Caitlin Smith Morocco
What members of staff do you remember the most and why?
I remember Abs my coordinator the most, he was welcoming, friendly and funny and really made my trip, Also Rashid was lovely and made me feel like if I had a problem it would be very easy to go to him. I also enjoyed meeting Amina the cleaner she made my day telling the boys off for being messy and even with a language barrier she was a motherly figure to have around.
Why did you want to volunteer?
I wanted to volunteer to go and experience a different way of life, although whilst in morocco I was hot and sweaty in hindsight I loved it all and would consider going back, I love the street kids and the baby orphanage and hope I made some of them happy at some point
Do you feel you made a difference, how?
I do feel I made a difference, I do think the organisation needed improved but generally I know I made some kids smile and had fun face painting them and I fell in love with several of the babies, I also intend to send some clothes and other goods over from the UK now I’m home to them.
What did you do for fun?
One of the most fun trips was the waterfalls that we visited, jumping into the water after a long walk was bliss and I wish I had more time to swim there, the Sahara was also amazing and even simply going shopping and bartering in the souks was fun!
When was your most enjoyable experience, do you have an interesting story?
I don’t have a favourite experience all in all it was very fun and life changing, I loved just sitting with four beautiful babies smiling infront of me.
Who did you make friends with and for what reasons?
I made friends with several people on the project, najam, rainbow, pip and more they were all welcoming as they had been there before me, welcomed me into the group they had already formed, they were all from similar backgrounds or areas and we had a lot in common and had a lot of laughs together
What were the names of the best places to hang out and socialise
Stall number 1 to eat was one of the best, the food was fast, tasty, cheap and we got a friendship going with the owners and waiters, also orange juice number 1 was nice to stand and watch everyone go by, and he gave us a free half a glass of juice. Sesame Gardens was also a restaurant we visited lots as the owner was involved with original volunteers and we worked with him and a lot of the street kids he cared for.
Would you considering going again or perhaps to another project with Original Volunteers?
I would consider visiting Morocco again and seeing the people I met but perhaps wouldn’t go with Original Volunteers, if I was to do another project however I would have to choose something that was cheaper.
What would you say/recommend to a friend who was interested in volunteering?
I would say that original volunteers is a good experience and company, however patience is needed as often you are left waiting or are not told things but perhaps that is just the culture in Morocco
What items would you suggest future volunteers pack?
As a very pale person factor 50 was my best friend I only got burnt once in 3 weeks which was a good effort, cool harem type pants, that you can buy there very cheap, are comfy, dry quick and you can’t tell if your really sweaty! Also a good pair of flip flops because you won’t wear anything else! Plenty of vest tops preferably dark coloured, anything white you take over there will never be white again as the air makes you dirty!
How much money would you suggest you take per week?
For three weeks I spent about £500, its cheaper to eat out in the stalls than it is to cook in and often u wont want to cook in the kitchen its too hot! Also there is a lot of shopping to be done I came home with two bags and plenty souvenirs and I did waterfalls, two day Sahara trip, and other things such as using hotel pools on days off, I would say £150/£170 a week is a good estimate for an average trip.
Could you offer any tips to future volunteers?
You do not need to take a rucksack, the taxi picks u up and drops you off right near the riad so take a case if u want especially if it’s a long trip, their heavy! Barter with everyone, don’t be intimidated the Moroccans love English people, we are their business, don’t be afraid to offer them a very little price or to spend a good 15 minutes getting something you want. Drink water, and lots of it, atleast 2.5 litres a day it’s the best way to avoid illness, and take some Imodium with you it may be your best friend!