Just a quick update on what the heck I am doing here as of today:
With the holidays, crap weather, and everything else that comes up with the kids and my boss at the youth center, I haven’t been working much and it’s driving me nuts. So, I finally found (after weeks of searching) another organization in Azrou to work with! I shot the director an email in English and Arabic and very happily received an email back in English. We met the very next day (today) and chatted for a good 2 1/2 hours. Omar came with me in case there were any translation issues, and although there were not, I was happy he was there with me. After talking about family, friends, marriage, travel, etc, we finally decided on what I would be doing with their organization. By the way, this organization is called The Azrou Centre. It is an extension of the famous Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane (the next town over, where I lived during training.) The purpose of the Azrou Center is to assist in community development (HOLLA BSW and MSW that I finally get to use!) The Azrou Center provides informal education for children ages 8-17 who are not enrolled in school due to economic issues, vocational diploma programs to young people and adults, SIDA/AIDS testing and education, and health consultations. All services are free for Azrou and our surrounding villages. The Azrou Center also hosts events celebrating UN sanctioned days, seminars and trainings on various topics, food and clothes drives, etc.
After a lot of discussing what the center is looking for and what I want out of this volunteer position, the Mudira (director) and I agreed on several things. I will be teaching about 6-8 classes a week; the classes will be English for the staff at the center, educational activities and games for the children, and fitness for women. I will also be assisting the nurse in charge of the SIDA/AIDS department 1 or 2 days a week with testing and education. Other activities that the Mudira is interested in for me to plan/lead include: International Womens Day, World Health Day, and Earth Day. We also discussed hosting health seminars, organizing a SIDA/AIDS caravan to go out to the small villages to test people, and holding events for the youth.
I am pretty thrilled about all of this. The Mudira is a kick-ass woman who is really down for anything that will better our community. Unlike some other Moroccans I have been working with, she is really eager to have me begin. She wanted my schedule right away, plans to have me start next week, and wants me to look for grants for any projects I want to do. The facility itself is pretty great with an extension currently being build specifically for the children’s classes.
Our next step is meeting again by the end of the week to solidify my schedule at the center. This is by far the quickest anything has ever gone for me during my 10 1/2 months in Morocco. It is actually pretty hard for me to believe and I’m hoping it is not too good to be true. I’m optimistic and enthusiastic. Yahoo! I will also still be teaching my advanced English classes at the Dar Chebab…
I’ll be sure to keep ya’ll updated as things progress. My first big project at this center is going to revolve around International Womens Day. I proposed the following four project ideas to the director:
- Paint Yourself as a Goddess Activity (would include painting, snacks, discussions, etc. Basically an event to use art to empower women)
- Film (title YOU CAN DREAM-made in Morocco, Moroccan Arabic) all about womens empowerment. Leadership seminar to follow (3-4 hours.)
- Health Seminar- WOMENS health topics. Sexual, emotional, physical health all discussed by professionals in each field.
- GET TO KNOW YOUR MOTHER/DAUGHTER event. Tea and snacks provided… participants will be mothers/daughters, aunts/nieces, grandmas/granddaughters asking each other things such as: ask them to tell their story. Ask them; What is good about being a woman? What is difficult? What is good about being a mother? What is difficult? What did you dream of being when you were young? What happened to that dream? What was your relationship with your mother like? How did you get your needs met? How have your needs been treated in the family? Tell me stories of how brave and strong your mother and grandmother were?
What is your favorite idea? Do you have any other event ideas?
Be well, my friends.