Starting to Say Goodbye

We’re just about a month away from leaving Morocco, and the goodbyes have started. In the past week we’ve said goodbye to all our students at the Dar Chebab (youth center) and all my students at the Nedi Neswi (women’s center). We won’t have much time to work in the next couple weeks so we figured now was a good time to have our last visits to each of these places.

And because our students are awesome, they threw us a party at each place (although Matt had to console himself with some leftover cookies from my party at the women’s center, since he doesn’t go there). We definitely felt the love from all these people who we’ve worked with for the past few years, and I hope we were able to communicate to them that we’ve enjoyed it and will miss them.

At our party at the Dar Chebab we got serenaded and there were lots of short speeches from everyone who wanted to say something:

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My party at the Nedi was heavier on the dancing and the cookies, but no less meaningful for that:

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It feels both triumphant and sad knowing that we’ve completed our service in these two places, but also knowing we probably won’t see many of these people again. In the next couple weeks we’ll have to continue our goodbyes with Moroccan friends, host families, and our Peace Corps friends – wish us luck!

– Cori

Health and Hiking

Last week I had the opportunity to join a group of 22 PCVs and Moroccan health professionals on a 7-day backpacking and health education trip. The route followed the 100 kilometers (62 miles) of Atlantic coastline between Essaouira and Imsouane. The trek took us along pristine beaches and incredible ocean-side cliffs and through unique and beautiful Moroccan villages.

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In four of the villages we stopped to lead health education activities. Along with several of the Moroccan health professionals, the other PCVs and I took charge of the youth while the other Moroccans led women’s health workshops. With the kids, we played games and led interactive discussions and demonstrations covering a bunch of different topics including healthy eating, mental health, and good hand-washing and tooth-brushing practices.

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After hiking and teaching we relaxed, talked, shared stories, and sang while we cooked dinner around the campfire. It was great to better get know my fellow PCVs and to meet so many new Moroccans. All in all, it was an incredible experience and one that I’ll remember long after we leave Morocco.

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We also made national news here in Morocco. Check out the broadcast here!

-Matt

The 9-hour Dance Party

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Last weekend, we traveled with a group of almost 45 to visit the eco-museum at Toubkal National Park as part of a week-long environment camp. During the more than 9 hours that it took to drive there and back, the youth had no trouble entertaining themselves with a continuous dance party – check out the video! Despite the months of planning beforehand and the exhaustion afterwards, this trip was one of the most fulfilling days of my Peace Corps service so far. -Matt