I spent the last week in multiple cities across Morocco! We flew from Marseille to Rabat, which is the capital of Morocco. Upon arrival, we were greeted by our homestay families. Two other girls and I stayed with a the sweetest family ever – our host sister spoke fluent English but she works and did not spend much time at home. Our host mom only spoke Arabic, so we had to use a lot of body language to communicate, but it was a very funny experience. Also, all the food we ate was home cooked meals which were INCREDIBLE. We only stayed two nights in the Rabat with the homestay, but the hospitality and warmth of our host family, and Moroccans in general, made me feel at home and safe.
From Rabat, we drove to Fes. We spent all day in the Medina, which is similar to a market square with vendors who specialize in perfumes, spices, lamps, leather, food, and so much more. It has over 9,000 streets and 300 neighborhoods! It definitely felt a bit overwhelming with how fast-paced everything was and how crowded the Medina is, but it was an amazing experience. I put my negotiation skills to the test and bought a leather purse! We had some free time in the Medina before heading to dinner where I ate a camel burger (it was pretty good actually)! We only spent one day in Fes, then headed to a host family’s house in the Rif Mountains.
The drive to the mountains wasn’t too long (about 3 hours), but it was a beautiful drive. We were welcomed by a family who made us a delicious 3 course home cooked meal, and we even got to help and made guacamole! Although they didn’t speak English and we had a translator, we had an eye-opening conversation about their lives. We went into education available in the town, healthcare, business and economics, as well as fun leisure activities they enjoy doing! This was a very unique experience that offered a new perspective on life because we were able to see and learn about a different way of life – but we see how happy and welcoming this family was. This visit was my favorite experience in Morocco.
From the village, we drove to Tangier! We met with some Moroccan students at the DARNA association DRANA means “our house” in Arabic. DARNA centers are open houses, which are occupied throughout the year and are available to children, mothers, and families who need resources. With the Moroccan students, we had a discussion about Moroccan culture, education, health care, politics, immigration, and several other topics. This was also an eye-opening, unique experience because we got to hear from the voices of Moroccans and have them share things about their country.
From Tangier, we flew back to Nice. The Moroccan excursion was intense to be completely honest. Everyday we were traveling – I don’t think I ever unpacked my suitcase once. It is easy to feel burnout, and even start to feel fed up with everyone because we are spending literally every second of the day with each other. However, this was the most unique experience I have ever had in life. I am incredibly grateful to have been able to visit a country like Morocco which is so rich in culture, and the hospitality of the people is incomparable to anything I’ve experienced. I am glad to have experienced Morocco this way – and I hope to share this with many!