After many weeks of making arrangements, I finally taught my first English lesson at an orphanage in Salé, a neighbouring city flowing into Rabat. (The two are like the Twin cities of Minneapolis & Saint Paul). Today, I suppose, was a trial session. I tutored one student for an hour and a half, though in the future I will teach larger classes. Anyways, I think the lesson went well! By the end of it, the student was able to speak more articulately about what he does everyday in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening, and at night, and what he does sometimes, usually, always, and never. For homework, he will write a similar conversation, but talk in the third-person about his friend, rather than in the first-person about himself.
English is important to the future prospects of these orphans, and for economic success in Morocco in general. This is not only because of the significance of the country’s tourism industry, but also because of the U.S.-Morocco free-trade agreement, which entered into effect in 2006 and will likely have a growing impact as more American companies discover this place. And it’s generally beneficial for higher education to understand and communicate in what is increasingly becoming the international language.
As a side note, it’s easy enough to get to Salé by the tramway, a modern escape from the usual crazy traffic of the city. I almost feel as if I’m back in Switzerland while riding it. Actually, the Moroccan government seems to be very keen to invest in sophisticated transportation. The country already has a decent train system, linking its major cities. And recently, a decision was made to hire a French company to build a super-fast train (TGV) between Casablanca and Tangier. Though the project’s cost of a few billion dollars–and to the French– is raising protests from some quarters.