sounds emerging from either end.

I have tried to keep quiet (!) on the topic of digestion, but in fact I’ve been variably ill since the week after we arrived: vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps that double me over in the daytime or wake me up at 3 a.m.  I’ve tried Smecta, a cocktail of Moroccan stomach-related prescriptions, Cipro, Zithromax, apple cider vinegar, Flagyl.  Nothing seems to work.  (In retrospect, I can say that it’ll take a total of four and a half months for my stomach to adapt to Maghrebi norms, and that I’ll spend the months of August through mid-December down 15 pounds and generally exhausted.)

All of this intensifies a certain mid-fall melancholy and homesickness.  The rest of the family (ironically, it seems to me) is doing fine, but I’ve had dreams of going home.  In one dream, we’re packing up to return to the States and I suddenly realize everyone else knew that we were always planning to return in November.  I’m the only one who thought we had to stick it out till June.  I wake, amused by the dream’s blatant wish-fulfilment.

Fortunately, the cedar forests around Ifrane are very beautiful, and I can counter the homesickness by taking a short walk each day in the Ras el Ma: the woods known as the head of the stream.

Even better, for the purposes of assuaging homesickness, is the creek that winds past the poplar grove on the back road to Azrou, a grove I suspect was planted by the French.  But the changing leaves answer my need for autumnal light and color.
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And the creek itself momentarily sates my craving for water.
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Unfortunately, after I had enthused about my woodland walks to some friends from the university, I was warned that a number of AUI faculty and students have been raped in the woods and that it’s not safe to walk there alone.


I’m glad I didn’t get that warning until I started feeling better.

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