Being in Morocco

A maze rich in authenticity and screaming tradition. Cobblestone streets buzzing with the sound of meat sizzling on a grill, hagglers working to make sales, and if your lucky, one of the five daily calls to prayer which seems to give new life to the already bustling city. Morocco. It is everything I imagined and more.

Tradition is what I love most about Morocco, but at the same time tradition is what makes it much harder for me to fit in with the locals. There is no hiding the blue eye, blonde haired girl walking up and down the winding medina, despite my traditional dress. I am four days in, however, and I have already managed to bargain down prices with the locals and call out their bluffs (respectfully of course) when they try to take my money. It is all part of the lifestyle, and I am here to understand and appreciate every aspect.

Zouhour: Childcare Center

I will forever remember ringing the doorbell to the preschool and hearing kids screaming “Teacher!” “Teacher!” Followed by a shower of hugs. I have come back to that memory everyday since then, as it is reminder of my love for the purest thing in this world—Kids. However, my volunteer position was a bit understated in the description and I was in for a large wake up call on day one: the “teachers” mainly spoke French and communicated directions in French to the kids. That would have not been the biggest deal if I did not assume the role of the kid’s teacher for 5 hours a day since my arrival. It is up to me to brainstorm lesson plans and teach the children English each day: a position I did not think I signed up for. Nevertheless, I have made so many memories, built on many past experiences with dance and my internship to help me with kids, and have truly enjoyed seeing the kids make huge strides in their language and overall development in just a few days.

Life in the Medina

With my volunteer experience, I am lucky enough to be able to walk through the most culture rich aspect of Morocco, the medina, everyday (4x a day at that). If it was not for my volunteer opportunity taking me through the winding alleyways, it is hard to say I would have built up enough confidence to venture into the medinas alone. Additionally, adventures outside of the medina are just as beautiful and enrichening: after work on Wednesday, I walked to Hassan Tower and enjoyed a dinner looking out into the Kasbahs of the Oudaya. A few nights were also spent sitting at the beach collecting the plethora of sea glass in the sand and listening to the water crash against the rocks—a little reminder of home even though a new world takes shape in front of my eyes.

Although my volunteer experience is more work than I originally expected, it is rewarding, and I still  have the time to do my own exploring. As I continue to venture in and outside the medina, I will find more and more places where I can enjoy both the culture, while completing my lesson plans for the next. My favorite spot so far is the grass on the outside of the Oudaya and the rooftop terrace in my Riad. There is so much more to see, and so little time to see it, so I am enjoying every moment.

Tomorrow I am off to Chefchaouen and I could not be more excited to see what the “Blue Pearl City” has in store for me.

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