As JFK once said, “We must find the time to stop and thank all of the people who make a difference in our lives”. Well for me that has to be the director of MCAS. He has done so much for not only for me but for our entire organization. Ali has helped our non-profit organization called Children's Global Alliance; where we teach ESL classes at Abde Salan Middle School in Rabat, Morocco. He does so much work to make everything happen including home visits with our students, excursions, and more. He works a lot behind the scenes, so the rest of the CGA group and I didn’t get to see a lot of it, yet he makes sure that every single student gets the best education that MCAS can offer. During our breaks, Ali would always compliment our work, and I would respond with “Thank you for letting me be here”
As our group did home visits throughout the 2 school weeks of June 4th-15th, My first home visit was with Hiba. Though she is not in my class, she was really excited for us to come and meet her family. We met her mother and her younger sister, and her father was working that day. We were greeted with a warm welcome and big hugs. Hiba wanted to become a music teacher because she loves music, and at one point wanted a guitar, but couldn’t because it was too expensive. The girls offered us to draw with them, and they showed us there family album, showing us a glimpse of their family lives. At one point in the conversation I asked Hiba who her hero was, and she said that it was her mom, and when I asked Hibas mother, she said it was one of her brothers that helped her a lot when she was growing up. Hiba’s mother also told us that she was really proud that Hiba was in the early stages of becoming trilingual in Arabic, French, (second most common language) and now English. Just from that home visit alone, I realized that these were some special kids, and I couldn’t wait to see them grow at the school.
Our next home visit was with Fatimazahra, she was a student that we thought in the advanced class. We were welcomed by her, her little brother, her mom, and her grandmother. Her mom greeted us with a warm welcome and beautiful smiles. They told us that their grandmother was entering the 1st stages of Alzheimer's and that Fatimazahra and her little brother would take care of their grandmother after school. Fatimazahra also told us that she wanted to be a cop when she grows up. We also talked about how life was different for Fatima Zahra's mom growing up, she wanted to visit the U.S. especially Colorado (that is where our group was from) and we compared to positive shift that is happening to Fatima Zahra's life right now in the country of Morocco. Fatima Zahra's mother was really happy that her daughter was becoming trilingual, because they thought Arabic, French, and now English! Also they offered so much food to us during Ramadan; the ninth month of the Muslim year, during which strict fasting is observed from sunrise to sunset, we didn’t want to eat because we would feel bad, but they insisted we did, because it is part of the Islamic culture to be a good host, so we ate, laugh, too pictures, and had a good time. I was really fortunate to meet these people and I couldn’t wait to see Fatimazahra progress in the future.
All of my students are really creative and they have so many stories to tell, for the last 3 days of work my partner and I assigned a culture based research project on Morocco. Our students researched so much from Morocco being in the World Cup, to how we could fix Morocco’s poverty, to how a Moroccan wedding is planned, and more! Whenever we said they had time to work on their projects in the class all I could see was joy, energy, and excitement, they would pull out there sketches, work on their drawings, and organize their data. The presentation day was one of the best experiences of not only my life but my students as well.
As the final day came it was really difficult for everyone. Especially when they asked if I will be back next year, it was devastating for me to answer with that I wouldn’t be coming back next year to teach them again. Even though it was only for 2 weeks I got to see my students grow not only in English but as young adolescents. All of this was possible thanks to MCAS, and Rabat will always be my home away from home. Teaching and learning from these kids was one of the best parts of my life, shukraan (thank you)