This first weekend has been very activity-filled. On Friday, we went on a tour of ONEP/ONEE (Office National de l’Eau Potable). We were given an in depth walking tour of all the different steps that are necessary for treating, monitoring, and distributing the water supply throughout the entire country. Water is such a necessary resource to our species as a whole, I think it might be one that many overlook or under appreciate. This tour was a reminder of that. We were guided through the facilities by Mustafa, who asked us to imagine having no access to water whatsoever for even just a day. Can you imagine that? A day doesn’t sound very long, but it makes you realize how crucial water is to our daily lives. Then add climate change into the equation, coupled with expanding population rates… It isn’t just being conscious of our consumption of water alone, everything we do has an impact and it’s so easy to forget- practicing what you preach can make you face your own integrity, question what the hell you’re doing here.
That night, a group of us went to the music festival that was in to, the Mawazine. We went to the African stage which was on the bank of the Bouregreg river and next to the Kasbah des Oudayas. We got to rock the Kasbah firsthand (sorry, I couldn’t resist). We watched a Fatoumata Diawara perform, she was amazing and the crowd was great too. We were surrounded by mostly young men, and man do they get down. It’s reminiscent of the Carlton (re: The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air if you have no idea what I’m talking about), but way funkier and more rhythm. On one side of us there was a huge group of dready kids, which I was rather excited to see this kind of subculture out here. I wasn’t expecting it, but it’s great! They danced with us, and they were so happy to be sharing the experience with everyone, I loved it.
Saturday began with an awesome historical tour of Rabat led by our professor, Ellen. I took so many pictures, I tapped out my cameras battery. My favorite part was the archaeological site, Chellah. We also saw the mausoleum of king Mohammad V, French colonial architecture, revisited the Kasbah des Oudayas (which has a cafe with a great view and a beautiful garden), and ended with a venture through the medina. That night a few of us returned to the stage at Oudayas to see a performer named Ebo Taylor, an equally excellent African rhythm group. I wish that wasn’t the last night of Mawazine! Or maybe I just wish I would have taken better advantage of the festival and gone every night…
The end of our weekend landed us at a fancy beach called Skhirate (I may be spelling this wrong, feel free to correct me anybody!). They provided chairs and umbrellas for 10 and 20 dirham, respectively. There were a bunch of guys patrolling the beach, selling fresh sugared doughnuts, ice cream, coffee, soda, candy, snacks, toys, and then some. The waves here are pretty huge, and there were a decent amount of surfers out- which I am going to try and attempt while here. I ended up with only minor sunburn, a major feat after having been out in the African sun for roughly five hours (can’t say the same for my roommate though!). A full weekend indeed, and I’m looking forward to our next one where we will be in the old imperial capital of Fes!