Cape Henry School Morocco 2019
June 6-7, 2019
We arrived to Casablanca. We were all assigned to our new homestay families. After we had an opportunity to walk through the Medina. The next day we drove to school and learned Arabic. We were introduced to words such as ‘smiti’ (“my name is”) and ‘bnin’ (“delicious”).
After, we discussed topics such as gender equality, women’s roles, and the economy. We then visited Chellah, Roman and Arabic ruins in Rabat. There were many storks around the ruins and we were able to see ancient burial sites. We saw a lady throw eggs into a small pond to see whether or not eels would eat the eggs. This is an old tradition that is still practiced where Moroccans can tell if they’re fertile or not.
We explored Rabat’s Kasbah and met up with the students and talking about their daily lives. Finally we regrouped and met a member of the Peace Corps and Fulbright and talked about international travel opportunities during and after college.
By Wlad G.
June 8, 2019
Today was our 3rd day in Rabat. We planned on doing community service the whole day. We got ready and headed out at 9 to Amal Salé.
Two Moroccan students joined us on the bus and we headed to the school that we were beautifying. The bus ride was only 40 minutes. When we arrived at the school all the kids ran up to us. We played games with them while the Moroccan college students translated.
Then we all started to pick up trash around the school. After we were done the director of the school treated us to tea and treats.
Once everyone was done, we started to paint. There was an artist there who guided us for the mural portion. We ended up doing two murals. One mural was the Arabic alphabet. The other one was a painting of kids playing. We also painted the columns of the school different colors.
To take a break, we went to this local farm that served us lunch. Once we got back from lunch, we all finished our painting jobs. From there we started to clean up. Even though we were mostly amateur painters, it seemed like people only cared that we were there and not about how we did. The director thanked us and gave us the gift of our names written in Arabic.
On the bus ride back we reflected on how the service really was more for us than the school. It makes you reflect on your life and think about others.
By Kate V.
June 9, 2019
We went to the beach. There were three groups consisting of people hanging out, people playing soccer and people surfing. When we were done we ate melon and thanked the surf instruction. After lunch, Mr. Facemire split is up into three different groups. Aisha put some of the Moroccan students with each group for a scavenger hunt. The group that was made up of Ayoub, LT, James and Caroline won the scavenger hunt. They will get their prize tomorrow.
We said goodbye to Omar, Ayoub, and Safaa, who have been hanging out with us the past couple days.
Afterwards we went to the public bath which is called a Hammam. Going to the public bath was a once in a lifetime experience.
By Taisho M.
June 10 -12, 2019
The past few days we explored the city of Marrakesh are ‘MarrAKSH’ as the locals call it. Before visiting Marraksh, I heard only good things about the city constantly hearing that it will be ‘lots of fun’ and ‘a memorable experience’ so I had high expectations. To say the least my expectations were not only met but actually well exceeded. The city was vibrant and fast-paced- an experience I hadn’t even had in New York City.
However the vibrant, fast-paced nature of the city did not stop us from taking a second to savor the delicious local dishes the city has to offer, such as Tanjia or Tajin (see our pictures!). Overall the bustling cultural experience I had in Marrakesh, while overwhelming sometimes, provided me a different perspective. For example my preconceived of Morocco only included the conservative aspect of their culture but after having conversations with Moroccan students my age, I learned about the other side of Moroccan culture. Additionally after talking to and understanding the Moroccans I spoke with, I feel a strong desire to explore the Moroccan culture further and also other cultures in the future.
Leaving Marrakesh this morning. I hold a new perspective of Morocco that I look forward to carrying with me for the rest of our trip.
By: George S.
June 12-14, 2019
On our first day in Tameslouht we visited an orphanage. We looked around for a little while and then split up into groups to do activities with the kids. There was a painting group, gardening group, and a soccer-playing group. I was in the soccer group and the kids showed us where to go and we started to play. We played with the kids for about an hour and it was a lot of fun. Even though I couldn’t understand what the kids were saying we still bonded over the love of the game. After a fun filled afternoon of activities we gave the kids gifts. We gave them shirts, coloring books, balls, and hats. The look on their faces when we were giving them the gifts was priceless. They were all so happy that we could spend our time with them and that was the most rewarding part of the whole experience.
The next day we went to Ourika Valley to go on a hike! This was my first ever hike and I was really excited. When we arrived we met our guide and started the hike. We climbed over big rocks and walked across streams along the river. We eventually made it to a waterfall. The 50ft waterfall fed into a pool of water, and it was gorgeous. The waterfall gave off this mist that was refreshing, but then I realized it was rain and we had to keep going to take shelter from the brewing thunderstorm. Since the rocks became slippery from the rain, we hiked to this little coffee shack that we stayed at until the thunder stopped, which took about an hour. Even though the hike got rained out, we all came together, had fun, and made the best of a slippery situation. After we ended the hike early we learned about a local organization that dealt with local environmental issues. It was interesting to learn about the organization and how they are helping educate locals about how to clean up and help the environment.
On our third day we did a community service project with the local community. We first picked up trash from these two small areas and filled about 25 trash bags full of trash. It was very eye opening to see how much trash is laying around and many people seemingly don’t care about the effects that trash can have on the environment. Afterwards, we filled up pots with plants to give them to the residents of the community. After all the pots were planted, we painted them with children from the community. I was painting with this little boy and it was really fun. Even though we couldn’t understand each other, we could still communicate through hand gestures. After each pot that we painted, I would give him a high-five, he would smile, and we would move on to the next pot. He even brought his friend over to paint with us. We walked around seeing which pots still needed to be painted and I found one, so we crouched down and got ready to paint. Then the boy pointed at the pot and said something in Arabic. I was a little confused, but realized that he was motioning to paint it. Then I realized it had already been painted, but it was brown so it was hard to tell if it had been painted. We both had a good laugh about it. I just thought it was amazing that even though we can’t communicate we still found a way to laugh and have fun. Even though we helped out for only 4 hours, that little bit of help goes a long way. It was so rewarding to see all those smiles on all the kids faces once we were done painting. Even though it was a small act of painting, it made their day and that was all that mattered.
Written by Emily R. and Martin S.