In Morocco, you cannot escape tea.
“l-brd! l-brd! (The cold! The cold!)”
That’s what my permanent site host mom would say every time I would leave the house. She said it with good reason: the temperature of the five days I visited my permanent site reached the mid-70s, but once the sun fell, it dropped to low 40s, courtesy of the desert climate.
So I bundled in my thermal long underwear, jeans, and Columbia Omni-heat jacket and rode my bike into town. I always found myself sweating by the time I arrived.
Back in my training site of Tiflet, the weather has changed. It now plummets to the low 40s every night. Both here and my permanent site, as well as throughout Morocco, the homes don’t have central heating. Unless the family owns a space heater, the only way to get warm is to pile blanket after blanket on top of you. That’s what I do every night.
There’s a widespread notion/superstition/belief among Moroccans that l-brd causes sickness, which explains my Mama Khadija’s insistence on me wearing a jacket and Mama Hadda’s insistence on me taking another blanket to my room. This came up in conversation a few weeks ago with Majid, my LCF, while we were sitting at a cafe. I and another PCT tried to explain that the cold weather itself does not cause sickness. It only makes your body more susceptible to sickness.
Majid is very open to science and progressive views. He said he can see how the cold lowers your immune system, but still he contended that the cold still causes sickness, even indirectly.
Technically, I suppose, we were both right on an objective level. And who am I to say his/Moroccans’ belief of l-brd is wrong? Who am I to say any belief is wrong?