With the sudden passing of Richard Holbrooke (who was Peace Corps director in Morocco from 1970 to 1972), we have not only lost one of America's top diplomats. We will also miss him when the Peace Corps marks its 50th anniversary of operations in Morocco, which will be held on Memorial Day 2012. I would have liked him to see the Cistern Chapel.
Well, if Ambassador Holbrooke or anyone else might have hesitated going down that steep ladder, I wouldn't blame them. Which is why the pictures in our "CC" post are so valuable. They sparked a flurry of emails from some of the returned Peace Corps volunteers who had a hand – literally – in decorating the Chapel. Here's what one co-conspirator recalled:
one of the PC staff – a pretty good artist – did some murals, and then one night we got a little crazy with the paint and started putting our hands and feet and other body parts in paint and decorating the walls. We did have some very enjoyable and not too wild parties in our own private disco, and we could make as much noise as we wanted and not bother anyone. I had no idea the paints we used would hold up under water all these years, that is the most amazing thing.
Since my pics from the previous post didn't do this vestige of 1970s Peace Corps history in Tangier proper justice, I'm including them below as my Christmas present to the Peace Corps alumni. Keep those anecdotes coming!
Text: Gerald Loftus; photos: Jay Nixon