Fourth of July, Project Design and Management. June 30-July 4, 2019
My English teacher/Counterpart spent Saturday night at my house, and then we were headed to the Capital for a training meeting. Even though I had made a reservation for two seats on the 5:30 small bus to Fes, the bus was no where to be found. Some men told us he was not coming today. Gee thanks. The bus driver/ owner was not answering his phone. Fortunately, there was a cab, a rarity at that hour. We had to buy all 6 seats and pay a little extra to go to all the way to the train station, but you do what you must. This put us on an earlier train and so we had time for a little site seeing. After dropping our bags at the hotel, we took another train to Casablanca. I wanted to do a little logistical research for a future trip. We saw the Hassan II Mosque (biggest in Africa, 5th largest in the world, tallest minaret, and the only Moroccan mosque to allow non-Muslims), which sits on the ocean. We enjoyed a fish lunch and then, after getting the initial misdirection from the Rabat ticket agent, we found a very knowledgeable guy in Casablanca, followed by a complete nitwit at the second Casablanca station. It was a VERY good thing I did this in advance. Two of the stations had Starbucks and I treated us to Grande iced mochas. Mmmmm, a little taste of home. Back to Rabat.
We connected with the nice young man from the day in Sefrou, and he treated us to dinner and toured us around the city.
Monday through Thursday, we attended a workshop on Project Management and Design. The focus is on learning to use input from your community to design small projects (sometimes resulting in small grant applications, but not always) that will utilize local assets to improve the lives of youth and thereby the community. Some examples include libraries, environmental clubs, hiking clubs, yoga train the trainers, film club, board game club, and much more. Ours was supposed to be a Leadership Club, but it crumbled when my CP needed to really make the time commitment. Naturally, I am disappointed, but will re-group. Still, good lessons learned. In the evenings we visited many local sites, including the mausoleum of the last King, Mohammed V, the old medina, the small blue city, Kasbah, ocean, river marina and more.
I am currently sitting in an empty mezzanine of the hotel, writing. The sessions are finished and I travel tomorrow (after a dental cleaning) to the summer camp in the mountains.
It is Fourth of July and I am really homesick. If I were in Oakville, I would be at The Skillings’ Fourth of July party, with so many friends. There would be a huge BBQ covered with chicken. Bret & Debbie have a wonderful home and garden, with all the flowers blooming in red, white and blue. Everyone would bring a dish to share. We would shoot fireworks and make s’mores. Still, there is a strong Moroccan tie on this holiday. Since Morocco was the first country to recognize the United States as a Country, who knows, we might not be celebrating today without this friendship.