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“Cramming for Midterms and Seeing the Holy See: Unexpected Ways to Learn an Important Skill” by Derek Denton

Salam readers,

The last two weeks has offered me extensively different experiences. If you recall, I signed off my last blog by mentioning that I needed to begin studying for midterms, which I was able to complete on Friday. Thankfully, right after exams were over my fall break began. I decided to enjoy the first weekend with a short visit to the world’s smallest country: Vatican City. These two radically different experiences- one of ardent studying and, the other of luxurious traveling- have both taught me an important skill: patience, especially while residing in a foreign land.

It is no exaggeration to say that learning Arabic is the most difficult challenge of my life thus far. I have minimal experience in studying foreign language, and unlike the French there is no significant overlap between English and Arabic. Furthermore, the non-language classes I am taking here on the history and politics on the Kingdom of Morocco were something I had little experience studying. So, when midterms encroached on me last week, it was a real challenge to ensure I was prepared. During this period, I had rehearsed short Arabic speeches and wrote several practice essays to study for the unprecedented academic challenge of the exams. And, needless to say, there were times when it felt too difficult. Every time I forgot a word critical to an Arabic sentence or left out an important historical figure’s name from a practice essay the challenge felt even more daunting.

Nonetheless, I responded to this by reminding myself that I should not expect the coursework to be easy. Studying abroad in Morocco was a new experience for me- a first for my college, in fact. I had to remember that I needed to be patient and persist at a steady pace. Going too quickly would get me done with the challenge faster, but would leave me with a half-hearted exam. Going too slowly would mean giving up, which was absolutely not an option. I had to remember that this was a new experience, in a new country, and that required the skill of patience.

The other experience from this last night, and the far more exciting one in my opinion, would be the short trip I had to Rome. I have wanted to visit Italy for quite some time (being a history buff and whatnot), and studying in a country relatively close to the boot-peninsula seemed to grant me the best opportunity to visit I would have for a long time. However, while my fall break spans a whopping week-and-a-half, the airline company that I found only flew to Rome on Saturdays and back to Rabat on Tuesdays- leaving me a very short window to see such a profoundly historical country. For this reason, I opted to spend my vacation in one of the two countries within Italy’s borders, the far smaller, but no less awe-inspiring, the Vatican City. I had charted my plan carefully, picking out a hotel literally next door to the Vatican’s walls and arranged for transportation to get there. If all would go according to plan, I would enjoy a majestic weekend in the home to the Holy See.

But, of course, things did not go as planned.
The weekend started off to an extremely rough start when my hotel, apparently, forgot that I was checking in. Due to the airline’s extremely narrow schedule, I would expected to arrive at my hotel at around midnight. I had previously informed the hotel this, and they agreed to keep a receptionist in late to accommodate me… And then I arrived to locked gates. I was without a place to sleep that night.

At first, I was (naturally) upset about this setback but, being angry would have not gotten me anywhere. Instead, I used this traumatic unfortunate event as a time to practice being patient. Similar to when I was preparing for my midterms, I observed the challenges before me: I needed a place to stay, and how that is affected by being in a country I had never been to before. I considered what I knew: The Vatican is a highly popular tourist destination, so finding a hotel on short-notice should be no problem. And so, I walked around the Vatican walls and made phone calls until I found a hotel. The crisis was averted and I was able to find a place to stay available for last-minute bookings..
From there, the vacation was fantastic. It also allowed me the opportunity to bring back an excellent assortment of photographs to share!
1. The Vatican Museum's Entrance is Notably Ominous at Midnight The Vatican Museum’s Entrance is Notably Ominous at Midnight.

2. My first view of the Saint Peter's Basilica, also known as the Pope's Church.My first view of the Saint Peter’s Basilica, also known as the Pope’s Church.

3. Rome is particularly famous for its assortment of fountains! There are about 1,500 of these marvellously-sculpted drinking water springs thRome is particularly famous for its assortment of fountains! There are about 1,500 of these marvelously-sculpted drinking water springs throughout the Eternal City.

4. If its interior is anything like its exterior, Saint Antonio's Castle is a landmark I will regret not exploring.If its interior is anything like its exterior, Saint Angelo’s Castle is a landmark I will regret not exploring.

5. Behold- the 'forboding' border between Italy and the Vatican.Behold- the ‘foreboding’ border between Italy and the Vatican.

6. On Saturday, I visited the National Roman Museum, dedicating to preserving relics of the Roman Empire. Here is a statue of a depiction of tOn Saturday, I visited the National Roman Museum, dedicating to preserving relics of the Roman Empire. Here is a statue of a depiction of the Greek terror, Medusa.

7. On a funny note- I don't drink alcohol, so the next-best option to tasting Italian wine was this fine Italian grape juice. Aged to perfectiOn a funny note- I don’t drink alcohol, so the next-best option to tasting Italian wine was this fine Italian grape juice. Aged to perfection.

8. And finally, we have here the Holy See of Saint Peter's Church. The figurative throne of the Pope above one of the many altars. For size sAnd finally, we have here the Holy See of Saint Peter’s Church. The figurative throne of the Pope above one of the many altars. For size scale- each of those letters above are eight feet tall.

When I considered what I would learn in Morocco and the Vatican, I had expected to bring back home a knowledge of a new language and an expanded understanding of foreign culture, but I would not have thought that these travels and trials would have help me build these oft-forgotten skills like patience. It’s just another reason why this trip is a once-in-a-life-time opportunity, I suppose!

See you in another fortnight, readers!
-Eli

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“Fresh Air and Fresh Perspectives” by Allison Brady

When we first arrived in Morocco, our orientation included a warning that all study abroad students will go through many different stages of emotion in their relationship to their new host country.  These involve honeymoon periods in which everything seems “shiny and new,” periods in which everything becomes overwhelming, and even periods of resentment due to the change and homesickness.  There’s no set rule of how these feelings progress, and some days I have experienced a little bit of each all in the same day. During the first few weeks, most of my time felt like the “honeymoon” stage.  I fell in love with Rabat and the people around me.  I still love Rabat and every part of my life here.  However, as the stress of midterms has crept up and combined with daily stressors of navigating a new culture, I have admittedly experienced a higher percentage of the latter emotions lately.

Sometimes in Morocco, I feel exactly like the girl pictured here:

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Rabat may be smaller than cities like Casablanca or Marrakesh, but it shares the same loud character, busy, crowded streets, and fast pace. This is not necessarily a bad thing!  I often love feeling swept up in the bustle, noise, and movement of people going about their lives.  What might seem like “chaos” or “disorder” to someone accustomed to tamer Midwest city avenues can also feel exciting and full of vibrant life. However, it also makes going out and about an event that requires me to stay on my toes, whether it is to avoid being run over by wild traffic, or to mentally steel myself against street harassment.

To me, the biggest change in perception living here has been of feeling comfortable in the busyness and noise of a bustling city, to then having the need to be alert to urban realities grow tiring.  So, I took a break from them!  Even though it was the weekend before midterms, I decided I needed a daytrip out of the city.  I went to the beautiful and calm seafront village of Asilah. I spent the 3-4 hour train ride studying and watching the landscape change from Rabat, to desert, to rolling hills of the Mid-Atlas until we reached the coast again further north.  I then spent the day strolling through pristine and art-covered walls of Asilah’s gorgeous old medina, and sank my feet into the sand and ocean water to breath in the fresh wind.

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It was a good reminder that my frustrations were not truly with “Morocco”: this experience was part of Morocco too! I also thought about how it would be if I lived in a smaller, subdued town like Asilah. After just a few hours, I felt like I had seen most of it.  I was constantly bemused at how empty and devoid of life the streets seemed in comparison to the rambunctious crowds of Rabat’s old medina. I am glad that Morocco contains so much to explore and so many different kinds of places to experience, and I came back to Rabat ready to rejoin the throngs of locals also experiencing the many joys and risks of city life.  Now, I am about to leave again; this time, for Italy for Fall Break. I am excited to again get some outside perspective from Morocco, but I am equally eager to return to the people and places that are my crazy beautiful home

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“Immersion Into Arabic and My Unexpected Learning Opportunity.” by Derek Denton

Salam readers!

In the last two weeks, I have been making some great progress with my Arabic studies…
…And by that, I mean I have started realizing just how many mistakes I have made.

While that may sound relatively crude, I consider it to be a nice reflection on the amount of progress I have made thus far. This semester has been vastly different from any other from my college experience (and probably the entirety of my academic career) thus far. In comparison to previous courses I have taken, including my French classes in high school, these Arabic classes have had a more profound impact. This is not because of actual classwork of any kind, but rather because I have been immersed in my study topic at an unprecedented level.

At the beginning of the semester, I came to Morocco with only a handful of Arabic words, largely ones that I had taught myself, and what French vocabulary I could recall from high school. I was excited and ready to learn the language that I find so important. The Arabic language and the Moroccan, “Darija,” dialect would not be easy to learn. When considering I had never studied it formally, nor was I fluent in any language besides English (in fact, I am the only member of my class to not be included in either of those categories), the feat became especially intimidating.  But in the most recent fortnight, I had experienced an unusual turn of events: one that started exceedingly unfortunate, but actually turned out to be an excellent learning experience: I got sick.

At some point during my trip to Zawiya Ahansal last month, I contracted Bronchitis. Coughing up a storm, I talked myself into seeing a doctor who prescribed me a few medications and bed rest. I then spent the next three days in bed, much to my dismay. Because of this affliction, I was not able to attend a highly-anticipated field trip to a women’s rights organization headquarters in Rabat. Needless to say, I was quite distraught that I was ill.

As it turned out, while my chest was healing, my Arabic knowledge was expanding. Spending a few days cooped up in the house did me good. In addition to offering me some quiet time to review my notes, being ill gave me the opportunity to learn some vocabulary that I probably wouldn’t have covered in any Arabic class. If I had not been prescribed my antibiotic, I may not had learned the word for medicine (“Dwa”). If I had not had coughed a fit deep into the night, I probably would not have had my host-brother, Amin, get me out of bed to give me a spoonful of honey to soothe my throat allowing me to learn the word for it (“EsSell”). And if I had not been making frequent trips to the bathroom for more tissues, odds are I would not had learned to say to my host mother “No, I did not vomit.” (“La, anna ma’tQeyet’sh”)

I do not think I have ever had an educational opportunity quite so immersive before coming to Morocco. Trying to learn Arabic is a significant challenge, of course. But it does not feel intimidating anymore. It takes a lot of patience, trial-and-error, and notes, but it’s fun. If I was given the opportunity to stay for another semester in Morocco to further immerse myself in an Arabic-speaking life, I would probably accept it. When I compare my Arabic-learning experience to my French-learning one in high school, I can say with confidence that immersion can be the factor that separates victory and failure in acquiring a language. Everything is an opportunity to become bilingual- from taking a cab, to ordering at McDonald’s, and, yes, getting sick.

Here are some photos from the last night:

After I had finished my antibiotic, I enjoyed a small celebration at dinner with my family. By far my favorite dish here, spicy Moroccan past

After I had finished my antibiotic, I enjoyed a small celebration at dinner with my family. By far my favorite dish here, spicy Moroccan past

I owe a lot to this beautiful city. Without coming here, there's no way my Arabic would be as strong as it is now.

I owe a lot to this beautiful city. Without coming here, there’s no way my Arabic would be as strong as it is now.

Next week my education will be put to the test. I cannot believe it has finally come, but I have my final exams. The moment I hit the “submit” button below, I am jumping into my studies. Once again, I don’t feel intimidated. I think living with my host family and exploring Rabat have strengthened my Arabic vocabulary enough that I will do quite well.
After this, I’ll be off on Fall break. I’m planning on visiting the Vatican.

I look forward to reporting it all to you next time!

-Eli

 

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“Successfully Adapting to Moroccan Life” by Allison Brady

In my time abroad, I have found that the small and seemingly insignificant disappointments add up to make the biggest impact.  Little differences like availability of groceries or products, while expected, can turn into nagging frustrations if I let them.  For instance, I have spent the better part of my grocery-shopping time scouring aisles for pre-prepared lunch or snack items with more protein.  As an almost daily runner and a lazy cook, I am used to my favorite filling groceries back home: Greek yogurt, deli meats, tofu, and any number of soy-packed products marketed to the protein-obsessed American like me.  Here, these items are either virtually nonexistent or sold only at high prices and in tiny quantities.  Another disappointment has been the search for favorite cosmetic and personal care products.   I wasted an embarrassing number of shampoo and conditioner bottles before finally finding an available brand that satisfied my vanity, and numerous visits to nearby supermarches and even pharmacies have still left me empty-handed for a couple items.

Obviously, each of these are silly little “disappointments.”  Still, the overall feeling of never knowing where to find a previously taken-for-granted part of life can become exhausting after a while.  Slowly, however, I am learning to adapt.  I have learned the brand of yogurt with the most protein to snack on, and though it is sold in smaller sizes that I am used to, I admittedly prefer the flavor to even my favorite brands from home.  I’ve learned that my favorite hanoot sells fresh hard-boiled eggs and little laughing cow cheeses individually, which make a great and filling lunch when combined with the always abundant Moroccan Khubz.  I also have new favorite Moroccan snacks, like addicting local chip brands, or fresh fruit and juice available at practically every street corner.  This weekend, I got a little confidence boost from assisting a couple English-speaking tourists to determine the price of some fruit at one of these stands.

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A street corner fruit juice stand in Casablanca

I’ve learned new beauty routines, like going to the hammam for full-body exfoliation in these famous Moroccan public bath houses.  In the old medina, I have learned to bargain for little unique items like $5 “Ray Bans” sunglasses or $1 “Kylie” lipsticks.  They may not be authentic to the brand names on their labels, but they are authentically Moroccan!

These successes in adapting to life here may seem as trivial as the disappointments, but an increasing confidence in the small daily routines that make up life really makes me feel relaxed and at home here.  This weekend, I decided to lean into this feeling by staying in Rabat and relaxing in my favorite places with a friend.  We wandered through the old medina, walked along the ocean, and enjoyed the end of the day at the Kasbah Oudayas.  At this last stop, I pulled out some of my “insider” knowledge to go watch the sunset at the Kasbah terrace overlook.  As I had learned my very first night, technically the overlook closes at seven, but in Moroccan fashion after a chat with the friendly guard he offered us ten minutes to take some pictures.

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Pictures at the Kasbah with my friend, Jessica

As I continue my time here, my goal is to keep in mind that disappointment occurs when I feel frustrated that Morocco is not America, but that my greatest success is to let it become home anyway.

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“Outside Rabat and the Return ‘Home'” by Allison Brady

This past week, we had our first official program excursion spanning Wednesday to Sunday.  As I traveled from Rabat to the tiny town of Zawia Ahansal, to its inverse in the busy city of Marrakech, and finally back “home,” I noticed how different it felt to be a tourist in these new sites versus the familiarity I had unconsciously developed in Rabat.  Back in Rabat, I am definitely not a true “insider.”  I stand out on every street, can communicate in mixed French and Arabic but only with evident effort, and lack the wide network of friends and family that makes me feel like an insider in my United States homes.  However, the contrast of travelling to returning made me realize how quickly I have become an insider at least to the small home that I have found here in Rabat.

Coming back to my host flat every day really does feel like coming home.  I love greeting my family with a “La-bes? B-Khir? Alhumdullilah.”  After our half-week trip, I missed my favorite dishes from my host mother, our favorite nightly television dramas, and the comfortable and loving family dynamic.  I have the automated tramway stops I pass each commute memorized by heart, in both  Arabic and French (one following the other).  I alternate between a couple of my favorite local hanoots, corner stores that offer little lunch or snack items as well as a familiar face and an opportunity to practice Darija small talk.

I am beginning to find my own places and spaces within my Moroccan life.  I have a general routine.  I have a wonderful Moroccan friend in my language partner, Lamyae, who is doubling as a personal trainer since I have joined her gym and we go together to lift for a few hours each week.  She also shows me around her favorite places, and we chat in English and Arabic.  She lives in the neighboring Salae–which is where we go to work out–and afterwards we eat a snack or meal together on the calm Salae side of the Bou Regreg river marina.  This week, I am beginning English-teaching volunteering at a nearby organization that assists refugees and migrants hoping to be resettled through UNHCR.  I will have the opportunity to meet my students and get to know another unique community in the area.

By contrast, my experience in Zawia Ahansal felt more purely as an outsider.  We were so lucky to spend three days in this beautiful village in the High Atlas Mountains, and welcomed with enthusiastic hospitality by the Sheikh (town leader) and his family.  We learned some of the town’s history and religious significance, explored its rocky topography, and met local children when spending a morning volunteering at a nearby school.  Our last night, we were offered traditional dresses and kaftans to try while we danced with a local Amazigh music band.  The experience was incredible, but it always felt like an outsider experience.  We were short-term guests.  Every experience was completely new and unfamiliar, including the language.  Tamizeagh is spoken by the local residents, sometimes in addition to a range of Darija and French.  We learned a few simple words, but I have already forgotten most now that I am back in Fusha and Darija classes.

Zawia Ahansal

Zawia Ahansal

Next, in Marrakech, in some ways I “fit in” even more than in Rabat.  Marrakech is Morocco’s biggest tourism draw, both for foreigners and Moroccans alike.  English (along with practically every language imaginable) was spoken in every space I visited, from the hotel to the famous bustling Jemmaa El-Fna square to the Medinaa.  In Rabat, I am used to wearing jeans and a semi-casual T-Shirt (essentially exactly what I would wear back home, though shorts or spaghetti straps on hot days are not appropriate off the beach or outside the house), which I traded for very flowy pants, a long-sleeved tunic, and scarf-shawl in Zawia Ahansal.  However, in Marrakech, we were advised that given the infamous heat and the swarms of other tourists, we would still fit right in if wearing shorts or less-covering tops.

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Jemmaa El-Fna Square at night

Jemmaa El-Fna Square at night and a friend and I in front of Koutoubia Tower while exploring

My friend and I in front of Koutoubia Tower while exploring Marrakech

I loved the experience of travelling to these fantastic places, so different from Rabat and from each other, and I am already researching what city or region I want to visit next.  However, I feel a deep appreciation for the comfort of my Rabat home and everyone in it.  The possibility of travel comes with every weekend, but I am just as excited to continue to discover a sense of home right here.

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“Our Class Excursion To Zawiya Ahansal” by Derek Denton

Hello again readers!
To call this last week a busy one would be the understatement of the century. My classmates and I just had our first excursion out of Rabat, which has been a whirlwind of adventure. We had the opportunity to visit an Amazigh village in the mountains of Morocco called “Zawiya Ahansal.” A settlement dated over 700 years old, the people of this town offered my friends and I a warm welcome as we were hosted in the guesthouse of the Sheikh (a village elder and governor). When I was on our way, I truthfully did not know what to expect. I have visited villages and settlements before, but I don’t think I have ever been somewhere quite as beautiful as Zawiya Ahansal was.
Our bus ride was brutally exhausting. Eight hours on the road where I was constantly shifting from fatigue to discomfort was absolutely draining. The discomfort is particularly unfortunate because it spoils what is otherwise a great chance to view the Moroccan countryside. I cannot speak for all of them, but I think my classmates share my opinion that the ride was rougher than we expected. However, it was near the end of our journey did it seem to become worthwhile. When we entered the mountains, the landscape became something that drew my attention and purged my anxieties. This is what we saw when we looked out our windows.And then we actually got within view of the village.

We arrived at sundown, and I’m thankful it wasn’t any later. Pulling up at that minute gave us the perfect opportunity to view the sunset over the mountains of Zawiya. Any later and it would have been too dark to realize the beauty of the landscape of where we were residing.


The architecture of this village complimented the environment wonderfully. The next morning we went on our first hike. An interesting note about the environment of Zawiya is that it seems that the village experiences every season in one day. I left the guesthouse at sunrise wearing a heavy jacket (for its useful pockets) and a long sleeve shirt and expected to overheat. Fifteen minutes later, I was… Then fifteen minutes after that, it was chilly enough I was thankful I wore it. Fifteen minutes after that… Etc.

Zawiya is the first vertical village I have ever been to. Built into the side of the mountain, we had to walk up and down to get from building to building. Running through Zawiya, and into other villages, is a river that acts as a lifeblood of the village. At its mouth exists this interesting mythical spring where it is believed that women may drink from its water to earn good luck in finding a husband.  A lot of the people in the village live as subsistence miners. The mountains are rich in resources, including raw clay. The villagers extract this clay and use it to reinforce their homes’ structure.
This picture here is a great opportunity to see the size of the mountainside. Our guides explained to us an interesting development in recent events that involve these mountains: in addition to offering clay, the mountains are rich with metals like lead that mining companies are seeking to harvest. There has actually been some debate over opening the mines, citing environmental concerns.

On the final night of our stay in Zawiya, our hosts surprised my class by inviting us to a traditional Amazigh feast and party. It was an honor to be invited, of course, but being offered this traditional dress made it an unforgettable experience. A party-goer yelled as I walked out in this robe “now you are a Sheikh”. I don’t think I’ve ever received a greater compliment on my attire than that. After the festivities had concluded, I was certain to thank the real Sheikh for hosting us. A kind and informed man, I learned quite a bit about his role in administrating Zawiya Ahansal from him.

thank the Sheikh
I don’t think I’ve ever hiked quite so much in my life. But for all the physical exhaustion we endured, it was made up for by the unforgettable experiences that we had. This included what we had the opportunity to do on our last day in the village: assist in teaching English in a local school.  This was a fun, but challenging experience. My partner and I opted to teach the local children English body parts by a game of Simon Says, but before that, we had to go through a crash-course of the one of the dialects of the Amazigh language called Tamizeagh. Speaking some basic phrases helped our students understand us better, and I hope we were both fun and informative teachers for our short stay.
And so that my readers can share in this adventure, I have included a list of a few phrases we learned!
Hello: Azool.
My name is…: Isminu…
Thank you: Saha.
Where are you from?: Mani zigtigeed?
I am American!:Nkeen Merikan.
Yes = Eeeh.
No = Oho

I didn’t exactly have a strong command over the language, being limited to about seven phrases, but I like to think body language and prolific usage of “Saha” allowed me to convey our lessons.
We departed Zawiya on Saturday, and left for a short, one-night-stay, in the city of tourists: Marrakech. While I am certain my classmates had an excellent time exploring the city, I- regretfully- did not. Somehow during my time in Zawiya, I contracted bronchitis- leaving me bedridden in the hotel. It was nothing to mourn over, however, I was thankful my illness did not come during the stay in the village, and that exhausting week of hikes, dancing, and teaching left me in tremendous need for some R&R.

Saha for reading!

-Eli

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“Building Perceptions and a Home in Morocco” by Elizabeth Beaton

Salaam!

Over the past month I have been confronting the expectations I formed about Morocco pre-departure. Before coming to Morocco I made a conscious effort to try not to fantasize about what my experience would be like. I didn’t want to make conclusions relying solely on other people’s truths and experiences. I wanted to form my own perceptions and conclusions based off of my own lived experience and observations. In the past month, I have begun this process of building my own understanding of what Morocco is like. Yet, at the same time I find myself having to reconcile this new understanding with past subconscious expectations. Despite trying to avoid forming concrete expectations, wonderful stories told to me by family members, friends, and classmates about their experiences in Morocco in turn influenced my own vision of Morocco.

For example, pre-departure I imagined that Morocco would have delicious tagine, palm trees, and a hot climate. These expectations are certainly simplistic and my life here is so much more varied and multi-dimensional. I live in Rabat, the capital of Morocco, and spend most of my time in the city. As a result, a lot of my new observations revolve around city life. I have been surprised by how many little blue taxis race down city streets and how crowded the tram can become. I knew there would be palm trees, but didn’t realize there would be so much cactus along the sidewalk. I was aware of the legacy of French colonialism in Morocco. Yet, it is only after living here that I understand how French is still so intertwined with Moroccan life both in bureaucracy and in social life. Private schools teach some subjects in French and store owners often speak to me in French. A lot of my learning about Morocco follows the similar pattern of, I knew this aspect, but didn’t realize the full implications of the issue. The reality is that Morocco is much more nuanced and is not fully captured by generalizations.

This past week, village mountain life became a part of my understanding of Morocco. I participated in an AMIDEAST organized excursion to Zawiya Ahansal in the central high Atlas Mountains. Zawiya Ahansal is a rural mountainous area made up of four villages situated along a river. It is also one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. There are rocky paths tracing the mountain sides looking down upon lush farm land supported by an irrigation system fed by spring water. 600 year old restored granaries look out on the setting sun and at night the Milky Way paints the sky with light. Now when I envision Morocco, I will remember this special place. I also now know about challenges in Zawiya Ahansal. NGOs like Atlas Cultural Foundation and Association Amezray Smnid tackle community issues like clean water access, public education access, bus stops, and public health knowledge etc. These challenges, along with the beauty of the area are now part of my understanding of Morocco as a whole. The most surprising element of my time in Morocco is how at home I felt in the mountains.

village viewroof view of sun and mountainsOn the last night in Zawiya Ahansal, I sat down on the roof of the house where we were staying and just looked in complete awe at the world around me. In that moment I tried to etch the view, the sun’s colors, and the feeling of peace into my memory. I am hopeful that I will find a similar sense of belonging in Rabat.

Until next time!

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