With respect to the passing of Nelson Mandela, I’ve decided to reflect on my service while I have been abroad.
Living in America we are constantly reminded of the endless opportunities flourishing around us. As would any service where conditions are unlike your own, you are reminded of the small things. Never in my wildest dream would I think children, 14-15 years old, would remind me to reflect on my blessings. This past week I was given the opportunity, along with two of my classmates, to present a Human Rights presentation to a middle school class celebrating the 63rd anniversary of National Human Rights week.
For our presentation we decided to have an open discussion instead of speaking the entire time. To my surprise, the students prepared many questions for their American presenters. Our PG rated presentation turned into a heated discussion on topics of same-sex marriage, gender equality and the colonization of Iraq with the children leaving us adults no room for error.
Nonetheless through our wrecking ball conversation, one student stood out the most. Her main concern was why, as a Moroccan female, they are required to learn more than one language and us Americans can get away with only English. She asked what made me travel to her country with America’s abundant resources. After conversing with her classmates for an hour, I had no answer.
Many of the students in the classroom were learning English as their third or fourth language. As for me, an adult, I am still trying to master classical Arabic; which is their second language. She later informed me that although she had desires to leave her country to continue her studies there were many obstacles she would have to face. Obtaining a passport was only half the battle, being a female in a patriarchal society, permission was her gate that blocked the yellow brick road.
Reflecting on my process of choosing a country to study abroad and the tasks in order to finalize my plans, it is easy to travel to other parts of the world. All it took was to fill out a scholarship on my laptop, fill out paper work for my program and other tireless tasks. For them, if they are not able to speak French, which is the official language of their administration, or make above a certain amount of money to pay for these documents, their dreams of seeing the world are shattered to pieces. Not to mention young girls gaining permission from their fathers.
Overall, the small things that I have complained about are nothing compared to these intelligent children. Their dreams are bright and their thirst for knowledge is inspirational. After becoming acquainted with the kids and forming new mentees, I can honestly say my service will not end in Morocco, it will continue for a lifetime. nShaAllah.
More Blogs From This Author
<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 junior at Howard University, located in Washington, D.C., majoring in Journalism with a minor in Business Administration. Post-graduation I plan to attend the University of Miami and pursue a career in International Administration. I enjoy photography, writing, music and art. Traveling to Morocco, I hope to find a different perspective for my work and bring a little piece of the country back with me. I look forward to exploring different volunteer and activist opportunities. I hope you enjoy my posts about my experience!</span></p>