Today I had a lovely stroll through Rabat with Rotarians and many smiling children, when I participated in the Rotary Race for Peace and Friendship. Organized by Rabat’s Rotary Clubs, it was part of “The Week for Hope and the Future,” announced by North Africa’s Rotary District 9010. The weather was beautiful too! It was a first time in a few months that I left the house without my winter jacket. I definitely wasn’t expecting that I’d be suffering from the cold coming to Morocco from Chicago, but I didn’t consider the lack of heating, nor could I have foreseen that it would be an exceptionally cold year. Hopefully, the pleasant weather of today is here to stay.
On Tuesday I participated in a school trip to the National Library in Rabat. Opened in 2008, it is the biggest library in all of Africa and the Arab World, and it is also aesthetically pleasing with an air of luxury and modernization (in contrast to most of what you see in this country). According to our guide, the library was financed primarily with money from privatization of state-owned industries, including the sale of Maroc Telecom. Strolling through the stacks, it was clear that there are abundant books to be found on all subjects in Arabic and French, as well as sizable collections of materials in other languages, such as Spanish, Amazigh (Berber), Japanese, and Hebrew, to name a few. I was also told that there are listening stations with pedagogical recordings in a variety of languages. Registration for a year-long library card just costs 50 dirhams (about $6), so I will have to go back to check out what they have for learning Darija (Moroccan Arabic), and maybe I will try to learn some Spanish too. I guess being in Morocco is convincing me to become quite the polyglot!
The following shots are from the end of my journey through Morocco with my parents. We spent New Year’s eve in Essaouira, a charming port city.
Marrakesh, end of December, touring with my parents.
My friend Melanie recently shared with me information about a highly interesting film she produced in Morocco, called Tagut, which means Fog in Tashelhit (one of the Amazigh dialects). It traces the work of a Non-Profit Organization, focused on development, education, and culture.
Summary: “Ifni is a region in the southwest of Morocco. The climate is arid to semi-arid. It rarely rains. The women living in the Anti-Atlas mountains fetch water an average of 3.5 hours per day from wells that are unreliable.
Interestingly, this region is particularly humid. From December through June, the meteorological conditions create thick and long-lasting fog.
The film follows the non-profit organization Dar Si-Hmad (a husband-wife team, with collaborators from Canada, the U.S., Chile, and Tenerife, Spain) as they launch a fog-collecting project in June 2011 in order to provide drinking water to Amazigh communities living in the Anti-Atlas mountains.”
More photos from my journey through Morocco with my parents. This bunch from the South of Morocco, perhaps my favorite part.
Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity to travel through much of Morocco in a ten day road trip with my parents who came to visit me. There are simply too many photos and thoughts I’d like to share to share them all in a single post. But here’s a start, and perhaps later I will periodically post other snap-shops form the journey.