Monthly Archives: February 2012

Rotary Race for Peace & Friendship

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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.

Ready, Set, Go!

The Awards Ceremony

The Awards Ceremony

Visit to the National Library — Biggest in Africa and the Arab World

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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!

Library Entrance

Inside the library, looking out

Mural across from library

The Port City of Essaouira

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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.

Interesting article about the city’s culture, history, and Jewish heritage.

Entrance to the Medina, Essaouira

The Port

Me in the Essaouira Medina

Goats in Argon tree along road outside of Essaouira. This pic was expensive, because when we stopped the car to take it, guys jumped out at us and in front of the camera, demanding payment before letting us take a shot.

Tagut (”Fog” in Tashelhit)

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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.

Watch the trailer.

Still from the film Tagut (MeljRey.com)

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.”

Saharan Nights

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More photos from my journey through Morocco with my parents. This bunch from the South of Morocco, perhaps my favorite part.

Camel Ride in the Sahara

Desert sunrise, Algeria in the background

Amazigh carpet shop in small southern village

Ait Benheddou, where many movies are made (e.g. Gladiator, Prince of Persia)

 

Snap-Shots from the Journey

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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.

Inside Hassan II Mosque, Casablanca. One of the few mosques non-Muslims are allowed to enter

Overlooking the ocean from the Oudayas, Rabat

My Moroccan host parents prepared a magnificent welcome tea for my actual parents.

Historic Synagogue, Fes

Shabbat-Hannukah dinner table, Rabat

KFC, Casablanca beach