Rosie Cox - General Care Projects in Morocco
I came across Projects Abroad when I was still at school and, after hearing about their projects, I really wanted to volunteer. So on my gap year I decided to go to Morocco for three weeks and do a Care project.
Arriving in Morocco
I arrived at Casablanca airport at 9:30pm. It was my first time on an aeroplane so I had no idea where to go at the airport, but I soon found the member of Projects Abroad staff waiting for me. They showed me where to change my money and then we got into a taxi and set off for Rabat. By the time we reached Rabat it was almost midnight but there were still so many people, mainly children, out on the streets. I arrived at my host family’s house and they were so welcoming that I instantly felt right at home.
The following day I was taken in a shared taxi by a member of Projects Abroad staff, which was quite an experience and unlike anything I had expected. I was shown around Rabat so I knew how to get to all the important places and they made sure I knew how to find my way through the medina to my host family’s house. The medina was really busy with so many beautiful shops selling all kinds of things. I’d never seen anything like it and I was really excited to be staying in Morocco.
My Care project
On my first day at the placement I was really nervous about meeting the children, but when I arrived they were so happy to meet me and they all wanted my attention. We did many activities with the children including, on one day, taking them to the circus where they went on the trampoline and tight rope. They all took turns on the tight rope and then insisted that I had a go as well. I was apprehensive but it was actually really fun.
The children were always enthusiastic and willing to participate in new activities. They especially enjoyed doing arts and craft work. They did many paintings and drawings and really liked origami. They gave me lots of the pictures they’d drawn as presents and at one point some of the children decorated my hands with henna. It looked really beautiful and they were great little artists even though they were quite young.
On Fridays I had lunch with the children and enjoyed a rather big plate of couscous, one of Morocco’s specialities. As I wasn’t that good at French, some of the children found out how to say “enjoy your meal” in English. One of the children at the center kept asking me how to say lots of French words in English and most days tried really hard to tell me things he’d learnt in English.
I really enjoyed my time at the project. The children were always so lively and when they had music playing they all wanted to dance with me. When I took out my camera to get pictures of them dancing, they all wanted a go with my camera so I did end up with a few random pictures.
We played lots of games with children as well and over my three weeks the children even tried to teach me some games they played in Morocco, which I wasn’t very good at but it was fun all the same. I had such a great time and on my last day, two of the children came with me to the taxi stop and waited with me for one to come. I really didn’t want to leave.
My host family
My host family introduced me to lots of different food and in my three weeks with them, I only saw cutlery twice as bread is usually used instead. I found that many of the things I hadn’t liked before, such as coffee and orange juice, I really began to like in Morocco. I really loved the mint tea, which I had a lot of whilst in Morocco.
My host family had another volunteer staying with them as well as me, which helped me to settle in. On my first day she took me around the medina and down to the river in the evening, and even tried to teach me a bit of French. My host family were very friendly and my host sister even invited me to the beach and the Rabat music festival with her and her friends, which was great fun.
Traveling in Morocco
On Wednesday evenings all the Projects Abroad volunteers met up for a get-together. On one occasion we went to play pool. I had no idea how to hold a cue properly, but the Projects Abroad staff taught me how to play and by the end I was beginning to get the hang of it. All the volunteer evenings were really good and it was nice finding out about other volunteer’s projects, getting to know everyone and planning weekend trips.
There was so much to see in Morocco and on the weekends I explored more of Rabat, including Chellah and Kasbah. I also traveled to Meknes which was really beautiful. The weather in Morocco was always really hot and it didn’t rain once in my three weeks. It was quite disappointing to arrive back in England in the rain.
Volunteering in Morocco was such an amazing experience and not nearly as scary as I’d thought it was going to be. I wish I could have stayed longer and I would love to go back again.
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.