Salaam Morrocco!

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There were so many amazing things to say about this trip and feel I could only do it justice by having a real discussion about my experience, so for now I will try to say a little about what I enjoyed the most. First of all this was a trip with many new experiences such as traveling in a Muslim country and going to Africa. I  was so glad that I didn’t have to plan this trip and that there was a wonderful program that took care of all the arrangements. The best part about this program was that the focus was not on being tourist and visiting all the typical sites, but rather about connecting with the people of Morocco. This meant spending time with students, visiting non-profits, staying with a host family, and traveling to the countryside to talk the community. After only a few short days I feel as though I have a great understanding of Moroccan society thanks to the in-depth conversations we had with several diverse groups of people. Spending time with the students in the city allowed me to relate to people my own age and get an idea of how modern city life can be. I learned that girls don’t have to dress modestly at all if they don’t want to, they can have boy friends and travel and go to college and live very similar lives to myself. I also got to talk to several guys and learn about their values and ideas regarding women, homosexuality, education, democracy, and so much more. While in Rabat I also got to walk by the beach, go to the hammam, get henna and try on traditional clothes. Though I loved the city My favorite part of the trip was going into a small village and having lunch with a rural family. First of all there was a traditional meal of couscous which we ate just like an average family would, meaning only with our hands. We made a mess, but by the time we were finished we were all laughing and having a great time. The talk was the most informative out of all the others. We got to ask questions about religion, talk about women’s education, women working rather than being at home, we talked about the meaning of life and about their dreams and hopes for the future. More than anything it made me realize how similar everyone was and how though their lives may be vastly different than mine, we shared some of the same ideas. It made me questions some things I take to be as obvious truths. I was very lucky to have a very curious group of students with me and a very open family who was willing to answer any of our questions no matter how intimate or personal. Just when I thought the day couldn’t get any better, we decided to take a hike before we left the village. At the top of a hill we got to see what will remain to be one of the most breathtaking views I have ever seen in my life. There was a field of yellow daisies and a valley that stretched out bellow us. It seemed almost too perfect to be real. We spent some time just sitting and enjoying the view. The little boy from our family picked over two dozen flowers just for me. It was a moment that was perfect for reflecting how fortunate I am and what an amazing experience I was given to travel and learn about a different culture. Overall I came away with an understanding that Moroccan’s are some of the most friendly, loving and open people I have ever met. I am so grateful for their hospitality and friendship and look forward to going back and visiting again some day. I tried to upload pictures but I am still having trouble. Goodbye for now.

B

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