Volunteer Morocco Day 3 (Lost in the Souk and Meeting friends at the Orphanage)

Friday, December 30th 2016

This morning kicked off with a basket filled with all sorts of breads accompanied by jams,butter and orange juice. Guys, trust me when I say that the oranges in Morocco grow on magic orange trees because every single orange juice I’ve drank was pure heaven. I knew that from the first sip it was the start of something new and thus my love for orange juice came to be. The perfect balance between sweetness and citrus that it leaves me in awe on how amazing it tasted. Okay enough of this love story, here’s the picture of my breakfast:

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Our first stop on our agenda today was to visit another local hospital in the city. We had a fairly detailed presentation in a conference room about the statistics and logistics of the operation of the hospital including the number of in/out patients and the number of doctors, nurses and staff in ratio running the buildings. The hospital was built on a campus-like ground with multiple buildings new and old serving as specific sites for patients to go seek attention about their health. It was during this presentation that I finally put my observations together and learned that arabic, french as well as english were the main languages spoken in the city. After, we took a quick tour around the campus and I noticed that there would be patients waiting outside the buildings with their families instead of inside.

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Our next stop was the souk in which I was so much excited for because it involves shopping and buying souvenirs 🙂 A souk is basically a huge marketplace or a bazaar where people have their own stands and sell almost anything and everything you can ever need in everyday life and more. From fruits,breads,vegetables, souvenirs, household items, clothing, jewelry and furniture, you can just imagine how big the place was. One thing that makes a souk different from a mall or any other shopping center is that there are no fixed prices and so bargaining and negotiating is the way to go! Also, when you buy from a stall, the money supports the local and their families instead of big corporates like here in America.

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It’s easy to get lost in the charm of a Moroccan souk. There’s so much detail and so many things to look at. These are pictures of just one stall!

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After about 2 hours getting lost and failing to bargain right, we returned back to our hotel for a small break. It was actually call to prayer by the time we arrived back and a couple of us from the group wanted to go experience going to a mosque and witness prayer. One of the members was a muslim which was super helpful because she told us about the rules and etiquette of going into a mosque for example: covering our hair and shoulders and that men and women prayed in different sections. So we went upstairs to where the women were praying and even though I couldn’t understand what they were saying, it was like we were all praying together as one big family with no regards to race or ethnic background. As it was my first time experiencing this, it was really wonderful and uplifting seeing how devoted and passionate the people were to their religion.When it was over, we stayed until almost everyone had left for us to go in and take a look around the mosque, following steps behind our muslim friend as our unofficial tour guide.

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For our afternoon and evening, we visited a local orphanage and I stayed in the toddler’s room. We were strangers to them but it took no more than 5 minutes for them to run into our arms and let us play with them. The orphanage took in children from all ages ranging from newborns to middle schoolers. I learned that children at this orphanage do get adopted but as the children got older, the kids who were still there usually had a disability. That statistic was discouraging to me. So although I’m not a fan of entertaining children, I made it an important point to give as much of my attention and affection to the kiddos during my time there. There were also so adorable and really open in receiving our touch and attention as well!

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At night, there was a small weekend celebration on the beach for the new year and so we thought it would be nice to go out and watch it! Basically it was men riding on horses back and forth trying to recreate their historical war scene. There were shots fired but no worries, no men or horses were hurt 🙂

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