A promise made is a promise delivered!!
I have ANOTHER update!!!!
I wanted to add to a post I made about 6-7 months ago, about what we do everyday…. if you need a refresher, you can see it here. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, Morocco has started to feel a little more comfortable. I feel that this is measured in a NUMBER of ways… 1) we usually see people we know while walking around- not everyone of course, but usually one or two familiar faces 2) we usually have something to do 5-6 days a week (much to Tyler’s chagrin) AND 3) shhh, don’t tell anyone this but….
sometimes I do feel a little sad when I think about how fast time has gone and about leaving
In addition to providing you with some more information about what we do, I also promised some information on some programs that we are involved in… so here goes!
Not the favorite activity, but I will say it has definitely helped us to get to know people in the community! During the summer we were each teaching a class, Tyler had beginners and I had intermediate, we each had about 5-10 students, depending on the day. Then in the fall, I took the beginner and advanced classes, Tyler had two classes of intermediate, and we were teaching four days a week. We had a SUPER successful Hfla (party) in December to celebrate the achievements of our students. We even had an amazing “newspaper” that Tyler worked incredibly hard on so show all of our students accomplishments! At the Hfla we had certificates, music, some presentations and (OF COURSE) tea and cookies!! It was a good time!
Then in January we started a new set of classes… although this time we have had a little harder time controlling the numbers. I am still teaching the beginner class, but now we have two. During the week, my class has anywhere from 12-20 students and in my Saturday class, I usually have about 8-10 people. I still teach the advanced class, which is fairly small, ranging between 4 and 8 students. This class is small because it is technically a level 4 class, an addition to last “semester”. Tyler teaches the intermediate classes, the level two and three. These classes are bursting at the seams, they usually have anywhere between 15 and 25 kids, all at different levels. Tyler definitely has his work cut out for him. Our mudir (director/supervisor) is still trying to add students to our classes… and so far we have had to turn them away :/, which can be seen as a positive, but is hard to do! We are hoping to do another party in May- and we shall see what the summer holds! So far, our English classes have been a success!!!
I am still attending classes 3x a week at our Sports Center!!! It has been amazing and I feel like I am really getting to know the workout teacher (the Moroccan Jillian Michaels) who happens to be our neighbor!!! Sometimes we chat across rooftops! 🙂 I am still hoping an opportunity for me to teach my own classes comes about, but for now this is WONDERFUL!
I am still attending these classes about 4x per week… although things have gotten a little busier so I may not be able to attend as often… more on that in a little bit! But these women are absolutely amazing and I feel a special bond with several of them… after I returned from Figuig- a lot of them seemed really excited to see me. This of course, warmed my heart and really makes me feel apart of the community.
The ACCESS program is an intensive English language learning program funded by US Embassies in different countries all over the world. The program is sustainable because it is run by in-country nationals. So, with this program, Tyler and I have only been helping out. All of the English is still taught by Moroccan English teachers- who are all wonderful! The ACCESS program has given us the opportunity to engage students in a higher level conversation about social issues i.e. human rights, poverty, and environment. Here is a link to a video that one of the English teachers made to culminate the recent section on human rights!
Tyler has been working really hard to prepare a trash pickup, volunteering at the local Orphanage for Boys and the Nursing home for the coming months, so hopefully all of those things work out!
Space of Women Association:
The translation is a little rough in English, it definitely sounds much better in Arabic. But this has been a recent development for me. Back in December, I attempted to start a girls club at the Dar Chabab. Well, that didn’t exactly go well BUT* in January, one of my students (who I was trying to start the girls club with) told me that she was involved in a BRAND SPANKIN’ NEW Women’s association!! She asked, “Do you want to join?” UHM! YESSSSSSSSS!
I have been to a couple of meetings and it has been amazing!!!!! We had our first event yesterday to celebrate the Prophet Mohammed’s birthday (keep in mind the ACTUAL day was January 19th- but in Morocco, that is just a minor detail).
Here are some pictures from the event:
Again, my jelaba appears in all its glory! Its a little big on me, but it was a tremendously generous gift and I ADORE* the color! I don’t look as amazing as my students though, Rajaa is in the teal on my left and Assia is in the blue on my right!
I am not sure what else this association will do, but from the last week, it seems full of AMAZING, influential women who are ready to get things done! Definitely my type of people!
English Teachers club:
This is something that we have only been able to do once so far, but we are hoping to do another meeting in the next couple of weeks. With the help of our favorite English teacher, we hope that this club will bring together the English teachers in Larache to talk about their struggles and successes in the classroom! The first meeting was a big success!
Those are all of the projects that we have going on right now, we hope to start some new projects in the coming months including:
International Women’s Day (March 8th)- we have had one meeting and it looks promising to hold a round table with several associations in Larache, including, of course The Space of Women!
6-week Business Class
Earth Day (April 20th)
Global Youth Service Day (April 26th-28th)
Assilah/Larache Track and Field Day!
Regional GLOW camp!
And… some things have been mentioned with associations who focus on University students… this obviously would be my dream so I am trying to keep my hopes on a lower level.
I am sure that all of this work has helped us to feel more established and wanted in our community. Some days are still a little tough, especially when it is cold and rainy, but shwiya b shwiya we are developing those YOUTH!