Friday, January 16, 2009

Updated map

Here is the actual route of our travels; it differed a little from our planned route by going further south into Morocco and to a few other places in Spain on the way back to Madrid.

Again, thanks to my techno-savvy brother.

Click here for larger, interactive map.

The 225 word summary

My goal was 200 words, but this is pretty close.

Our trip was more like living overseas for 3 1/2 months (107 days). We were able to experience cultures and languages much more deeply because of the length of time and being in people' s homes. We started to forget English!

Often we were hungry, tired, lost, lonely, in need of money or couldn't speak the language(s), but God provided over and and over and over. At home we wouldn't have had nearly as many difficulties, but we wouldn't have seen God's creative ways of meeting our needs.

So often we were strangers, and the smallest kindness or help from someone would mean so much. I thank God for the kindness we received.

We discovered that we could live in another culture, even if it was very different than ours. Some myths were dispelled too. Are all Moroccans fundamentalists? Are all Spaniards stubborn regionalists? Are all French intellectual cynics? No, certainly not, for we have met people who are exceptions to all these stereotypes.

These were eye-opening experiences, and I am so grateful to have them, to remember them. I'd encourage you to go as well, maybe not to Europe and North Africa specifically, but somewhere a little uncomfortable and different where God can show you great things.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Merry Christmas from all of us

We, Patrick and Ivy that is, are back home. I assume Don and Sancho are still in Spain. We arrived back Tuesday night and are very glad to be back, 107 days later.

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Lot to Be Thankful For

We picked olives on Thanksgiving, at El Buen Samaritano, a drug rehabilitation center in Cordoba province. It was a beautiful day, a little cool, but very clear. We gathered a lot of olives and it was a lot of work, but I think harvesting is a good thing to do on Thanksgiving.

The center (click here for a link to their website) is self-sufficient, with a well, solar panels for electricity and hot water, a large brick oven/building for baking bread, and a greenhouse. There are about 1000 olive trees, and the olives are for oil. The approach is ecologico, or organic. The center is part of a co-op that processes the olives into oil.

We were at the center for four days; there were 8 Spanish residents (there for a year each) and a Dutch short term group (there for a week). And us, the two Americanos along for the ride, trying to interpret for the other two groups (!!). It was an interesting mix, but a very good experience. I felt that there had been a lot of pain and shame in the lives of these men, but that God was doing a healing and restoring work.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Cinema de Maroc

Several films have been made in Morocco. We saw two large film studios in Ouarzazate (Oz for short)

A short list of films:
Gladiator - in Oz
Kingdom of Heaven - in Oz
Lawrence of Arabia - in Oz
Black Hawk Down - in Rabat, (it didn't look that rough to me, but I guess I didn't go to where they filmed the movie, thank goodness)
Star Wars - in Tunisia, but it looks like it could have been filmed and inspired here. 

Strangely enough, Casablanca, arguably the most famous of all films involving Morocco, was filmed in Hollywood.

For more, check this wikipedia article out.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Road to Ouarzazate

That is pronounced "whar's it at" and this town, although pretty remote is in a beautiful place. The road from Marrakech was amazing, a tiny little 1 1/2 lane road with busses and donkey carts, deadly dropoffs, etc. It can be closed if it rains or snows too much. I think our bus stopped here, at this wide spot in the road. I bought some peanuts from two young guys named Essam and Ibrahim.

I've posted some pictures of Marrakech and Ouarzazate in the webalbums (link to the right). I liked this part of Morocco a lot.

It's where it at!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Exchange Rate

You pay attention to this sort of thing when you travel.

This as well.