In May of 2017 I returned for another service trip coordinated by the PEACE Volunteer Center at my university. The previous year I traveled to Ecuador and this year I traveled to Rabat, Morocco. Attached below↓ is my video to recap the trip:
Disclosure: There is no footage of the actual service carried out due to restrictions on photographing and filming at the sites.
Salam | hello !
A group of two site leaders, two faculty advisors, and eight participants departed from the (University of) Tampa and landed in Rabat, Morocco’s capital. Once we landed we were provided transportation to our homestay with Cross Cultural Solutions (CCS). During the duration of our stay we split up into different sites where we worked with literacy, special needs/disabilities, and children’s health. We volunteered at Feminin Pluriel, a center that teaches english for free; Lalla Meriem Orphanage, which cares for children and individuals with special needs; and the Rabat Children’s Hospital, where we played with children who were there receiving treatment.
Cultural Activities with CCS
During our stay, we immersed ourselves into the culture as much as possible. CCS provided us a safe haven to ask any questions we had to enlighten us about the Moroccan culture. We had a lecture about the Islamic faith and another on women’s rights in Morocco. We even got some beginner lessons in Moroccan Arabic, but don’t worry, they speak french just as well. They also did a cooking lesson where we learned to make traditional Moroccan mint tea and a chicken tajine.
We also had a few excursions involved, such as exploring the local Roman and Moroccan ruins built in the 1300’s in Rabat and touring the medina. The medina is filled with clothes, street food, leather goods, and souvenirs galore. We certainly made our fair share of trips there in our free time to stock up on some local goodies.
When we first arrived/unpacked we had the opportunity to take the train to Casablanca. Our first stop was at Rick’s Cafe, which was designed to replicate the coffee/bar in the film Casablanca released in the ’40’s. The place was stunning with detailed decorations and live performances downstairs.
After the cafe we wandered around the city before visiting the largest Mosque in Morocco and third largest in the world. Hassan II Mosque gives daily tours until 3pm and is the only Mosque you can tour in Morocco if you are not part of the Islamic faith. We gawked at the beautiful detail in the tiles used to construct the Mosque in 1993.
One one of our free weekend we had the opportunity to embark on a weekend trip to the Sahara Desert where we camped out and played with monkeys and foxes. We endured the extreme heat for unforgettable experience.
For more detail about this weekend adventure, check this blog post out.
Needless to say my two weeks in Morocco were filled with culture shock and emotional rollercoasters at the service sites. Throughout the trip, I gained so many new friends, insights, and experiences that will last a lifetime. I want to thank everyone who made this dream a reality, and to all the wonderful people I met along the way.