I couldn’t think of a better way to close off our last program trip other than the weekend we just spent in the Berber Village. From the bustling medina streets of Fez, to the majestic sands of the Sahara, to the charm of Southern of Spain, little did I expect that 3 days out in the middle of nowhere would be my favorite excursion yet.
Maybe it was the humbleness of it all that made the experience so special. While every other trip so far has been nice hotels and all-inclusive meals, there was something about preparing our own food by the fire, or having our only shower in three days be the collective trip to the village hammam, that helped me really see the beauty in the little things of this country. I think back guiltily on how I spent too long in my more challenging moments, where I fought to adjust to this culture, wishing away my time here. I realized how easy it was to become overwhelmed in tourist city streets. I found that the true personality of this country is where almost no tourist roams.
In three days we hiked forests in the Middle Atlas, saw monkeys, rode donkeys, and dined in huts along a waterfall. We attended a traditional music and dance performance and a horse show. We sat in nomad tents and shared our Friday couscous. We spent time with village children, colored pictures, and played Frisbee. We realized, most importantly how lucky we were to call this country our temporary home.
On the second night, we spent the night in the homes of Amazigh families. With my limited Darija, there wasn’t a lot of conversation, but conversation wasn’t necessary. The charades and gestures were all that were needed. It took no words to feel the warmth and hospitality my host mother greeted me with. Everything felt so genuine. We never went with empty bellies (or anything less than completely stuffed, to be more accurate), or a second unentertained. Our host mother even took the time to dress us in traditional clothing to go milk the cows and decorate our hands in homemade henna. My sole complaint is the Turkish toilets, but hey, that’s all part of the experience, right?
It was bittersweet thinking as we packed the buses we’d been using for trips all semester to head back to Rabat, that this would be our last time doing so. This trip was definitely a case of the best being saved for last. In conclusion, there’s nothing that can make you appreciate a place quite like embracing its pure simplicity.
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<p>Assalamu Alaikum, Bonjour, Hello! I'm Camille and I'm currently in my second year studying Political Science and International Studies at Loyola University Chicago. I'm thrilled to be spending my semester in Rabat, Morocco and hope you all enjoy hearing about my journey! Expect bad puns and lots of pictures of food.</p>