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An all new dinner! 

Tonight I had the best meal I’ve ever experienced! We came to a fish “market” without a name, chose our fish, and they grilled it for us right there!

They asked if we would like it grilledwith the heads on or off. Before grilling, I got to videotape and capture the preparation process. Much like fileting a fish Alaskan style! I got photobombed by a passing fish…

I must admit, I was worried about what we were getting into EATING our fish AT the fish market (would it be cooked all the way? Would there be seasoning? Would it taste funny?) These were all new fish for me! I was amazed at how yummy it smelled and how great it tasted. I was even talked into eating some of the head and off the scales.

I am actually eating of the scales here!

I love fish!!! See?

Camels are Amazing!

Last night we got a chance to go to the top of the mountain by the Kasbah, which are the old ruins of what is left of Agadir before the earthquake. This first Picture is the view of Agadir at night. It was quite windy!

This is the Kasbah! What is left of the original city, and the notches on the top are where the military men stood to protect the city from intruders in a time of conflict.

There were camels there to meet us and even ride. I wasn’t going to, but I remember how much students wanted me too, I am so glad you encouraged me to do so! Branching out of my comfort zone is an awesome experience and I encourage you all to do the same!

This is Mustafa. She is considered a baby and is 6 years old and stands 6 feet tall.

Mustafa loves to give kisses:

This is Mustafa’s owner and they have a great relationship:

Here, our host teacher friend, Youssef, my co teacher, Nell, and I are all enjoying our dear camel friend!

Everyone needs a camel selfie!!

And a miniature horse selfie!

Off to Agadir

The day has come to leave the capital city and venture off to our host community, for an entirely new adventure. I’ve enjoyed so much, from tea pouring to the comforts of being in a large group, and more!

Questions I am curious (feel free to comment on one of them below)

*What makes you nervous when trying something new?

*How do you prepare for something new when you don’t know what to expect?

*What is good about trying a new experience and what can be challenging about trying a new experience?

Moroccan Schools

I was so nervous to interact with Moroccan high school students, worrying what they would think of me, would they treat me funny, would they turn away from me, would I be “cool” or interesting enough for them. I can imagine that is exactly what it’s like to be in a country, or any environment, that is new to you!

They instantly were kind, caring, smiling, and completely interested in talking with us!

A few things about the students in Morocco:  they love to take selfies, they really like my tattoos, they love to talk about what they want to do after high school, many are interested in becoming doctors, lawyers, and engineers, they care a lot about their education, and they really like to laugh! Here are some pictures:

A few things about Moroccan schools in Rabat:

*The students have to work really hard to pass the tests, which is what they have to do to be successful in life and graduate.

*They aren’t allowed to have outsiders come in unless they go through an extensive process.

*Classrooms are quite plain with the walls often drawn upon, and the school itself is set up like an American college campus. Teachers write on a chalkboard!

*High school is grades 10 through 12 and is only for those motivated students (others drop out before).

*There is no room in the schedule, or money in the budget, for arts, music, or PE, and classrooms often have up to 45 students.

*A few schools have clubs that include music and theatre, and these students love it!

*Lots of students in Rabat, the capital, do sports outside of school.

Discovering Rabat

We got the chance to visit Hassan Tower, which was being built to be the biggest mosque and minaret in the world, in 1195. In 1199, construction abruptly stopped. What is left is the minaret (tall structure), 200 columns, and the Mausoleum of Mohammed the 5th where the king and his two sons are buried. Lots of people come here for prayer and to visit the sites.

Day 1 in Morocco

From the moment we got off the plane, there was a sense of wonder among the group. Stepping out of the airport, I was surprised by the tropical feel of the air and in the trees/bushes. A rush of feelings overcame me, other than exhaustion from the long travel (I left Anchorage at 7:30 AM on Monday, and arrived in Rabat around 3PM on Tuesday).  Being in a new environment can be overwhelming and intimidating, but also provides a sense of wonderment and curiosity. Here, the adventure begins.

These are legs of cows and are boiled to get the meat off. This was something I didn’t expect to see. I thought they were pig legs, but was informed that pig is not consumed in Moroccan culture.

Morocco is very proud of it’s heritage and religion. This can be found painted on a variety of surfaces.

Littering, I am told by a local teacher, is a major environmental concern here in Rabat, especially in the center of the city.

Much like other parts of the world, there is a problem with trash on the streets. This is quite interesting as Moroccans are known to have immaculately clean homes. There is a current movement to teach the need for clean and healthy environments.

The designs and colors of Moroccan art are so rich and vibrant. There are many large murals and paintings on the walls.

These fun carts that are pulled behind motorcycles are new to Morocco within the last 5 years. I think they are super cute!

Olives are purchased from these buckets. The olives here are amazing and like nothing I have ever tasted, with so much flavor.

These stalls are located in the Medina (city center and shopping area) where locals can rent out and create textiles (items out of fabric)

Stray cats are abundant in Morocco.

Vibrant blues are all around the medina and add a sense of richness, even with the crumbling of the walls.

Sometimes, a picture tells a story and sometimes, expressions tell that there are many stories within the lives captured.

The smell of fresh fried bread is a common occurrence while walking down the streets of Morocco.

Eggs are not refrigerated and are really fresh. Interesting how in America, we do things to the eggs that make them needing to be kept cold or they go bad.

Bread can often be found on a shelf, like you see here. This is an uncommon sight for American food locations.

This is a butcher shop, where meat is purchased. I am told by a local teacher that it is best to buy meat from here than from the Medina (like the picture of the cow legs)

This sign informs us that you cannot park here unless you work for the school. Arabic is such a beautiful language!

What a fun sight to see going down the road. What I really like about being in a different culture is that you always see things that are so different from what we are used to. When it comes to transportation, there are a lot of cars and vehicles I have never seen. More to come later!

Oranges are available quite readily and these bags are a creative way to showcase.