Friends on the Beach

Cynthia Velazquez
July 15, 2014

On the first night that we arrived here in Rabat we were taken to have dinner at a restaurant called Arabica. There we ate our first traditional Moroccan meal and danced with a traditional Moroccan band. We also made our first Moroccan friends. There were a group of Moroccan students and even though our language skills weren’t that great, they all gave us their emails and said to contact them whenever we wanted to go out with them.

Last Monday one of the other students on our program talked to them and they invited us to go out to eat with them. We were told that we were going to go have iftar at a restaurant on the beach.  I myself thought that maybe they meant at a later time because at the time of iftar everything is closed. But no. They literally meant to have iftar on the beach. And so we met them at the Kasbah near the beach. When they met us they greeted us like genuine friends. The greeted us with kisses on our cheeks even though not all of us had even talked to them. Now that’s real Moroccan hospitality.

We headed down to the beach and they asked us if we wanted to rent a chair or to sit in the sand. Since we were their guests we figured we would do whatever they did. And so we rented our chairs and got some tables. They started to take out food out of their backpacks and I am 100% sure that a look of dread washed over our faces. We weren’t told to bring food. All five of us felt awful because here we were eating their food when they themselves hadn’t eaten all day. I think we were all a little mortified.

The food dilemma put aside it was one of the best nights I’ve had here in morocco. The students were all really friendly and genuinely interested in what we did back home. One of the things that surprised me the most was how involved they were in their community. Even though they all looked older than us, they were just about our age and they were all part of an organization that focused on social work within their community.

When the night had fallen, they sang us songs in Arabic and we tried our best to sing some in English. Luckily, we have a student that sings very well and so he held the responsibility for singing in English. When it got pretty late and the beach was dark, we all had to go home. I’m pretty sure this is one Friday night that we won’t ever forget.


Photo credits to our friend: Maaicha Youssef

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Cynthia Velazquez

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">I am a sophomore studying at the University of Illinois at Chicago. In my free time I like to spend time with friends and family. I also enjoy going out to town and trying new things, such as food and activities. I like to explore new places. I am excited to be studying in Rabat this summer and I hope that blogging about it will help record all the experiences I hope to have.</span></p>

2014 Summer 1, 2014 Summer 2
Home University:
University of Illinois at Chicago
Biological Sciences
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