chapter  9
13 Pages

Life History and Voice: On Standpoints and Reflexivity

I have arrived in Tahala, Morocco after six weeks of Peace Corps language training. My house has no running water, sporadic electricity and a mob of children waiting outside my door to hear me mangle my beginner’s Arabic. I am as lonely as I have ever been in my young life and consider going home. I hear a knock on the door and hesitate; I fear it is the children trying to torment me. I open the metal door to find the man who will become my language tutor. He takes my hand and we walk up to the olive grove above town. I speak slowly and he nods as if I am fluent. “What do you want to say?” he asks. “What are you trying to say?”