Assassin: Peace Corps Edition

IMG_3507About 30 hours ago, I arrived at a small resort in the tourist town of Marrakesh.  Along with the other 94 members of the Staj of Love (Morocco 2013-2015), we are having our In-Service Training (IST).  Now that most of us are in our own apartments and starting to get used to life and work in own towns, we gather to discuss how far we have come.  More importantly, we discuss how we are going to utilize the next 22 months in site.

But our IST changed drastically about six hours ago.  One of the younger volunteers organized a game of Assassin.  Assassin is a game where everybody is given a target on a piece of paper.  In order to kill your target, you have to touch them with a weapon without anyone witnessing the murder.  For us, the murder weapon can be either a spoon or a sock.  Several dozen volunteers signed up.  At noon, the game commenced.

This game has turned into a fascinating psychological experiment.

At noon, anyone in the game gained an intense sense of distrust.  Anyone could have their name.  People starting going to the bathroom in pairs—unsure if they could even trust their friends.  Walking alone makes it impossible for anyone to “witness” you murder and make it invalid.  The thing is: how do you trust the person you travel around with?

Only half an hour into the game, I saw the aftermath of a murder.  It took place in front of all 94 volunteers at the end of a training session.  It was so subtle that no one could claim to witness it.  The dead assassin handed her target over to her murder.  About ten minutes later, that same assassin made an attempt on my life—by getting me to pick up her pen.  Luckily someone witnessed the attempt on my life—rendering it invalid.  Only ten minutes later, the person who saved my life was killed in front of me.  I would be dead within minutes as well.

This game pulls you in.  You watch your friends fall like flies around you.  All the while, you are watching your own back.  The thing is, none of that can matter.  You have to focus on getting your next target.  This game has only been going on six hours and we are already down to about a dozen assassins.  This game will likely be over before midnight.

Ever since I was killed, it has been fascinating watching the people who have taken this game seriously.  My assassin has gone on to kill again—and has done it well.  Others take the laid back approach; one convinced his friend he was not playing the game and waited till they were alone to take him out.  There have been some very public deaths.  There have been some very private deaths.  The final assassins are all very good at what they do.

I hope it end soon, though.  I’m ready for Round Two.

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