It seems fitting that this post should be written on my son's 5th birthday - a day celebrating growth and love. Those are the two words I would use to describe this journey so far. Growth, for me as a human. Love, for the love of the Moroccan people. There are three thoughts I'd like to share about this first week in Morocco.
1. Teachers are Teachers. We were able to spend time in three different schools this week, two high schools and one teacher preparation university. First, the "teacher look" is universal, as we saw when teachers attempted to quiet their students as we entered the room. With 40+ students in one small room, I am in awe of the work they do. They are over worked and under paid, much like the vast majority of teachers in America. They are asked to achieve amazing results with very little. What's exciting is the next generation of teachers, full of enthusiasm and a love for the profession, ready to dive willingly into less than ideal conditions. We visited some of the top high schools in Rabat and Casablanca, and classrooms had no technology, no cooperative groups - just workbooks and notebooks. Which leads me to my next point...
2. Kids are kids. These kids are stellar. Most speak 4 languages fluently. They study advanced mathematics and sciences. They are children of faith. But at the end of the day, they are on Instagram and SnapChat, playing Fortnite and hanging out with friends. They are passionate about education and safety. One student expressed her sympathy for the Parkland shooting and another had strong views on changing textbooks to better reflect the lives of students. Most looked no different from my kids in California. Although, I did love this one display of how they viewed American youth.
3. People are people. Although these people might be the best people. Their hospitality knows no bounds. I know without a doubt should I travel back to this country I would have a place to stay and people to look after me. Even though we are different in many ways, we share a common love of life and the human experience. To be welcomed into someone's home, to be fed and loved, is a joyous occasion. I can only imagine what visiting my host family in Fkih ben Salah will be like.
And I am off! My travel partner, Maria Zavala and I leave shortly for the next leg of this amazing adventure. Until next time, enjoy some photos. Peace.