Salam from Fes! We have continued to contextualize our experience in Morocco during the end of this week. The students are beginning to be able to communicate in darija (Moroccan Arabic). They have been practicing with their host families over delicious couscous lunches! The student have also begun their Independent Study Projects (ISPs). On Thursday, we attended a contemporary art show of Jess Stephens, an expat working with artisan communities in the neighboring town of Sefrou. The ladies also celebrated their first week in Fes with their first henna! We also were fortunate enough to witness the Moulay Idriss Moussem, a festival in honor of Moulay Idriss II. A procession of dancers and men playing the ghrayat on horseback paraded the streets of Fes - it was quite an exciting event! This morning, the group participated in a fascinating lecture on Moroccan Social Movements with Fatima Sadiqi. She gracefully wove the women's, Amazigh (Berber), and Islamisist movement together to give us a more holistic view of Moroccan contemporary society. We were blessed to have this fantastic opportunity and all left more enlightened! This afternoon, we had tea on a rooftop cafe overlooking Bab Boujloud with a Peace Corps Volunteer who started a couscous rolling initiative in a small village in the Middle Atlas. We will partake in the fun of making couscous from scratch in a little over a month. So friends and family, look forward to a feast when your Global LAB student returns! Morocco is one of two North Africa/Middle East countries to host Peace Corps (the other is Jordan) and there are over 250 Peace Corps Volunteers in Morocco. Peace Corps Volunteers here are working in youth development, health, small business development, and environmental protection/conservation all over the country. Over sips of atay (Moroccan mint tea), the group learned more about the development, service, and cross-cultural experiences of the Peace Corps.
This weekend we will head off on our first excursion to the Atlantic seaside town of Asilah. Internationally known for its yearly Art Festival, Asilah boasts a quaint and colorful ambiance with mural painted medina walls. We will spend the next two days exploring this artist community - escaping the hustle and bustle of the Fes medina for a relaxing time filled with reflection on our past week and a half in Morocco and perhaps even a dip in the ocean on the other side of the Atlantic!
Our first henna after Jess Stephen's art show
The group with Fatima Sadiqi after an enlightening lecture on Moroccan Social MovementsDancers at the Moulay Idriss "moussem"
William discusses Moroccan literature with some Moroccan graduate students
Stewart learns how to wear a carpet during her apprenticeship with a local carpet expert