The CCS van dropped off me and my partner in front of a small storefront in Rabat, the capital of Morocco. Two or three people were already waiting outside for the door to be unlocked. They were to be our English students. My sister-and-law came with me to Morocco for a week to teach English to adults in a program for women, to give them the tools to advance their careers. What a surprise to find we had three men among the group of 8 students!
On the first day, we stuck mostly to traditional rote-learning teaching methods. By the end of the week, the lessons had evolved to mostly conversation, with occasional breaks to spell an unknown word on the whiteboard. We learned that Mohammad #1 (for there were two in the class) was going that weekend to ask his girlfriends' father for permission to marry. A big deal! Fatima#2 (another common name) was raising 10 children, and was herself one of 12. Zakia never had formal education and was the worst at English, but flashed the biggest smile and was the most cosmopolitan and stylish, a rare single woman in the city, and hosting an American abroad student in her home.
The way the students gently ribbed each other and laughed, yet always brought us into the joke, made us fall in love with Moroccans. Just a week, and they are part of my life. We're penpals, continuing to work on English.
CCS provided wonderful support, with a comfortable safe home base, amazing food, great schedule, and time for cultural training and field trips. The talk on Islam and the talk on reading/writing Arabic were my favorites.
I look forward to crossing paths again, and am glad I know this little outpost of wonderful Muslim people on the African continent. Can't wait to try more of CCS's African programs in Tanzania, Ghana, and South Africa. Thanks to CCS for providing a wonderful home base with welcoming efficient staff, fantastic food, and a safe neighborhood.