We have a cafeteria at GWA that reaches new heights in etic imposition. They began requiring all students to use a thumb print today in order to eat. I'm told these machines are actually fairly cheap. I'm not sure what this will mean to constant thumbs being swiped over and over again on the same spot. Though I'm sure all the students regularly and consistently wash their hands with soap, it does make one wonder what the results of the GWA Pathogen Transference Study will be next year. Especially considering the recent study that indicate handles or anything regularly touched by humans contain 400x more bacteria than a toilet seat.
Because the cafeteria was able to save so much on these machines, and by paying the cafeteria workers the typical going wage in Morocco of around $200/month, they are able to spend a great deal more on beautification. While it might be thought that there were perhaps justice issues relating to salaries of workers who work 12 hour days with one 20 minute break, they do get paid the standard fare for Morocco. And though we have mostly upper middle class and upper class students attending GWA, and food costs on average 2 1/2 times as much as a typical eatery on the streets here, it would certainly be unreasonable to presume that the school had the wherewithal to provide for the workers to a greater extent, or that the administration had the power to change cafeteria policies. And lets be honest, part of that higher price for food goes into maintaining higher health standards then you get in the average street restaurant.
And some of that money has been spent on the aforementioned beautification. One would be hard-pressed to consider a more American theme, or at least one more stereotypically so. I know, Americans overseas should be considerate of the cultures they are in, and try to adapt to them and blend in, and work to counteract stereotypes, such as that we are all "cowboys". But we are an American school, and that is our primary goal- to fully be what we were created to be. And so the cafeteria theme, laid out in all it's ostentatiousness, is the American Cowboy- with constant signs to guide the way, in case one missed the point. This includes pictures of cowgirls with the mid-riff showing- yes, contrary to student dress code and actually probably too sexist for most American schools which are actually in America, but without it, the cowboy theme wouldn't really be complete, would it? There are even fancy wooden swinging bar doors and pretend wooden Most Wanted! posters. And so, without a nod to the Moroccan culture (for such is hardly necessary when you are surrounded by Morocco, at least behind the high walls of the school), without a doubt the most elaborate area of the school- and indeed in all ways to the superlative degree- is now the cafeteria.
At least, the part where the food is served. We still have birds flying around the eating area and leaving their comments behind for us to sit on and ruminate upon.