Its been an exciting week!! We enjoyed a lengthy layover in Frankfurt filled with sightseeing (spectacular views from the top of Maintower!). We arrived in Casablanca on Tuesday completely jetlagged and disoriented, but still ready to take in the local sights. Spent the afternoon yesterday touring through the majestic Hassan II Mosque and walking along the rocky beach side where we saw lots of kids playing in the water, and even some brave local boys who jumped off the Mosque ledge into the water below!
Today we had our first site visit with a local partner. Helene of SOS Children’s Villages Morocco was kind enough to show us around the local project here in Casablanca, identical to their project in Imzouren which is listed on the GlobalGiving site. This project brings in orphans that have been abandoned by their single mothers, sets them up with foster mothers/aunts in the Village, educates them in the local schools and offers career and educational counseling when the children reach college age. Aliza and I met with a family that including one foster mother, two aunts, three teenage boys, two young girls and one adorable baby, Yossef! Then we toured through the workshop center where the children learn to type on computers, play musical instruments and paint. Aliza and I couldn’t have been more impressed with the project and the visible effect it was having on the community. All of the children were friendly, extroverted and enthusiastic to show us around. The bond between the foster parents and the children was tangible. As Helene said, “These children come to the Village at a young age and develop a very real bond with their foster parents… seeing that connection reminds us everyday of why we do what we do.”
This evening, Aliza and I enjoyed the gorgeous Casablanca weather (75 and sunny!) and wandered through the shops, sipped on delicious fresh squeezed juice and promptly got lost navigating the labyrinth known as the medina or “old city”. We will be heading down to Marrakech on Saturday… the 106 degree heat in the desert should be interesting! Can’t wait :)
Shonali is traveling to Morocco, Spain and France as part of the GlobalGiving Foundation’s In-The-Field Program. Follow her at inthefieldshonali.tumblr.com or on Twitter @BanerjeeShonali.