After a lovely weekend spent at my hometown, I decided I could write about it. Afterall, apart from being that little town I'm used to, it is a cute green city founded on a gorgeous natural site, 30 minutes close to Rabat!
A friend of mine from Casablanca got tired of the big metropolis, and decided she could come and visit me in Kenitra, 30 minutes away by train from Rabat. I said yes why not! Let us meet here and enjoy my hometown and current city!
Kenitra was founded in 1912 by marreshal Lyautey, and was the floor for an American military base for decades. Founded in a perfect natural site, Kenitra is bordered on the west by a river, and surrounded from all sides by a green belt; the natural reserve of Sidi Boughaba and its natural lake, Mehdia beach connected to it, an oak forest and a eucalyptus forest on the ways to Rabat and to fez. Kenitra has been the town of chalets, cottages, Haussmanian buildings and 70s' cubic villas, and is now quickly changing. More and more new buildings are replacing the lovely neighbourhoods famous in the past for their green alleys and gardens and their typical architecture like quartier Mimosa and Valle-Fleury. However, for the visitor who has no notslagia of 10 years-ago-Kenitra, the town still has a captivating charm: very large avenues and streets aligned with old trees give the visitor a nice sense of emptiness and calm.
However, although you can enjoy downtown on your feet, it is better to have a car to enjoy the beautiful surroundings of the city: the forests and lake, and the typical village of Mehdia, 12 kilometers away, already offer you a touch of Northern cities, and a pure environment where you can renew your oxygen. Mehdia beach is also famous all over the country for being the cradle of Surfing in Morocco. There are surf schools and camps where you can rent a board or get a lesson.The port of Mehdia offers a wide variety of fish and seafood, and there are places where you can have fried or grilled fish for a fresh lunch.
The natural reserve and its lake is a stopover where migrating birds gather in the winter, and it is ideal for picnics and walks.
You can also stay in Kenitra and have a walk on the river's cornice and have a drink at one of its coffee shops. A beautiful view of the old port "Port Lyautey".
Well, this is my hometown and current city, and you are welcome anytime!
Also, if you've come across a little town like Kenitra, share with us your stories and trip photos. There is more to Morocco than its beautiful world famous cities, so enjoy it as much as you can, and happy volunteering!
All our volunteers arriving here in Mexico always face a new challenge or adventure, from diving into a totally different new culture, the language, food, etc but one thing that always seems to confuse them a bit (at least at the beginning of their trip) is riding a mexican bus; and I have got to say here that I totally understand it, cause it can be a bit tricky.
It all starts with identifying a proper bus stop; an official bus stop would be on a corner, a sign and a metal bench that indicates: this is an official bus stop therefore buses should stop here. But unofficial bus stops also exist, and that would be any regular corner, but it's not just any regular corner, cause here you have to use your sixth sense and guess which regular corners become official bus stops, tricky right?
And then comes another questions: where do buses stop when i want to get off? well now we go back to the normal rules: official corners, they stop here. But they also stop at regular corners and sometimes even in middle of the block! getting trickier right!?
And apart from that, just riding the bus is like riding a rollercoaster sometimes: bumpy streets, loud and fast traffic and a totally packed bus where you have to find a way to find equilibrium so you dont fall! (that if you were not lucky enough to get a seat) or dealing with the ladies with the big old grocery bags or the kids coming back from school with their giant backpacks.
It is quite an adventure I've got to say, not a dangerous one, but a funny one that most volunteers, if not all of them.
Please note on the picture below that this is a totally civilized bus ride, it wasn't rush hour so things were totally calmed and quiet and I managed to get a seat!
p.s. get an mp3 player, it will make your ride easier :)
When I left to come to Romania I was worried about how I would find the teaching, would people like me and how I would adjust to the culture. As soon as I got here all these worries were put to rest. The staff at projects abroad, the other volunteers and all the wonderful people I have met since I have been here, have been so helpful in making my time here enjoyable and stress-free.
Another concern I had was would I like the food, it all sounded very different from what I was used to. However I have been pleasantly surprised to find that not only do I like the food but I love it! My house mum, Rodica is a great cook and all the food I have had so far has been delicious.
I have also been exploring the city at every opportunity. Brasov is a lovely city. So far, amongst other things, I have climbed up Mt. Tampa. It is described by locals as more of a hill than a mountain, but the view from the top is breath taking; you can see all of Brasov and beyond. There are also many bars and restaurants here, so there is plenty to do in the evenings and at the weekend.
As well as this I have been using my weekends to go to places beyond the city such as visiting Bran’s Castle. Although it is a bit more difficult to travel here, the projects abroad staff members have been more than happy to offer advice on the easiest ways to travel from place to place.
And now onto the main reason I came here, to teach drama. I was initially nervous about teaching drama to people in their second language, but have found the kids and teenagers I work with very eager to speak English and learn drama skills. Their enthusiasm and approach to learning is making my work here really enjoyable.
Another benefit of the drama project is that is varied so I am working with different groups every day. I am doing short plays with some groups, drama therapy with others and I am even rehearsing to perform a pantomime with the other volunteers.
So far I am having a wonderful time here in Romania. It has been a new challenge for me, but I have already met many lovely people and will leave with many great memories.
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