Bye Rabat, Hello Zawiya Ahansal

Leaving Rabat was one of the most difficult moments in my life. I can still remember my very first day since I was nervous to meet my host parents, and how intimidated I felt getting my own taxi as well as how overwhelmed I felt about learning Arabic. Although I felt those emotions on my very last day in Rabat I realized that it was all in my mind, for now, I feel as if I’ve become a part of Rabat. Now I don’t acknowledge myself as a tourist, I feel as if I am one of them too. My last day at Rabat made me realize how much I’ve grown up since I arrived in Morocco. I am able to get my own taxi, I can bargain, and I am able to have a conversation with someone in Darjia. Not only are those the reasons of why I miss Rabat, but a big part of my experience involved my host family. Living in another country, especially with a Moroccan household, can be both terrifying and memorable. Growing up I was always surrounded by my own comfort zone. This trip certainly took me out of it, as well as this introduced me to do what I am capable of.

Living for 3 weeks with another family and adapting to their lifestyle was definitely unforgettable. From changing my diet to my sleeping patterns was hard but possible. Moroccan families show their affection towards their guests by continuously feeding them. I know this because my host mother would say “Kuli Kuli” to Erin and I. I’ve always set my own portions and what I would eat, but living in Rabat challenged my food habits. Little by little I’ve incorporated bread in my diet as well as drinking Moroccan “sleeping” tea before bed. Not only has that changed in my daily routines but as well as arriving home and telling my host parents what I did in school was different. I mean it’s not like that’s uncommon for me to do, but the effort my host parents had in asking me how my day was, is something I can never forget and I am very thankful for. If I had the opportunity to change the program schedule, I would certainly stay in Rabat much longer. On the very last day at Rabat, every one of us believed that Rabat was going to be the best part of this trip, little did we know our minds were going to be blown away.

As we drove to Zawiya Ahansal I was determined that I was excited to leave and get back to Canada. But once we arrived at Zawiya Ahansal I was mind blown. Words cannot express how beautiful Zawiya Ahansal is. The landscape of this village was unbelievable. How the river flowed and how the houses were structured gave me a news flash. Growing up in Toronto made me adapt to the city life and the beauty of the modern world. But arriving in Zawiya Ahansal made me realize the beauty of nature. Everyone I passed by was so friendly and accepting. I slowly started to realize that it was normal for everyone to greet you and have a conversation with you. Nothing was private in Zawiya Ahansal, everyone knew everything that happened. We got to stay at the Sheik’s house, very similar to a lodging, and we were provided with warm meals and bedrooms. Not only was the Sheik caring but everyone who worked in the house and other villagers was all so welcoming. Everyone made sure our comfort came first, and that we were not left unsatisfied. The work and care that was put into our arrival were very thoughtful. I just knew after the first day that this week was going to be unforgettable and leaving was absolutely not going to be easy.

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