Sharing Cultures Workshop

So, my tutor here, Driss Laayadi, has become a good friend and confidant, and earlier today, he and I held a “workshop” at the high school with over sixty students, five Americans (including me), and two English teachers.  It was a huge, huge success, so I thought I would write up a little bit about the event and share a few pictures, which are also on my Flickr.  I also posted two short videos (just to provide a sense of what the workshop looked like) on the Vlog.

The event kicked off with a brief introduction (all in English) of the American panel, including myself, Avery Schmidt, Caity Connolly, Nicole Abrams, and Meagan Guilfoyle.  Each of us took a moment to talk about the Peace Corps, about the fact that this year, the Peace Corps celebrates 50 years since its founding by John F. Kennedy, and next year, the Peace Corps will celebrate 50 years in Morocco.  We then talked at length about the three goals of the Peace Corps (to provide technical assistance and to exchange cultures) and about the four different sectors (health, environment, youth, and small business development) working throughout Morocco.

The conversation then shifted to a true-to-form sharing of cultures with the Moroccan students discussing their love of the King, couscous, and clothing, such as the jellaba.  We shared with our friends stories from our lives in America, as well.  What growing up in Tennessee was like vs. what growing up in Chicago was like, etc.

At one point in the conversation, we discussed holidays and were told about a day where youth will throw eggs at each other.  We responded by sharing about Halloween and how, the night before, people sometimes egg houses or throw toilet paper in the trees.  Someone yelled out something to the effect, “See, we are the same.”   It was a nice, humorous bonding moment.

When the workshop ended, students wanted to take pictures with us and then talked to us afterward about our experiences and our culture (and theirs).  It couldn’t have been a better morning.  It was just one of those days where we all felt like we were doing exactly what we were sent here to do.  The fact that the entire workshop was held in English (to give BAC students an opportunity to practice listening and using English), coupled with the fact that the workshop was so well-attended and generated such excitement meant one thing: it will happen again.  Maybe even multiple times.

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