As finals week came to a close, fifteen Haverford students let out a collective sigh of relief and began to pack their bags in anticipation for the coming week and a half away from home. The group would travel with three other schools through four major cities in Morocco.
Arriving half asleep after the long-haul flight to Casablanca, we were barely awake when we arrived at Mohammed V International Airport.
The ocean breeze was a welcome sensation after leaving the stuffy, cramped plane and waiting to pick up our bags. We stayed in Casablanca for less than a day; going first to the 690-foot tall white marble Hassan the Second Mosque, named for the late king of Morocco. It sat perched atop a foundation peering over the Atlantic coast.
We spent most of our time touring Rabat, Fez, and Marrakesh, where we learned a lot about the blend of peoples and traditions that make up Moroccan culture, food, and language. While beautiful, it is sadly also this blend that is the root of some of their societal and economic problems. After several classes at a cultural learning center in Rabat learning about these issues, we split up into groups to develop hypothetical plans in order to correct some of the systems that take advantage of the land and rural/indigenous people of Morocco as well as benefiting the environment and people.
The rest of the time we toured the landscapes of Morocco: sightseeing in the Atlas mountains, touring the bustling marketplaces of Fez and Marrakesh, stopping at rural farms to eat one too many platters of couscous or tagine lamb. Some of the most memorable things from our trip were the many flights of uneven steps, the gorgeous countryside, the stench of the tannery, the scenic Atlas mountains.
We came in as strangers to each other and the country but left knowing more than we expected.
Most memorable were the friends we met in the few days together. We came in as strangers to each other and the country but left knowing more than we expected about both each other and the country.