Monday, September 16, 2013

Casablanca, Rabat and Home

3/21/13 – Mifdal and Khadija drove Libby and me to Casablanca so we could see this famous city as well as catch the train back to Rabat.  We drove along the coast and again through very rural areas.  We stopped at the Casablanca Mall – very modern, very upscale – where there was a Starbucks and every top tier international store one can imagine.  The Mall is quite a stark different from the poverty that we drove through just a few km away.  After the Mall we had the wonderful opportunity to see and walk around the Hassan II Mosque.  This absolutely beautiful mosque is built right on the Atlantic shore and is a stunning building.  Unfortunately time ran short and we had to say our farewells at the train station; however, I know that we will see each other again.  We then all met up in Rabat at the same hotel as before and catch up with each other, had a debriefing session, had some time to explore the city and got ready for the journey home.

I am so thankful to IREX/TGC for this opportunity.

At the Mall

Starbucks in Morocco
 Khadija loves Starbucks
 You can snorkel with fish at the Mall for a small price..
 Hassan II Mosque - Casablanca
Rabat - two sweet girls at the Medina fountain

 The Mosque at Rabat

                                                                                                                         Libby and I in Casablanca

 Learning how to weave a rug in Rabat

Kawthar and Kristen at the bulwark in Rabat

Farewell Dinner at the Bouchaib's

Friday, September 13, 2013

Presenting and Talking with English Teachers in El Jadida

Also during the day Mifdal, Libby and I prepared and presented about the American Education System to all of the English teachers in the region.  About 30 teachers of English and some administrators came to hear us (3) speak.  Since Mifdal was an IRX fellow to the US, he had the opportunity to spend several months in America and working in our school system himself.

After the presentations we had a Q & A and a meet and mingle.  This experience was wonderful, educational (for me!) and the one-on-one exchanges and conversations were enlightening for the Moroccans and the Americans.


Building a Lasting Relationship

Today we completed and signed an Agreement of Understanding between our schools and districts.  We will bring these contracts back to our school for discussion and hopefully conclude a permanent connection between our schools.  It is great to build this relationship and have a “take away” to bring home.

3/20/13 - The Last Day at School and Sad Farewell

I had a sense of sadness and fulfillment this day as I was deeply touched by the heartfelt kindness, welcoming and generosity of the students, staff, leadership and Mifdal during my stay.  Today at school we took a lot of photos, had very meaningful conversations, exchanged gifts, sang songs and said our good-byes.



Mifdal's Farewell Video he made for us

Higher Education Visits

During my stay in El Jadida I was able to visit a technical college, a trade and management (MBA like) college and a full university in the area.  I found them to be very well equipped, modern and European-like.  At the MBA college, they told us that almost 100% of the graduates get a job offer and that 75% of the students are currently women.  This is a 5 year program with a rigorous curriculum and foreign languages, so many students don’t stick with it.  However it is very impressive that 75% are women and that this pathway leads to gainful employment.  This directly relates to the discussion we had the day before in class about women’s issues in Morocco.  At the 3 institutions were visited, it was amazing to learn that the number of women seeking higher education.  This can, and surely will, bode well for the future of Morocco.