There's a land that I see where the children are free
And I say it ain't far to this land from where we are
Take my hand, come with me
Where the children are free
Come with me take my hand and we'll live
In a land where the river runs free,
In a land through the green country
In a land to a shining sea
And you and me are free to be....evacuees.
That's how that song from the 70's went, right?
Let me recap the events of the last week and a half in Africa news. First, all the Peace Corps Volunteers in Niger were evacuated because of the kidnap and murder of two French citizens there which was claimed by al-Qaida. Within 24 hours, 98 volunteers left their villages, projects, friends and animals in Niger and were sent here to Rabat, Morocco. They all arrived here safe and got busy consoling each other (I've heard that's what the young kids call it nowadays.) It's over a week later and most volunteers have already returned home to the states to return to regular life or await reassignment within the Corps to another bug infested country. Believe it or not, there are people who couldn't get enough parasites, diarrhea, living in poverty and evacuating the first go round and want another turn to do it all over again. Or maybe it was the consoling.
Meanwhile in Tunisia, peaceful demonstrations about unemployment and corruption suddenly turned violent and tanks lined the streets, bullets flew, fires were set. And while the president of Tunisia fled to Saudi Arabia, there wasn't a mandatory evacuation of Americans. But, US embassy families were offered the option to be evacuated to, you guessed it, Rabat while things quieted down or until there was a more imminent threat and evacuations would be mandatory. Now those families who didn't mind the tanks, tear-gas and political upheaval were allowed to stay and some did. You know how when there is a category 5 hurricane and your Uncle Jed is determined to ride it out in his double wide trailer? We Americans do like to exercise our First Amendment right to tenacity. That is the first right, right? Now that I think about it, maybe Uncle Jed was on to something. Being evacuated, staying in a hotel room with your kids with no toys and no school for an undetermined amount of time? Violence does start at home after all.
The Moroccan Embassy started preparing for the Tunisian Evacuees. This is how I came to meet my evacuee, let's just call her Jennifer for anonymity's sake (and because she was born in the 70's, and there's an overwhelming possibility that her name actually is Jennifer.) The two best cruise directors at the embassy, Janice and Bobbie (yes, better than Julie McCoy and with much better hair) furiously planned activities and paired American families in Morocco with evacuee families. So Jenny (yes, we're on a nick-name basis now), has 3 kids that fit right in my kids ages. At first glance you would figure that's why they matched us up. But now I'm not so sure.
It didn't take long to discover that we're very much alike, cause Jenny and I are quick like that. We're both sarcastic and laid back. Our temperament is the same, we like the same kind of music, have the same sense of humor, the same ideas on raising our kids and for God's sake we're both Political Science majors. Really who else would major in something so completely and utterly useless? Oh my god, she's my freakin' twin! (Except that we aren't the same age or born in the same city or have the same mom or in anyway actually related....that I know of.) So I'm thinking the Embassy has secret files on us and devised an intricate plan for us to meet and discover that we really are the wonder twins. Wait would I take the form of water or would she? So maybe that's farfetched. But I figure it's either that or somebody at the embassy should change their career to matchmaker. And they could have a show and call it like The Dating Game or something like that and make a butt load of money.
For now, Jenny and kids are still here in Morocco awaiting word from the embassy on whether than can return to Tunisia or get sent back to the states. I'm going to miss them when they go, but maybe we can see each other now and again. I did just buy those tickets to go to Egypt (again) and yu know with all the turbulence there right now maybe we'll get evacuated Tunisia. (That is if they even let us into Egypt this time.) It could happen. Or Jenny and I could get some purple tights and save the world with our useless political science degrees. Which is probably more likely...
For more about Peace Corps Volunteers you can read my post Feed the World.
And for the skinny on why we were held captive in the Cairo airport you can peruse my post Cairo (uh-oh).