RSIS Morocco: dancing, shopping and even more building

Posted: 16 July 2019

The team’s time in the local community is now coming to a close, and their hard work on both the school and the village path are paying off with both projects near completion. Saturday was market day, and many of the villagers have already tested out the village path built by the students! The team are over-joyed to see the difference the path is already making to the community.

Saturday 13th

Team one: village path

Finja, Varen and Yasemin were the day’s leaders and said:  “Today was the second time we worked on the village path.There had been a lot of progress on the steps so our job was mainly to bring down more material. We divided our team into smaller groups, one of which carried the sand, the second prepared the cement and the third dug more steps. There was a lack of workers from the village, because there was the Saturday-Market, to which they had to go and it was down to us to get the job done! Since we reached the steeper parts of the path, we had to work carefully on the rocky ground. It was nice to see how far we had come in only five days.

We decided to use the free time in the afternoon for reflecting on our trip so far. In the evening we had a movie night, which was filmed in Morocco. After that we went out for stargazing, which was such a nice view. Tired of the long day and we quickly fell asleep.”

Team two: cultural visit

Marie, Sean and Gabe gave their account of their cultural visit: “We started off our day with a hike that lasted around 45 minutes. The hike was all down hill and ended at a traditional Berber village where we drank tea in a local home. While drinking the traditional mint tea we learned about the history of the Berber village. The village we stopped in was the oldest Berber village in the Atlas Mountain range, being maintained for more than a thousand years. After tea we hiked back out of the valley for about another hour. Throughout the hike we encountered many locals and their animals along with amazing views. We finished the hike near the top of the valley at a traditional café where we ate lunch.

At the café we split into teams of 5 or 6 and learned how to prepare a traditional Tagine and a typical Moroccan salad with help from our guides, Potato and Idris. The Tagine consisted of oil and onion as a base layer topped with chicken, potatoes, peppers, carrots and zucchini. After we finished the food tower, we added spices, salt, and saffron. Once made, the Tagine was cooked over a fire for around an hour while we prepared the salad consisting of tomatoes, carrots, onions, cucumber, and peppers. Once the food was all prepared, the team brought drinks from the café where they cooled their drinks with a water fall that was diverted from a natural spring.

When we returned from lunch, we gifted our donations to the host families who welcomed us into their home for tea and questions. Many of the families had children ranging from 3 to 16. One topic of conversation was education, where we learned about their typical day with traditional school and Mosque schooling. Another topic was the importance of mint tea within the Berber culture. Tea makers being some of the most important and influential members of the community because good tea meant that people would come to you for advise on all matters surrounding the Berber community. The final topic of conversation talked about community and how close the neighbouring families are through the tradition of sharing in Berber culture.


Team three: Classroom


Whole team: The whole team enjoyed a relaxing movie night and watched fun cult classic ‘The Mummy’ (1999) in preparation for their visit Atlas Film Studios later in the week. Filming for the Mummy began in Marrakech on May 4, 1998 and lasted 17 weeks.


Sunday 14th

Team one: classroom

Team one, led by Husnaa, Sam and Sofia said: “Today Team one headed to the school for the last time today. The mini groups divided the work till lunch and then collaboratively started plastering the outside wall. We mixed and passed cement and transported bricks from the top of the hill to the school. The highlights of the day include mastering putting plaster on the wall and being served a variety of bread and condiments as well as mint tea during our break. It was a rather hot day and it was essential that we all stayed hydrated and rested in the shade. We left the school happy with the progress we contributed to.”


Team two: village path

Sunday’s team leaders Maya, Simone, and Gabby reflect on their teams last day working on the village path “Today was the beginning of the last cycle of our activities which for us began with the path. We moved the bags of sand and gravel down an assembly line to where the cement was being mixed by other team members. Buckets were then filled with cement and passed down another efficient assembly line to the people making the steps. Although it was tiring work and our energy was low because we are reaching the end of the trip, our group pulled together and we were able to accomplish things we hadn’t accomplished before. We took less breaks and were more time efficient which showed our character and perseverance. For lunch we had pasta, lentils, and fish which was a good reward for our hard work. It also allowed us to have a break before grouping together again for our reflections. This was a good time to look back on the work we had completed and reflect on our values. We all filled in evaluations for this experience and wrote up a detailed personal reflection for Round Square. Overall, today was a great day for working as a team, reflecting, and building character.”


Team three: workshop and shopping trip

Matthew, Tifuh, and Trishala describe their day of shopping “Today was another one of our cultural days and the team started by driving to an Argon Oil company ran completely by local women. The woman who gave us a tour of the museum was very passionate about her work and strong-willed. We witnessed the process of producing the oil for cosmetic and cooking purposes. After spending a good amount of dirham, we went to the top of the building and had a very tasty traditional Moroccan breakfast.

We then visited the town and shopped at a local market full of bracelets, bags, tagine pottery, baskets, and many more items where our negotiating and bartering skills were put to the test! We hopped on the coach once more and drove to an outdoor restaurant for another traditional Moroccan meal. Our hosts were extremely hospitable; moving our tables to an indoor room and served us with a smile! At the end of our day, we drove back to Imlil and stopped at another market and spent to our hearts’ content. Today’s experience has shown us not only all the cool goods produced in Morocco, but the hospitality and compassion of the Moroccan people.


Whole team: The whole team enjoyed a night of Moroccan dancing! The video explains everything:



Monday 15th

Team one: workshop and shopping trip

Led by Rory, Phoebe and Enling team one said “It was team ones’s turn to go on a cultural visit to the markets in Imlil and Asni. We started by visiting an argon oil cooperative where they only employ women. The women started by removing the kernel from the dried Argon before pressing the kernels in a mill with the oil pouring into a bucket below. We then had an opportunity to buy different argon oil products such as oil for cooking, cosmetic products and argon oil peanut butter which we got to try with traditional flat bread. From there we went to the local market in Asni where we had the opportunity to buy some traditional Moroccan products such as tagine dishes, pottery and jewellery. What greeted us was far removed from the Woolworths and Coles back home; a kaleidoscope of colours, smells, and sounds in the liveliness of movement all around us. After lunch – chicken tagine (again, though still delicious), we headed back to Imlil for a second shopping experience. Here we discovered, aside from an increase in wandering tourists, a marketing culture that surpassed our expectations and threw us headfirst into the art of haggling.”



Team two: classroom


Team three: village path

Monday’s team leaders Emma, Gaby and Melinda reflect on their days work; “Today was team three’s final day working on the path. The day started with a quick brief of what the day was going to be like and making sure everyone had all the equipment. We mixed concrete and filled buckets, passing them down a line of students to add the concrete to the steps. We worked together to divide work among all the students. In total, we built 15 steps today and ended up completing the path all the way to the top of the hill! Everyone felt hugely accomplished and proud of our hard work. It took longer than expected, but music, singing, and dancing helped the work fly by even with the hot weather. After finishing our work at the path, we returned to the Riad where we are staying and had a well deserved lunch. After showers and doing laundry we debriefed about the day and had thoughtful reflection time. Today was a particularly meaningful day since we were finally able to see our hard work pay off in a fully finished project. Our experiences today motivated us to work even harder and finish the school tomorrow.”


Loads of smiles:

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