Noleen Dinia - General Care Projects in Morocco
After doing some research on volunteering abroad I decided to take part on a voluntary placement with Projects Abroad because it came across as a very well organised agency. I chose to take part in a project in Morocco because although I had already visited quite a few places there, I felt it would be a very different experience to live and work alongside the local people.
After being met by a Projects Abroad member of staff at the airport we went to change some money into the local currency and then I was taken to meet my host family Mr and Mrs Grellane.
As we were dropped off in the taxi by one of the gates at the old medina in Rabat, I didn’t know what to expect to see behind the walls. As we entered the Medina, I was overcome by how busy it was, people selling their wares, others cooking street foods and the amazing smells coming from all the herbs and spices.
The house of my host family was in the middle of the Medina and I was introduced to Mr and Madame Grellane (Said & Rahma). They also introduced me to their other guest who was also a volunteer who had arrived just two days before me.
The next day I was taken to " Amesip" by Asmaa, from the Projects Abroad office and introduced to Saad the Director. He took me around some of the classrooms where I would work as a co-coordinator alongside the teachers there. Amesip is a school that enables children to get a second chance at getting an education.
Although it was an interesting project, I didn’t feel that it was perfect for what I was looking for, so during my review a couple of days later I mentioned it to Asmaa and she suggested that I went to see another project. This was the "Assosiation Ennour" where I met Seddik- the Director as well as all the other staff. I felt very happy and knew that I had found the perfect place for me to work.
Association Ennour is a place where children and adults with physical and learning disabilities can go Monday to Friday to learn basic educational skills as well as take part in games, sports, singing and crafts. Here I made a lot of friends and was often invited to their homes for dinner.
Volunteers usually met up on a Tuesday evening at one of the host family’s homes. This gave all of the volunteers a chance to be introduced to each other and chat about their experiences. These evenings also gave us the opportunity to arrange days out and any trips that we wanted to do.
I had many great experiences during my time in Morocco - catching my first train on my own to Casa Blanca where I visited the Great Mosque was one of my most memorable visits.
Moroccan hospitality is second to none. I was made so welcome into people’s homes and tasted some really good cous-cous, harira, and pastilla, I was given a bucket of besaha (a sweet pastry) to bring home from my friend Imane’s mum it weighed a lot and I had to pay excess baggage for it when I travelled home, but it was worth it as it tasted amazing! After such a positive experience I really hope to visit Morocco again in the future.
This volunteer story may include references to working in or with orphanages. Find out more about Projects Abroad's current approach to volunteering in orphanages and our focus on community-based care for children.