Amazigh Ahwash dance

The week at Zawyia passed by quickly, and without us knowing it was already our last day here. The previous night we had prepared activities for students at the school near the Sheikh’s house. These activities included a feelings chart, hand tracing and constructing a baking soda volcano that Lily and I was in charge of. The students at the school were curious, enthusiastic and eager. They were broken into groups of 5 and rotated between each activity. Lily and I were extremely exhausted by the end of the day as we chanted ‘Volcano! Explosion! Soap!’ consecutively with each group. It was clear that there was a greater proportion of boys than girls that attended. Some boys would share with the girls, but other boys were quite dominating. One boy that we met was 15 years old and this really surprised me. He did not look or acted like a 15-year-old boy, and didn’t know as much as I thought he might. Nonetheless, he participated in the activities and was a memorable member of the group. At night, the leaving party commenced. A massive dinner was prepared which included tagine, salad and all kinds of grilled meats. Unfortunately, I was not feeling too well during dinner and was not able to eat as much as I usually could. After dinner, the girls dressed up into traditional Moroccan dresses and the boys did as well. The night of dancing around in circles began! It lasted around three hours and everyone had a great time, even though we were all so tired by the end of it. The dance consisted of drums and singing by the band of men, and we all took side steps around in a circle. At certain points of the song, we would begin to bop up and down, which to many of us was our favourite part of the dance. As we danced, I looked around my surroundings and it was then that I felt completely consumed by the wonder of the night and the unforgettable time I had here in Zawiya. This week was definitely the best part of the trip, and I have really learnt to appreciate and respect the people living in rural areas as they can do so much with the resources they have. The caring and thoughtful culture of Zawiya has inspired me to carry a positive outlook and through ACF I have witnessed how much social support and development can do to improve and build a community in education, health and restoration.

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