It feels a little strange to be writing about my return to the States once I have already made it overseas again – this time to France for my MA. That’s my own fault for not updating my blog in the two months since I left Morocco. I think I was too busy relaxing with my family. Anyways, this blog is about my Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship in Morocco, so what’s the point of this entry? Well, my scholarship didn’t end when I left the country. Part of my obligations were to share my experiences with people back home, including through giving presenations at Rotary Clubs. This summer, I spoke to three (Northbrook, Gleview, and Glenview Sunrise).
I will admit that there were a range of reactions from friends and family to my experience in Morocco, from, “Why on earth did you go there?”… to “That’s awesome, tell me all about it!” In my presentations to Rotary Clubs, I tried to satiate both the skeptics and the enthusiasts by packing as much relevant information as possible into 20 minutes, in order to leave plenty of time for questions and answers. I was impressed by the quality and breadth of questions from Rotarians, even though it was to be expected. They were interested in my daily activities, the history and culture of Morocco, the Rotary Clubs there, the impact of the “Arab Spring” on my experience, how Moroccans reacted to me being American, and my community service work.
Through these presentations I was also able to convey my deepest gratitude to Rotary for this wonderful scholarship opportunity, as well to express my hope that I served the organization well by furthering its goals of enhancing international understanding and putting sevice before self.
Speaking to the Rotary Club of Glenview Sunrise
Speaking to the Rotary Club of Northbrook
Il y a quelques semaines je me suis présentée au Rotary Club de Casablanca Lumières.
De même, Ils m’ont présente leurs projets différents et intéressants, et j’ai été vraiment impressionnée. Bien que le club ait peu de membres, ils ont réussi à améliorer profondément les vies de milliers de marocains.
Ils ont donné les examens oculaires gratuits aux enfants nombreux à travers le Maroc, et ils ont fourni des lunettes de prescription à ceux qui en avaient besoin. Pour les personnes âgées, ils les ont examinés pour des cataractes, et ils ont opéré gratuitement à ceux qui en avaient besoin. Avec leur aide, les gens qui avaient perdu leur vue pourrait voir à nouveau.
De plus, ils ont réalisé de projets pour aider les gens handicapés, donner des aliments et des vêtements aux pauvres, et enseigner les enfants au sujet de l’environnement. Leurs projets ne se limitaient pas au Maroc. Avec ses partenaires américains, ils ont envoyé des livres scolaires à Fukushima au Japon après la catastrophe là-bas. Et le Club a parrainé plusieurs Clubs Interact et Rotaract au Maroc (y compris dans les écoles de médecin).
Je voudrais remercier le Club Casablanca Lumières pour l’accueil chaleureux, et pour avoir partagé leurs activités de Rotary avec moi.
Avec Club Rotary Casablanca Lumières
English Translation: Read the rest of this entry
Les dernières semaines, j’ai assisté à deux géniales réunions de Clubs Rotaract à Rabat (Rabat Chellah et Rabat Agdal ILCS), et j’ai appris de leurs projets divers pour aider les enfants pauvres ou à besoins spéciaux / handicapés, améliorer l’environnement, et contribuer au développement de la société.
Moi avec une partie de la groupe Rotaract Rabat Chellah
À Rotaract Rabat Chellah: En recevant le drapeau du club
Avec les filles de Rotaract Rabat Chellah
Visit to Rotaract Rabat Agdal at The Instiutte for Leadership and Communication Studies (ILCS). Here the meeting was actually in English. On the far right is an American instructor at the university who supervises the group. To my left is the Club President, Soukayna, an MA student at the ILCS.
A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting Rotary Rabat New Generation. This is a new group in the final stages of becoming an official Rotary Club.
When I mention I have a Rotary Scholarship, sometimes people say things like, “Oh yeah, that group of retirees.” It is often assumed that younger people, still building their careers or with small children, don’t have the time to devote to Rotary. But Rabat’s New Generation Club — if the title didn’t give it away — defies these stereotypes.
I was very impressed by the energetic dynamic of the group and the action-oriented approach. They have a variety of great ideas already in the works.
Best of luck to you, New Generation, and hope to see you again!
Some of the New Generation group.
Me with the group.
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
I am very grateful for the warm welcome I received Thursday by Rotary Casablanca Californie, and to have learned about their many projects. It was especially interesting to hear from their guest who spoke about Operation Smile, which saves children with cleft lips. For my presentation, I spoke in Arabic instead of French- and I think it went quite alright!
Me with Rotary Casablanca Californie
Thursday I attended a meeting of a Rotaract Club in Casablanca (SADA). The group consisted of young professionals, including in the fields of business, engineering, law, and even a Moroccan women’s tennis champion. It was a truly inspiring experience to be with community leaders in my own age group, dedicated to working towards the betterment of their society and reaching out to those in need. The group is in the initial phase of planning service projects for the year. Among the ideas they are bouncing around include building a school and public park, organizing quality internships for top students from the public university in Casablanca, and providing support to other local initiatives. While I am usually unable to attend the group’s meetings, because I teach at the orphanage on Thursday eves, I am hoping to stay in touch and be of assistance to their projects in any way I can.
At the meeting
Rotaract SADA group pic. DEAR GROUP: Didn't have flash. Please send better pic. Thanks.