Chloe Davies Morocco

Names of staff involved in your programme: 

Rachid, Abdullah, Nora, Fatima, Fatine.

What members of staff do you remember the most and why?
All of the co-ordinators, especially Rachid, Abdullah and Fatima for being looking out for us constantly and for making us feel really welcome in Marrakech. They helped us get into the swings of things really quickly and had such big hearts. They are a credit to the company. Also, the cleaner was amazing, she worked so hard constantly and also deserves more credit.

What were your impressions of the accommodation?
Cosy! Rachid did really well in maintaining it. As soon as there was any sort of problem, he was there to fix it.

Why did you want to volunteer?
To broaden my horizons, see more of the world and for the feel-good factor.

Do you feel you made a difference, how?
Some projects were really direct, like the feeding programme and it was satisfying to know that at least for one day, a big group of people wouldn’t be going hungry. Also, whilst I may not have felt I was personally making a big difference to lives of the orphans, I knew that by being part of open hands, the children were getting outside stimulation that they wouldn’t have got otherwise.

What did you do for fun?
Went on trips organised through Rachid and his team. Went to the souks and explored Marrakech.

When was your most enjoyable experience, do you have an interesting story?
We went and volunteered at the Scout Camp in Casablanca for five days and it was amazing just to interact with the children, some of which had never seen or met a Westerner before. It was magical to see how much they were enjoying themselves; being part of it was an honour.

Who did you make friends with and for what reasons?
Several volunteers who arrived at the same time as me; we did a lot of projects and trips together so it was easy to bond.

What were the names of the best places to hang out and socialise, why was this?
The souks and the food stalls are brilliant in the evening for the atmosphere.

Would you considering going again or perhaps to another project with Original Volunteers? Please explain why.
I would probably not go back to Marrakech for a while because I feel like I managed to thoroughly explore it but I would definitely consider doing another project with OV while I still have the admin fee paid for.

What would you say/recommend to a friend who was interested in volunteering?
Definitely check out Open Hands – they are doing brilliant work out there. I would suggest to anyone who wanted to do intense volunteering to check out school term dates because in the summer when the kids are on leave, there wasn’t always enough to do.

What items would you suggest future volunteers pack?
A bit of comfort food, especially as imported foods can be so much more expensive. Plenty of rehydration sachets and immodium because even if you don’t get ill, one of your friends will.

Could you offer any tips to future volunteers?
It’s hard to fit in volunteering during term time for students but if you want more intense volunteering you need to go when the Moroccan children are in school. If you want it more relaxed, summer is perfect. The weather is very hard to handle in August but the later part of September is much more manageable.