One week after arriving, Morocco has been everything but what I had expected it to be. Due to the veil of stereotypes that Western society has created about Africa and Islamic culture, I anticipated an under-developed country resided by judgemental citizens. I have found this to be anything but true; amenities are plentiful, the houses are built to keep cool without the use of AC, and the people are incredibly friendly and welcoming. In fact, upon arrival to our home-stay family in Hassan we were told that “our home is your home” and that we could call our host parents “maman” and “baba”.IMG_0670

Amongst many interesting and new experiences that have occurred over the past week, one that was particularly memorable was when Kelly, Lily and I went to a bingo fundraiser hosted by the Lions Club Foundation in order to raise money for underprivileged children with Trisomy 21. The fundraiser was held at a school and the majority of people who also attended were between the ages of 5 and 16, and to our delight some of them spoke English. Because of this we were not only able to play bingo, but also able to learn a lot about the lifestyle of the Moroccan youth. One thing I found interesting was that the youth did not follow the same standards of dress that most Moroccans follow; some girls were wearing shorts, torn jeans, and crop-tops, and some boys were wearing tank tops, t-shirts, and shorts.

Over all, the night was very exciting and we won Moroccan jam, olive oil, and a doll that was donated to the fundraiser from a large collection. We were able to practice our minimal arabic knowledge, and due to our host family only speaking French and Arabic, I have also been able to practice my long lost knowledge of French! This week has been a great start to what is going to be a great month, and I can’t wait to share more exciting stories about our adventures in Maroc!

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