By Nate Crystal
The Rayah group left Spain and crossed the heavily guarded border of Spain and Morocco. Journeying over the border was an interesting experience for the group. When crossing the border, the group saw a vast line of people that were waiting to hear if they were allowed to enter Spain, or have to stay in Morocco. It was there that the Jamal of the week, Ady, had the first experience of bargaining with taxi drivers. After talking to multiple drivers and finally discovering that the prices were not decided by them, but by a kingpin of sorts standing and directing people into taxis, the Rayah group began their voyage to Tetouan in two separate taxis.
One taxi had Emily, Owen, Leighton, and Sheldon, who arrived at the hostel with no problems. However, the other taxi had Nate, Ady, Cole, and Bria, who had slightly less of an enjoyable time finding the hostel. When they got out of the taxi, they were given simple directions to walk straight down a street. They walked straight down the street, as instructed until the street diverged. A series of rights and lefts and dead ends culminated in a unanimous admittance amongst the group that they were hopelessly lost. After their lengthy experience of bad directional choices, they ended up in a crowded market where a man by the name of Mustafa approached them. He showed the lost group to their hostel. During that time, Nate made friends with Mustafa but regrets it now that Mustafa has become (very clingy? I don’t really like this either….seems mean-spirited, suggestions?)
Anyway, once at Dar Naqeeba the group met Mahmud, who studied English in college and spoke the language very well. He also knows more about American culture then the whole Rayah group put together. After a couple of free days in Tetouan, the group went to their respective homestays leaving Emily and Ady together, Cole and Owen together and, Nate and Leighton each in their own individual households. After having a day to spend with their families, or in their room alone, the group started classes. The first day Nate and Leighton had to go to the university early to take a placement test because they had taken Arabic in the past. After the test, Nate and Leighton were put in separate classes, where they would be the sole student; while the rest of the group studied together. Over the course of the week Owen, Emily, Cole, Ady, Sheldon, and Bria have kinda learned the Arabic alphabet, Nate and Leighton, however, have been trying to regain the knowledge they once had in the subject, now together for two of the three hours of lessons.
On Thursday the group went to Mahmud’s house for lunch and had a great time eating couscous and talking with Mahmud’s family.