The city of Rabat is hosting, from the 29th March to the 2nd April, the 5th edition of the festival 'Handifilm' , which is held this year under the motto "Art and Culture: Factors of Integration".
This event, initiated by the Festival Association Handifilm, includes film screenings, lectures, discussions between film directors and professionals, as well as people who are interested in the situation of disability.
My name is Yousef EL MIADI I am 23 years old. I was born and raised in Morocco, my beloved country for several reasons; indeed Morocco offered me a free schooling, from which I developed a strong personality full of love, peace and understanding ideas. I like cooking and reading, while I love sports "Surfing in particular". Recently I joined the Projects Abroad Morocco team. With whom I am so delighted so far, thanks to the atmosphere surrounding us, love as well as understanding. So welcom to our My Trip Blog page and hope you will enjoy it as I am enjoying my life in Morocco.
Tuesday's Get Together meeting was quite different: Terry, our college from the UK office was there!
He and the volunteers introduced themselves to each other. Food, tea, Moroccan cookies and pastries were part of the ambiance at the meeting. Dayna, Yoki and Taylor, our three volunteers were very sad because last Tuesday's meeting was their final with the other volunteers. We took some group photos, had some conversations, and finally shared some books to read for the week. Kerry, a British volunteer, lent me a 402 page book, which I will be reading everyday during my 45 minute train journey to work.
This is a car rally adventure and sports-women, set in the Moroccan desert, which is already in its 21st edition. Since 1990, several women aged 18 to 63 years from 33countries participated. Each year 70% of teams are in their first experiment.
Each team consists of 02 teammates. A driver and a navigator. This rally is open to anytype of land motor vehicle: 4x4, bike, quad, buggy, prototypes.
The objective of gazelles is to make a path defined by finding all checkpoints and with a minimum amount of miles. The test speed is not taken into account in the ranking. What is important is to earn a MINIMUM of kilometers. To do this, draw the Gazelles Every morning, their route on a map (they have in their possession only the geographical coordinates) and using only a compass and their map, they should follow the route at throughout the day.
Rally Aicha des Gazelles is held once a year and lasts 09 days (with a step half marathon lasting one and a half marathon and a stage for a period of 02 days). The rally's usually in March.
My name is Tracy and I am from Dallas, Texas. I go to school in California's Bay Area. I am a Spanish major and president of a club called Sistas which brings together and uplifts women who identify as African-American such as myself. I also dance and appreciate numerous types of rhythmic music.
In Fall 2009, I studied abroad in Seville, Spain and travelled to surrounding countries as well. I spent an invigorating week in Morocco, and found it hard to leave when the time came to go back to school in Spain. Everything I found interesting about Spanish culture, such as certain types of music, foods, and architecture were all Moroccan influences. I ended up loving Morocco more than Spain!
A year and a half later, I found myself back in Morocco. This time I wanted to be less of a shopping tourist and more of a student taking in the culture. When walking around in Rabat for the first time, I thought I would get lost in the old medina or hit by a car! I did not yet know Arabic and my French was basic, but those obstacles are what made my experience special. My host mom, Rabia loved to teach me different songs, and when a good song came on the TV my teenage host sisters and I couldn't help but to shake our hips. Although we did not speak the same language, Rabia and I understood even the most complex ideas that we exchanged with each other. She valued education especially for her children; needless to say, Rabia was excellent at helping me pick up and pronounce words in Moroccan dialect.
My tutor, Amina, with whom I still keep in contact, is around my age. It was as if I had a friend teaching me Arabic. Although I am Catholic, I had a desire to learn about beliefs other than my own. Before coming to Rabat, I had limited exposure to Islamic culture and beliefs. Amina, who is a devout Muslim, filled me in on her way of life. Her presence was also important because she would be a translator for me and Rabia.
As a racial minority in my own country, I feel it is important to mention what this trip meant to me as an African-American woman. Like many black Americans traveling abroad, my initial fear was racism against my copper skin and curly hair. I was afraid of being ignored by Moroccan society or considered lower than my Caucasian European friends while exploring Rabat. But to my delight, I was treated well and often made friends easily. One Moroccan even told me "Welcome home to Africa" in reference to my ancestral past of the Transatlantic slave trade. I filled my journal with my observed similarities between Moroccan culture and my own culture. This was to remember my positive experiences so I can encourage other African-American students to study abroad.
What made my interactions with other Moroccans flourish was my appetite for music and dance. While my friends browsed the souvenir-filled souks, I would sometimes tap my foot and move to the chaabi music playing on the radio. If the storekeeper saw this, he would smile and turn up the volume. Then other storekeepers and passer-bys would join in by clapping, singing, and dancing with scarves at their waists. These small shindigs of random dancing and singing happened quite a few times in different places and were my favorite part of the experience.
I am glad to have made friends overseas, especially the Projects Abroad staff who made my trip comfortable. I have continued learning Arabic and French. Hopefully I will return to Morocco someday and visit more cities or even check out a music festival. This trip was a perfect close to my college career.
I’m off to Morocco with my friend Jenna Bordy for a week long volunteer trip. We will be helping individuals/children with mental and physical difficulties.
Currently we patient wait for our flight to Casablanca. It has been an interesting morning, we go to Syracuse Airport at 10:10. Checked our one bag and then headed to our gate. We arrived in JFK International Airport and after a quick Starbucks run we realized that we had to leave and go to the international terminal.
When we arrived at security we were told that we had to go to the ticket area. When we went there we couldn’t check in until 2. So we wait patiently in the food court above security and for an hour just chilled.
So now we are sitting at Gate One playing on solitaire on our iPhones.
Check back tomorrow for more updates!
Chris & Jenna
After a long flight where Jenna and I slept the majority of the time, we arrived in Casablanca. As I write this first part we are being driven from Casablanca to Rabat. Jenna has just finished yelling at Blackberry global support. For some reason no data was coming to her phone.
The sun! After months in Syracuse, the sun is a beautiful thing. So far it seems pretty awesome!
On our ride we were driving past a town with lots of satellite dishes on the roofs. I was like “Look lots of satellite dishes” Jenna responds, “Yeah still no service for Jenna…”
The visuals like the signs and the design of light posts are similar globally. It makes you think that there are shared parts of our societies making us into a global community.
Shell, Michelin, Ford and CocaCola are some of the American brands we have seen so far.
I’m loving it so far. After the drive we walked into the medina which is the old part of Rabat. We ventured to Jenna’s host family first where we dropped her off, then headed to my host family.
I love where I’m living, I think it is really cool. I’ll post photos when I return. Let me attempt to describe it. I’m living on the second floor of the house near the new kitchen since the old one on the first floor broke some how. There is a family room with a tv where the hostess has a sewing station setup. She currently sews a beautiful dress. I’m loving the geometric patterns throughout the designs of the house from the tiling to the cushions. My room is smaller then my dorm room but it’s different because there are other rooms I can hang out in. I can’t wait to start sketching later.
I’m writing this, currently with no idea how I’m going to be able to post it. There is no Internet at my house but there seems to be a near wifi I just have no idea how to get on it. It turns out it is the wifi my host family setup
I’ve also realized, I have to learn some more languages!!
So now after having a snack with the coordinator at Projects Abroad, Jenna and a teacher from the Applebee school in Toronto, I’m sitting watching the Spain football. The oldest son is sitting with his friends and I’m trying to determine what card game is being played.
Well until tomorrow!
First off we woke up had breakfast with our host families. Then we met at Jenna house and met our Arabic teacher and proceeded to her place. We then spent the next two hours learning how to write and speak the Arabic Alphabet. It wasn’t easy.
Our day continues with eating lunch with our host family the heading out to our placement in Sale. At our placement we were introduced to the head of the association and we met all of the other volunteers and the kids. We eventually ended up playing pictionary in one of the classrooms.
Towards the last part of our day Jenna and I went shopping in the medina. Finally having dinner with one of the coordinators and now relaxing before sleeping.
Our day started off like any other day with Arabic lessons. Arabic is a difficult language to learn. Jenna has been able to pick up the language faster then me.
Afterwards we went sightseeing and check out some old roman structures. We had lunch looking out onto the countryside. It was beautiful and very relaxing.
With a relaxing lunch ended, Jenna and I ventured to our placement. We got there early and one the kids showed up early too. So in my attempt to communicate I pulled my iPhone and launched the brushes app which is like paint for the iPhone. From what I could gather he attempt to teach me the names of the other kids and where they lived. Jenna of course sat laughing in the corner.
We helped the kids learn their numbers then myself and the volunteer from Japan who speaks Arabic, French, Japanese and English attempted to teach the other volunteers English. While I was doing that Jenna was playing memory with the kids. In between the two activities we went outside and played a variation of duck duck goose but instead of tagging you had to the person with a ball. Overall it was a fun day.
Our final stop was one of the volunteer’s host family’s medina where all the volunteers gathered and we ate lots of food. In projects abroad we have volunteers from Canada, United States of America, England, Australia and Denmark.
Well after that recap of yesterday I’m off to help the kids!
Jenna and I are currently on the way to Fez. There we will be looking at local artisans doing theirs crafts and a number of other activities. Apparently it is a multiple hour car drive.
Yesterday started off like usual with Arabic lessons. Lotfi, our volunteer coordinator, took us for tea in the Kasbah. The Kasbah was a fort for the moroccans against the pirates who were on the other side of the river in Siles. I just found it enjoyable to sit near water and relax for a bit.
For lunch yesterday we ate with our host families. Later once I’m state side I’ll describe in a few more details how a Moroccan meal works.
In the afternoon we worked in our Care Project. Today consisted of drawing, painting and jewelry making. Sadly Jenna’s necklace broke as she put it on.
Going to the Hammam was an ordeal within itself. We met Lotfi and headed farther into the medina and eventually came to a Hammam. Lotfi walks in and talks to the guy behind desk and finds out that it’s currently the time for ladies and soon it will be the time for the men. So Lotfi took Jenna and I to another Hummam just for ladies and dropped Jenna off there so she could have enough time to relax. We headed back to the original Hammam and the women inside did not get out till half hour after they were supposed to. Jenna by that time had already finished, and I haven’t even started. So I eventually headed in once the last lady left and grab two buckets, I put my all my clothes except my underwear in my bag then in the cubbyhole.
From there you go into this steam room where you fill up your buckets then you clean part of the floor. Where you clean is where you’ll sit and wash yourself.
Afterwards feeling refreshed and clean we went to dinner and after that back to our host families.
Currently at Fez at the Cafe Clock, woo for free wifi!
Visit Our Main Sites
Be Our Friend