Written By Meagan
salam from Rabat!
We’ve been settling into life in Morocco with our host families and learning Darija, the local Arabic dialect. The entire group has fallen in love with our amazing teacher Khalid, who has displayed an impressive level of patience as well as skill and talent as a teacher. He is funny and kind and a fantastic human being. We’ve managed to learn bits and pieces of this incredibly challenging language, which we clumsily practice with the locals, who seem happy to see us trying at least. There are so many nice people here; waiters at restaurants have tried to help teach us Darija, and a pair of students who came to give a talk ended up hanging out with us and bringing along several of their own friends, resulting in utter chaos at a café, with lots of singing and making friends across cultures.
Our time in Rabat has been packed with activities, with Arabic lessons every morning and a variety of interesting talks in the afternoon about topics relevant to Moroccan culture, including Islam, gender, the Amazigh (the indigenous people of Morocco and all of North Africa), and many more. A calligraphy artist showed us how to form beautiful Arabic letters and gave us each a personalized piece of calligraphy. We had cooking classes where we made tajine and couscous, both of which were delicious. Our host families took all of us to a hammam, or public bath, where we were appalled at the amount of dirt and dead skin we scrubbed off of our bodies. We also had the opportunity to visit a center for migrants, where we took a tour and heard the story of one particular migrant with an incredible spirit and positive attitude; and a youth center, where we played games with some youth leaders. In addition to all these organized activities, we’ve enjoyed wandering the medina and spending some quality time with our host families.