|By Louis E. Adams (ws-esr2-74-215-42-168.fuse.net - 188.8.131.52) on Saturday, May 10, 2008 - 11:17 am: Edit Post|
Just as the song “As time goes by…” and Rick’ s Café from the movie Casablanca remains deep-seated in our memory bank, time has passed by for some former Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCV), and it has produced some major changes since the 1960s. In other less well known towns in Morocco such as Boumaline, Efoud, El Jadidia, Meknes, Ouarazazate, Fes, Ksara Souk, and Zagora the veil is dropping and most young women wear western style clothing and adorn themselves with pierced rings inserted into every conceivable part of their visible anatomy. All of these changes were recently witness by the 10 former Peace Corps Volunteers (Morocco I), their spouses, and one former Staff Member who returned for a two-week visit of their old duty stations, and to attend a Peace Corps Reunion in Rabat after 45 years.
Rick’s Café is in fact now in Casablanca and the interior is similar to the old movie set; dinner and drink prices are too expensive compared to other good restaurants nearby. Major cities like Rabat, Casablanca and Marrakesh have become cosmopolitan centers with hotels and restaurants on par to Paris, New York, Los Angles or Chicago. Tangier is still an international city and remains a special place for the jet set, modern-day beatniks, and panhandlers.
The Peace Corps Reunion was hosted on 21 April 2008 in Rabat by Morocco Peace Corps Director Bruce Cohen and many of the current Volunteers stationed throughout Morocco. United States Ambassador Thomas T. Riley gave the welcoming address and attended the luncheon. Morocco was one of the first countries to invite the Peace Corps to assist in its development needs, and Morocco I was the first group of Peace Corps Volunteers assigned to Morocco in January 1963-65. The original group consisted of 53 young, idealistic volunteers who were trained at Cal Poly as language teachers, land surveyors and water irrigation experts. They were “ready to change the world,” and they took great pride in taking on "the toughest job you'll ever love."
The RPCVs included the following:
1). Andy Anderson (MN). Irrigationist & Lab Tech. Rich & Rabat.
2). Jerry David (NC). Surveyor. Dar Ben Hceine & Laroche.
3). Ellen George (NY). Teacher. Marrakech & El Jadida,
4). Richard Harris (OH). Irrigationist. Marrakech & Ksara Souk.
5). Martha (Horsley) Hanrott. (DC). Teacher. Casablanca
6). Loretto Maldonado (FL). Teacher & Med Asst.
7). Alex Miller (GA). Irrigationist & Lab Tech. Boumaine, Ouarzazate & Rabat.
8). Lew Nash (OR). Teacher. Meknes & Fes.
9). Ann (Lynn) Puddu (NY). Teacher. Tangier.
10). Charlotte Thorp (NY). Teacher. Marrakech.
For the history students, Moroccan towns like Kenitra (Port Lyautey), Mohammedia, Media Beach, and Safi also remain ever etch in the minds of our older military troops who landed on these Moroccan beaches with Major General George Patton during “Operation Torch” and the Anglo-American invasion of French North Africa in World War II on 8 November 1942.
Louis E. Adams, Professor Emeritus from the U. of Cincinnati, was the former Peace Corps Staff Member who attended the Reunion. He helped train some of these Volunteers; and, he was later in-charge of the Medical Technologist Morocco IV and VI programs in Morocco (1964-66).