Chelsey Breward Morocco
Names of staff involved in your programme:
Rachid Assiraj, Abdellah Bentagouramte and Fatima Molyn. Also, Ken (unsure of second name) for a week of my stay.
What members of staff do you remember the most and why?
Fatima Molyn for her constant effort to make sure all volunteers were happy and okay. She would go out her way for you, from arranging sleeping bags on the camping trip to taking you for a hammam. Additionally, Rachid, for his welcoming nature and ability to organise extra projects you may want to do. And cooking me and Fran (a friend) lamb steak in his office. (So good!)
What were your impressions of the accommodation?
Staying in Riad 9 was very homely, and with it being a smaller accommodation to the main riad, it had the benefit of knowing everyone and feeling like you were in a little family. The facilities were basic, maybe some extra cooking facilities. However, this didn’t pose a huge problem to me.
Why did you want to volunteer?
It was to gain an experience which may become relevant to my future profession with working and supporting children.
Do you feel you made a difference, how?
In many projects, yes. To highlight a particular one, taking the streets children swimming and paying for them was my favourite. I felt we were providing them with an activity that we take for granted, but is a privilege to them. Projects with the street children resulted in creating friendships, through the activities and simply seeing them in the souks and paying for an orange juice for them. I feel this may not have made a difference to their life, but at least their day.
What did you do for fun?
I travelled to the Berber village, the second biggest waterfalls in Africa and travelled to the Sahara desert.
When was your most enjoyable experience, do you have an interesting story?
My most enjoyable experience was, as mentioned before, taking the street children swimming. Swimming around with five children hanging off you and trying to drown you was, tiring but so much fun!
Who did you make friends with and for what reasons?
With being the Riad 9 (the smaller one) I made friends with nearly everyone who stayed in that riad. There were no further reasons other than all the volunteers were friendly and great company.
What were the names of the best places to hang out and socialise, why was this?
New Town – If you are bored of eating out in the souks and want to get away from the hectic environment, eating in new town is a great experience. Its more up market and a bit more expensive (still cheap compared to home) and comes with a little more luxury. The souks!! Amazing place to buy gifts and get a great offer. The atmosphere in itself at night time is something to not forget. Or your own Riad – staying in and cooking a meal for all or a few of you can be just what you need. Then chill out or then head to the souks after a relaxing dinner.
Would you considering going again or perhaps to another project with Original Volunteers? Please explain why.
I am already considering doing another project with OV. I would choose a different destination, however. I loved everything aspect of my trip. The volunteering and interacting with the children, making new friends and experiencing a different culture that differs so much from ours.
What would you say/recommend to a friend who was interested in volunteering?
To go with an open mind and to make it what you want it to be.
What items would you suggest future volunteers pack?
Torch – we ended up going camping with the children and this came in handy. Face Paints – the children love them . Nail Varnish – as a treat, the girls loved me painting their nails. If going in summer – a sheet is all you will need and more than one bottle of shower gel. (It’s so hot, you would have about six showers a day!)
Could you offer any tips to future volunteers?
I really enjoyed Morocco in the summer, and enjoyed experiencing rammadam and then seeing them get back into normal life. However, in terms of volunteering, it restricted a lot of projects. So I would pick a time that isn’t rammadam.