Like or Don’t Like

Written by: Rashida – CorpsAfrica/Maroc Volunteer
Date: April 8, 2015

Ultimately, after a long wait for the appointment. I received a call from the authority; the Leader of the village “Kaid” of my commune, so as to head for visiting the site where I will live in/serve for a year. It will be an adventure because it’s the first time that I am going to visit that part of Morocco, even I am Moroccan I didn’t hear before about this area.DSCF2759

Let me telling you the whole story, when I arrived to the municipality people who working there they start asking me who am I and from where I came also why I want to meet the Kaid. I feel uncomfortable but when I see what happened to my colleague I discovered that what they did is normal. Just after a while the Kaid told them let her pass I know her then he introduced me to other members of municipality. After that he called sheikh for coming and took me to visit the village/the primary school. But you know, it’s far at about 4 and half kilometers; there is no transport at that time. Just after discussion with sheikh then he mentioned that he has a motorcycle and if I want to go with him by it. Directly I agreed by saying “yes why not” because as we know volunteerisms need to be flexible most of the time. It was a great experience to go with sheikh by motorcycle I enjoyed it☺.

We arrived to my site. The first sight, I like the place and I feel in rest by talking and explaining to some people of the village who am I. Though, Sheikh helped me a lot really, he is intelligent, I like his way of explaining and facilitating things to people my mission inside the village during the year. Alhamdulillah they accepted me by saying (mrahba) most welcome☺. The Sheikh said “Let me talk with people of the village …. When I will find a host family for you then I will call you.” I left the village but that time not by motorcycle you can guess by what hahahaha. This time I am lucky I went back by car. ☺DSCF2773

You know before coming I didn’t sleep the whole night, I was so afraid and thinking if I can integrate with them or not if I will like the village….. offff spending the night struggling. Honestly, many things coming to my mind but despite all of it, I tried to not fed up and keep being optimistic. Instead of that I believe that Allah besides me all the time and will never let me alone. ☺ See you in the  upcoming blog ☺

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The First Step of the 1000-Mile Journey!

Written by: Adnane – CorpsAfrica/Maroc Volunteer
Date: April 5, 2015

December 28, 2014, the center of ministry of youths in Bourgone, Casablanca was the date and place to set up a journey. This blog is about highlights and important moments of CorpsAfrica volunteers Group 2B training which was great opportunity of learning and learning by doing for us.

adnaneThe first week was about heading for Sidi Moumen Cultural Center in order to study Design Thinking, which is a process you should follow to solve a specific problem, and practice it within the community there. It was a great time because we really learned great things in this place from Garrett (Hakim), who was our Teacher, Mr Mazouz the director of the center, the staffs and students of the centre.

The funny thing concerning this week was the struggle we had with the “Petit Taxis” drivers that refused to carry three people all together and sometimes even didn’t want to go to some places because they aren’t far enough for them. It happened to us, at least, three times, so the trick was that two of us shall hide till the other one of get the taxi, and then we got in it. The driver didn’t accept that but still carry us especially after Badr says his famous statement: “whether bring us or call the police, no other solution.” Since these drivers knew that what they did is against the law, they brought us; however, they tried to crack many stories to prove how it’s not beneficial for them to not break the law. By the way, this is a very important issue that makes people, especially in Casablanca, suffer everyday with transportation in order to go working. I hope the responsible discuss this problem with the participation of whoever is concerned.

adnane2Throughout the second week, we had meetings with a several NGOs through which we got informed about the world of NGOs and how it works. Among these NGOs there were SOS Children’s Villages which is an international association that works to give support to vulnerable children and families around the world; Zakoura Foundation, which is a Moroccan association that has a good integration in the field of education in morocco, especially its ambitious program to provide uneducated children with education; High Atlas Foundation which works “to catalyze grassroots development in disadvantaged and vulnerable communities in Morocco”, as stated in the foundation’s website; UN Volunteers who talked to us about the history of United Nations, how to be a volunteer with UN , and the projects UNV support in Morocco and internationally as well; and Injaz Foundation that among its projects giving university students training in social entrepreneurship.

adnane3The 3rd week was the first time we left Casablanca to go to see the sites of two ex-volunteers. At the village in Al Youssofia Comune, where Selma volunteered last year, we met her host Dad there Ba Ali who showed us the room Selma lived in and talked to us about what she did there while we were doing a tour in the village. After that, we moved to see the village of Abdesamad where he served a year ago. We saw the project he did and, in addition to that, we visited the school of the village where the OCP foundation and Sanadi association made the project of preschool classes for the children of the village.

During the second half of the 3rd week, Rabat was our next station in order to meet with OCPF. Duringadnane5 this reunion we, the volunteers, introduced ourselves to the OCPF Responsible through talking about our educational background, where we come from, and our interests that enable us to be Corps Africa volunteers. On the other hand, we listened to explanations about the mission and concern of the foundation (OCPF) and their objectives behind having a partnership with Corps Africa.

During the last week of the training, we headed for Al Akhawein University in Ifrane which was under magical white color of the snow. We had presentation with some adnane6professors there such as Dr John Shoop who talked to us about his research in morocco about clean water and how different ways to convey water are using in the rural places of morocco; Dr Rinehart talked to us about Servant Leadership; the Vice president talked to us about human development in morocco; Mr. Peter gave us in a session tips and instructions about writing a blog; and Mr. Bouziane’s presentation that was about grassroots development and his own experience with that. As a matter of fact, our visit to Al Akhawein was very helpful for us as we have benefited from the knowledge and the experience of great people there; moreover, the snowy weather made it great trip.

adnane9The Swearing Ceremony was the last thing to end this training as well as this blog. It was the time to celebrate and meet important people especially from the board of directors who encouraged and wished us good luck.adnane8

Thank you for reading my blog and for sharing with us our passion. Look forward to my next blog.

Ways of Life

Written by: Badr – CorpsAfrica/Maroc Volunteer
Date: April 5, 2015

The idea of becoming a volunteer has been in my mind for a long time. I had this idea because of the volunteers and the travelers who told me about their voluntary experiences in different countries. Then I started to realize that my community needs such noble actions.

Since then I’ve been impacted looking for a seat with an organization that works on environmental or social issues. I see it shameful and frustrating when I see my city totally covered in trash, even facing a trash crisis with tons of uncollected garbage, without any practical and simple ideas to handle it.

Unexpectedly, that makes sense to me when I discover that a small village, of twenty houses couldn’t manage their trash, let alone a city its population more than four million. For instance, I wonder why rather than develop and generalize the old fashioned practice to collect garbage at cities, but instead pay a man with his own van and trash bin, to move through neighborhoods, separating plastics, cartoons, cans, bottles, substances. We can change the whole system into a so-called modern one. A lot of people might ask why I want to offer my time and efforts and what I would gain? I would like to change this question to what makes me think this way.

Humans always evolve by different ways, one of them is through others. For me, evolution is a reciprocal process: by indulging myself in the help of others actually I’ll be helping myself. I understand the world around me by understanding the others. On the other hand, sometimes it could be difficult to explain to someone why I want to do voluntary work. Simply, it’s the way I am. But how did I become this way? Why is anyone the way the are? That’s kind of hard to answer. Why do some people like cheese and other people hate it? Do you like cheese?

I522491_10151564514765362_1953294729_n‘m a man who is passionate about touring by bicycle, who gets bored easily if I do only one thing. I always want a change, whether where I am or the way I do things. Traveling by bike makes my life interesting, especially when I’m roaming around a region, crossing from village to another. Making my eyes and soul full of the beauty of sceneries and landscapes, meeting new people who think differently than I do, listening to their stories, and trying to figure out why they think this way, not that way. Human being are curious to know the stories and news of others. There are those who sit in front of a screen watching events move in front of him mixed up with sounds and affects, rather than move and interact with events. The human inner curiosity leads him to follow sequences of TV show while my inner curiosity led me to live a vivid story and create my own show, with myself as a main character. “Be the HERO or you’ll feel as you are in the zero”.

This eagerness lead me to cycle alongside Morocco, Mauritanian, and Senegal without getting bored: “crossing miles looking for the smiles.” Enjoying, not enduring like the majority of people think when they see a man riding a heavy bike full of luggage.

“Are you traveling alone?” This is one of the most frequent questions I was asked.

“No, I always meet sweet and cheerful people like YOU with a hope the following day, to meet up again,” was my answer Villagers are my guides and they direct me to see amazing places around their villages, listening to their dreams, their prejudices about other tribes, with a warning sense.

Every new day of cycling, I passed throughout new landscapes and people whose features don’t look like 10985030_349486241923995_5753050301568995391_nthe ones of yesterday.

“We are generous, honest, there is nothing to be afraid of here, but you need to be very careful if u are still cycling ahead, they are bla bla blaa.” Almost whenever I set up my tent for a night I hear the same speech.

Throughout my cycle tours, I cycled unexpectedly across astonishing places, with water springs, fertile lands, sun, veggies, fruits… Locals expressed their dissatisfaction and discomfort. I think an outsider can bring to such places new ideas; a new way of seeing things that villager can use to meet their needs.

To be a volunteer is an opportunity that will enable me do the task that I always wanted to do, but this time in a structured way. CorpsAfrica’s idea to recruit a volunteer to move to high-poverty communities and initiate projects that can be a solution to poverty is a step and an opportunity for youth to raise their awareness of national pride, and to help the country to move forward. I believe that nations can stand up and evolve by their own citizens, who can carry the dream of change and pass it to the next generations. Let’s make volunteering a habit and entrench it in our society. Let’s be a way to follow.

What do you think? Join the development debate!

My Training with CorpsAfrica

Written by: Mina – CorpsAfrica/Volunteer
Date:

Salam dear followers, family and friends, I hope you enjoy reading my second blog 😉

10922511_421206121375483_661572680429681148_nFirst of all this blog is about my journey at CorpsAfrica training, in fact I learned a lot of important things from this training which I have never learnt in my school. The idea of having the training with ten young Moroccans social activists, came from different parts in Morocco with different cultures and different backgrounds, is itself a good and nice experience, because we exchange our perspectives, cultures, customs, traditions and sometimes we learn from each other new Tamazight and Tarifit words…

Furthermore; the first week of the training was about “Design Thinking” presented by Mr. Garrett at Sidi Moumen Cultural center. In my opinion it’s one of the most interesting, helpful and important part in the whole training; because it’s going to help me not only during my service in the community, but also the rest of my life.  Hence this design thinking is about skills, or a participatory approach which allows me and other volunteers to be capable of identifying the needs of a specific community, of course after a deep listening to practical concerns of the individuals and the whole community, finally we should come up with a project.  The latter is generated from the individuals within that community and this will help them to have a strong sense of ownership.

Beside what’s mentioned; in the following week of the training, we met some NGO’s that they came to the center just to present their organization and how it works, they also gave us a chance to collaborate with them in the near future, if we are interested in. And in the same week we had training in the first aid in Red Crescent center of Ain Sbaa Csablanca, we learnt how to save people’s life, yet we really had a lot of fun together.10898234_423963861099709_5649995050883525500_n

How a CAV turned to be a goat!!!

After we finished our training in Casablanca we had a good opportunity to visit the sites of the former volunteers, we visited Salma’s host family in Elysofia, also the house of Abdesamad in Asfi. That visit was very important, because at least we had an idea about how the volunteers were living and with whom they were working and collaborating during their service.  After that, we traveled to Rabat for a formal meeting with our sponsor OCPF. We presented ourselves to them, and in the same time we told them about our interests, experiences and expectations to our sites.

Whenever I remember a funny story happened during our meeting there, I start smiling. Here is the story: when one of my colleague started presenting himself, as one of the bravest backpacker, who roaming around Morocco. He said: that he would adapt with wherever he will be sent, and he had no problem with the sites. And just to show how so flexible he is. he added that: some day during his journeys he found himself without any food in an empty land, so he had no choice except eating some grass… once we finished our meeting we all start giggling … we told him that OCPF might be surprised, and wondered how a CA volunteer has the ability to turn into a goat whenever it is necessary haha…you are so lucky.  “Ya” backpacker, we are serving during spring 😛 .So, it will be plenty of flowers and grass to eat …actually he is such a great person, and with a warm heart he accepted our silly jokes.

Are we really in Morocco??

10420080_428145920681503_2357641449830011511_nFinally, the last week of the training, we traveled to Ifrane, in order to attend some lectures in Alakhawayn university, the latter were about community works and development, and servant leadership in Morocco… We benefited from those lectures, yet in the same time we enjoyed our time. When we were there I was asking this stupid question to our facilitator Colleen and my colleagues all the time “if we were really in Morocco”? Because it was snowing all those days, the scene was pretty awesome, and it looked like we are in Europe and not in Africa, “even this latter is the prettiest continent ever, but I was talking about the snow” ;).  Actually we were having a lot of fun together: playing with snow, and roaming over the streets of that lovely city, under the snows. Yet with keeping my silly question every time just for teasing them ……

Swearing-in ceremony 😀

10386275_983701274992025_6656777863813755292_nAt the end of the whole training , we traveled again to Rabat for our swearing-in ceremony, we met there our guests who were looking forward and longing to celebrate with us and witness us in that joyful moment, when we all would raise our hands to took the oath… finally, we volunteers raised our right hands, so as to swore to fulfill our duties as CorpsAfrica Volunteers, to do no harm when we can do no good, to give no answer when a question is yet unasked, to have an open mind and an open heart, and to seek out the bonds of friendship, community and collaboration – both at our sites and with each other   , and we will try, to the best of our ability, to live up to the highest standards of honor, integrity and dedication.

After that, all of our guests congratulated us for being CorpsAfrica volunteers. Thank you so much dear followers for reading my blog 🙂 please wait for my next one inshallah 😉

Azzaden Knight

Written by: Soufien M. – CorpsAfrica/Maroc Volunteer
Date: April 5, 2015

Half way back to my site, I felt something is chasing me.  I turned around and glimpsed a what for a while I thought was a monster, but was a pig in fact, a mad one. So I ran my best but could not be as fast as the monster, nor had I a choice to take another path.  However I observed a walnut tree on my way and I climbed it quickly as a monkey, like I’ve never done in my life. When I made it to the top of the tree I could hear my heart beats sound in that moment.

wild-boar-veparThe angry animal stopped and looked at me breathing heavily. I was so terrified and with no idea in mind just acting instinctively: “Oh… God!!!” I shouted loudly. “Help, help.. someone help me!”

The pig laughed and said “No one can hear you, you fool” I was shocked, then he said again “your life has come to an end, no one can save you from me!”

Still horrified I could not say much in that moment but after a while, I got the awful situation I am in, so I thought I may negotiate and even beg the wild pig, since he can understand and speak my language.

I asked, “What do you have against me pig? I mean no harm to you, let me go please!”

He laughed loudly, with harsh voice he replied, “Don’t call me pig, you pig! Yes you do harm me since the beginning of time, and so I do mean to harm you today you little human!”

I acted courageously this time pretending no fear; “Hey, would you stop cursing, even enemies can show respect, you know what let’s make a deal Mr..??”

He said “Azzaden Knight is my name.”

I said “Ok Mr.Azzaden knight, nice to meet you.” Then I said again “I have an idea of a fair deal we can make would you like to hear it?”

I was surprised when he replied just as Achilles did with the prince of Troy, Hector; “There is no deal between wolves and sheeps” and added “Do you have any last word you wish to say before you go straight to hell?!”

I replied angrily “Yes! Screw you!”

Then he start the attack, jumping to the tree trying to reach me, thus I could not do much but wait for my creepy end… still weeping…

The heavy knocks of my host brother Sohaib woke me up alerted and thrilled of the nightmare I had, half conscious. Then after a while I was laughing, thinking about Azzaden Knight on my way to open the door for Sohaib who was bringing Toughrift (bread of the morning) as usually.

I woke up like a madman frightened from both; the freaking nightmare I had, and the knocks of Sohaib which still frighten me everytime though, which always give me an impression that it is a fire alarm or another disaster occurring out my door.pig2

A Brief Bio of a CorpsAfrica Volunteer!

Written by: Adnane – CorpsAfrica/Maroc Volunteer
Date: April 4, 2015

adnaneHello everyone! My name is Adnane, from Meknes. And this is the first blog I write as a CorpsAfrica volunteer through which I will give brief information about myself including my education and my interests. As long as my educational background matters, after I got my high school degree in 2008, I studied computer science and got my diploma as a specialized technician in System & Network in 2010. In 2014 I graduated from Moulay Ismail University in Meknes with a Bachelor of Arts in English Studies.

As you might notice, I moved from studying Computer Science to English Studies which are two different disciplines. I did that for some reasons. First of all I wasn’t satisfied about the way Information Technology is taught in the institute where I studied which pushed me to end up changing this major. The second thing was the challenge of mastering the English language and getting an academic education. English is a powerful language that can give me the access to the world; besides that, it is a key to open to the door of information and knowledge. In addition to that, studying in the university gave me many good things, such as being exposed to different disciplines, discovering new kind of thinking, and etc. In fact, I experienced voluntary work through teaching in Association Al-Majd in Meknes.

However, after I met some Moroccans and Peace Corps volunteers and participated in some training such as Gender Advocate Training in Meknes, my definition of voluntary work has been broadened. I discovered a different kind of development, rather than just teaching in an association, which is grassroots and community development. This thing pushed me to really think about being integrated in that world of public service because it was like I discovered my field of interest. I’ve joined CorpsAfrica as a volunteer to serve in my own country. This association comes with an innovative and ambitious idea which is giving Moroccan people the opportunity to do human development in their own nation. I hope our common interests make us do great work.

Thank you for reading my blog, and I hope your read my next one.

One Way to Serve my Community

Written by: Abderrahim – CorpsAfrica/Maroc Volunteer
Date: April 1, 2015

DSC00088We all gathered from different regions to serve our country. It is a fact that it’s a unique idea to be born and raised in your community and serves another one. This is how CorpsAfrica organization sees the world.

We came from different regions of Morocco: Ouarzazate, Nador, Rabat, Casablanca, Fes, and Al Hoceima to live a life changing experience. We went through one month of training before beginning our service. During the first week of training, we had one week of Design-Thinking, facilitated by the trainer Garrett Mason at the Cultural Center of Sidi Moumen, in Casablanca where we were exposed to theoretical and practical aspects of before being placed in our communities. Throughout the Design-Thinking training, we were divided into three small groups and designed different projects to address major issues that the Sidi Moumen Cultural Center faces.

DSC00037Outspokenly, we learned several skills for instance; identifying community needs, as well as tools that will help us come up with an appropriate project at the end of the service that will address a key need of the community. All trainees were very impressed with the importance of the Design-Thinking process as a new way for us as volunteers to work with our communities during the service. Briefly, the Design-Thinking process includes the gathering of information, focusing (in which we define the need of the community), prototyping (in which we create a visual image for certain project), and at the end, delivering the project and getting feedback from the community.

In in the training period, we also received first aid certification by the Red Crescent. We learned basic skills that will either save our life or others’. Furthermore, we met different active Moroccan organizations, and visited sites of last year’s volunteers. We have also had the chance to attend lectures at Al Akhawayn University which were the most inspiring lectures for us. At the end of the training, on the 26th of January, we raised our right hands and swore to serve our communities for one year.10983532_10101208911348777_9021741858489335212_o

For the duration of the training I have had experienced several surprising things including:

  1. Sidi Moumen Cultural Center classroom-bus

In the past years Sidi Moumen Cultural Center benefited from a school bus as a tool to take students from the center from and back to their houses besides to trips and site visits. After a while, the bus stumbled and became useless but with the creativity of Sidi Moumen staff they could make it a classroom bus for kids. Student at Sidi Moumen are having classes every day at the bus regarding to the big number of students attend the center and the limitation of space. The classroom bus is new essential space for learning in Sidi Moumen Center.

  1. Plastic shower rooms in Azzaden valley

DSC00081Taking into consideration their harsh life conditions people in the Azzaden Valley created a new way of taking a shower knowing that major of them do not have bathrooms. They build plastic bags in a pyramid shape in sun shine either inside the house or outside as a room for shower. The sun and plastic give them some warmth they are missing the freezing weather over the Atlas Mountains.

  1. A Bull live a king life

It is common that people from the Amazigh regions always take the cow to a family who awn a bull for fertilizing their cows. But in the Azzaden Valley is another story. It is a fact that three villages put hand in hand and buy a bull. They put in a house and pay for a man who is taking care of it and then people bring everyday their caws for fertilizing. The bully live alone in a house with a servant. That’s king life.

  1. Last but not least, Two drivers in one car

DSC00129In our way back from Azzaden Valley to Marrakech we experienced a weird transportation. There were twelve people inside a taxi which supposed to take only six people. Four people feat in the front, four in the next seats and three in the back where there were no seats and one in the roof of the car. Even though we were scared the driver was very relax and happy. These shows the transportation issues the Azzaden Valley suffer from. It’s very risky.

The Holy M’ssid

Written by: Soufian A. – CorpsAfrica/Maroc Volunteer
Date: March 19, 2015

     DSC_0640My village faces serious education-related issues. Children, all Amazigh speakers, begin school in the first grade level and start learning subjects in Arabic – Arabic is a foreign language for them. Since most of the parents are uneducated, they do not provide their children with any education base, so children enter primary school absolutely clueless beside what they got in the Mssid from the Fqih of the mosque.

A pre-elementary school plays a major role in elementary education for children. I still remember some images of me in a classroom memorizing Quran and learning Arabic Alphabets – It was at the Mssid; our pre-elementary school!

DSC_0622I attended an afternoon course with fiqih on Thursday 25th Dec 2015, and then talked with the Fiqih about the tradition and religious method of learning Arabic and memorizing the Quran; they use wooden boards and black ink for writing; they write some of the chapter in one afternoon to memorize it, erase the board and recite it orally to the fiqih the day after (Kids who don’t memorize it get hit by a stick on their hands from the fiqih – I didn’t like that). The fiqih’s class was about 22 boys, and 15 girls – the number varies depending on school classes.

DSC_0637The Fiqih was interested in my suggestion to teach kids Arabic basic and using my method (make learning fun) and offered his classroom in the mosque, since students here have problems understanding Arabic; in light of the fact that there is no elementary pre-school and children drop out of school because they find difficulties with subjects – I already confirmed this fact while gathering information from teachers and doing homework with kids.

DSC_0689At present, I have a courses schedule as following: three days a week; Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday (and also in the absence of the fiqih), 2 hours of teaching Arabic as first step and I integrate time to time workshops and French to the program – 13 boys and 11 girls attended my class, yet the number varies greatly.

Early childhood education has shown to be vital and crucial element in a child’s development, especially between birth and the age of six. The child needs a high-quality learning experience for the mental, physical and emotional growth during that particular time grows in an outstanding rate.

I really feel loved and respected by the kids. Learned that kids in the village could be a facilitator for a volunteer, moreover CorpsAfrica is not only about building projects but also about encouraging dialog, connecting people and an open eye and mind about the rural Moroccans’ lifestyles.DSC_0694

Much love

A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall

Written by: Mourad – CorpsAfrica/Maroc Volunteer
Date: March 28, 2015

Untitled1The month of March is closer to an end, and I thought to myself:  “Maybe this would be the end of the freezing cold weather!” But alas man!! I didn’t know what was coming!! Bob Dylan once said “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” which means a big storm is coming along the way!!!

The night of Tuesday was one of the hardest, cruel, brutal and snowy nights since I came to the village! It didn’t stop raining and snowing for 48 continuous hours, day and night the snow fell heavily like never before. Villager’s elderly people said that such snow didn’t fall in the village since 40 years ago!! What a great fact was it?!! At night I felt cold inside my bones, between my teeth, even my hair was freezing, the cold was crawling slowly through my whole body and made me shiver the whole night inside my room. All my warm clothes were wet and I had to wait for another week of sun to wash and dry them.

Untitled2What makes the matter worse, however, is the cut of electricity; which fell down as cold iceberg on the whole village! It was the first time I knew I had to spend a night in the village without electricity! Unfortunately for me, I still had a small box of candles, and Hussa, my host dad, asked me to come down to have coffee as usual, but this time he asked me to bring some of my candlelight because he was unable to get some from the Hanout. All the candlelight supply runs out quickly, and shopkeepers could not cover the needs of the whole village. It was somewhat funny because now I have an opportunity to make fun of my host dad as he was making fun of me while he saw me lighting candlelight even though there was electricity. At first he thought I was crazy but when I explained to him the representation of candlelight for me he understood my behavior and respect me for that. Now the candlelight became the only hope for the whole village!

Untitled3When I entered my host dad’s house, I noticed that everyone was lost without electricity. My host dad was trying to figure out a way to light a lamp with a gas bottle! Lalla Aicha, my host mom, was stuck inside her kitchen; little she knew what to prepare for dinner. A big exclamation mark was drawn onto her round shape face. Her noisy little daughter, Salma, was afraid and crying in fear of darkness, following her mom’s shadow everywhere it goes. Finally the savior came with two candle lights in his hands. I gave one to Lala Aicha, who quickly run to the kitchen, and brought one to the living room where Latifa and Naima were sitting. The two of my host dad’s daughters were very sad and upset, I never saw them in such gloomy mood, and I was wondering what up with them. When I asked, I figured that they are mad because there was no electricity, therefore could not watch their favorite soap opera “Samhini” on TV.

What’s funny is that all the villagers, older or younger men and women usually leave the work aside at the end of a tiresome day and gather up around their little TV screen and watch that famous Turkish series, boys and girls even talk about what happened in the series on their way to school. Manar and Farid became two of the heroic personalities in the village. No wonder that TV is their only companion and refuge from the outside cold, cruel world. I felt empathy when I saw the girls pleading to Allah to bring the electricity back, but when they lost all hopes they wrapped a blanket around them refusing to do anything else but sleep. Indeed, it was a very sad and dark night; there was no fun or entertainment as it used to be when we gather up around the dinner table, everybody was complaining all night long. Perhaps this because my host family knew that tomorrow will be another day of drudgery.

Untitled4Indeed that Wednesday morning was even horrible, in addition to the absence of electricity; there was no water in the faucets, no phone service, and no transportations available! I woke up late to find the snow reached 5 or 6 feet and realized that snow is not fun anymore. Again all villagers were up in their roofs washing the snow away, I no exception brought a shovel and a spade and begin the hard work that lasted for about 4 hours. This time I received no help from villagers. My host dad, who used to give me a hand, went to Laazib to shake on his little poor goats and give them something to eat, and drink; they are his second family and the only resource of living. His wife, Lalla Aicha, and her daughter went to the other village to fetch water and bring some firewood. This was the case of rest of villagers, everybody was busy surviving the snow and anxious about the bad weather.

UntitledUp in the roofs I was fighting the snow, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to finish the task, and the snow was giant enemy! When I surrendered, I felt I became wet and felt terribly exhausted. However, I took a tour around the village to see how other people spend this day. I figured the entire village was drowning in the snow and life became so harsh. Some goatherders couldn’t go to “Laazib” and bring food to their poor hungry goats, women couldn’t go to the forest as well to bring firewood or water from other springs, children couldn’t go to the school because the river was flooded, men couldn’t go to the souk because transportation couldn’t move in snowy roads, water was unavailable because pipes were blocked by snow, electricity was unavailable as well as the phone service… The harsh reality of living in the mountains became naked to my eyes! I felt really down and sleepless the last three nights, completely isolated from the world and deeply sinking in my thoughts. I was wondering, what a strong men superhuman could do to give a hand to these people in this situation??? But when everything is said and done, I’m no superhero, just a CorpsAfrica volunteer.  The hunger is ugly and these souls are forgotten. This made me feel really helpless and couldn’t do anything about the situation.

However, the sadness of the fate turned out to be fun; A Moroccan proverb said that “A lot of concerns makes one laughs from ear to ear” I told my host dad “I’m intending to call the Helicopter to take us all so far away from here, to another warm and cozy planet where there is plenty of food and game and you don’t have to work anymore, but unfortunately, for you, there is no phone service!” my host dad indeed laugh from ear to ear and this turned out to be the fun joke of the day. My host dad told it to other villagers who at least appreciated my good intentions. At night I lit candlelight as usual; I held my pencil and wrote about this, hoping that maybe I can save the world someday with my words!

Why Mina Wants to be a Volunteer!

Written by: Mina – CorpsAfrica/Maroc Volunteer
Date: April 3 2015

Salam dear followers, readers and my friends… I hope my first blog find you in a great mood.

First of all let me introduce myself to all of those who don’t know me yet 😉 I’m Mina but my friends call me Amina. I’m from Ouled Taima. I got my B.A in English studies, majoring literature in 2013 from Ibnozohr University Agadir. since that time I have been doing volunteering, community works and leading local and national camps. I worked as an Executive Assistant of the association AL INSAF for rights of women and children in difficult situations in Ouled Taima. I facilitated English spring and summer camps at the youth centre in/of Ouled Taima and in El Jadida. I co-led a GLOW camp (girls leading our world) in Tafraoute with Peace Corps Volunteers.  This later trained me to lead empowerment activities. With my training I led a brain storming session on how to be a good leader. I also participated as a volunteer with Fifa World Cup in 2013 at Agadir Adrar stadium.

And yes, here I’m doing volunteering again which I love so much, but this time, I left my life behind, my home, my family, my friends and my association, in order to join this program and live far away from my small city, in a remote village without some basic needs such as running water at home … with other people whose culture, accent, food, way of dress are totally different from mine. Yet I’m here within their community; so as to adopt, integrate and survive as they have been doing since their birth, and the main reason behind these things is; simply that “feeling deep inside”.

Besides what I have mentioned above, I’m a kind of person who enjoys new experiences, loves the adventures, which allow me to challenge myself and become more patient, and eager to learn more about others’ life and culture. CorpsAfrica does not only give me the chance to do so, but also a chance to bring the positive change, serve the humanity, develop my country, improve my personality, share my knowledge and experiences with others, build social skills and build good reports with my community and I’m so grateful to be part of this amazing program, and I’m also very glad to participate in spreading the notion of volunteerism within Moroccan youths, who grown up with a strong desire and had an ambition to bring the positive change to our country.

Finally, I believe that “instead of sitting at home complaining and blaming the government for everything why don’t we step forward to make a change and to discover a part of our Morocco” and as it is said the more we travel the more we learn.

Thank you so much dear followers, readers and my friends for reading my blog!

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