Reflections on Morocco

evvan-morton

Reflections on Morocco

By Evvan Morton

My four week long study abroad trip to Morocco was the longest amount of time I have ever been out of the USA. Since I would be away for so long and traveling to many cities within Morocco, I thought it best to pack as light and as mobile as possible. I only brought carry-on baggage! This includes my Tortuga backpack and a small duffle bag as my personal item. In order to prepare for light packing, I also used packing cubes inside of my backpack. These allow you to maximize the amount of space inside the backpack. It was very difficult to pack all of the liquids I needed into 3 ounce bottles but somehow I managed it!

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Ghost Town near Midelt

snigdha-nautiyal

Ghost Town near Midelt

By Snigdha Nautiyal

Mines d’Ahouli, located besides the Moulouya river about an hour’s drive from the town of Midelt, was once a bustling mining town where lead, antimony and galena were mined by the French. Today it is abandoned – or so you would think! No matter how deserted a corner of Morocco you go to, you will find someone there. Aouli is no different.

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Door to the Sahara

snigdha-nautiyal

Door to the Sahara

By Snigdha Nautiyal

Merzuga lies at the edge of the Sahara desert. Sand dunes stretch out behind it for as far as the eyes will go. We rode camels for an hour to camp in the middle of the Sahara. It was close enough to still be able to see the town lights in the distance from the top of a dune, but far enough to experience the sun, the sand, the wind and the stars, and to imagine what it must be like to get lost in the endless ocean of sand in search for the kind of land that men could “conquer”.

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Chasing Rainbows in Ait Khlef

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Chasing Rainbows in Ait Khlef

By Snigdha Nautiyal

Our visit to Ait Khlef, a small village nestled deep within the Atlas Mountains and barely accessible by any motorized vehicle, was one of the biggest highlights of the program. Moroccan villages are often arranged in duars, small clusters of houses located at a distance from one another, with each cluster making up the residence of an extended family. The village we visited was arranged in this manner, with the school at least another 2-3 km (1.24-1.86 miles) away from the first residence where we spent the night.

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Sustainable Development in Morocco: Perceptions and Solutions

snigdha-nautiyal

Sustainable Development in Morocco: Perceptions and Solutions

By Snigdha Nautiyal

Over the first week of our study abroad in Morocco we met with NGO workers, policymakers, researchers, university professors and students, and entrepreneurs in Rabat and Marrakesh, our first two destinations on this trip. Sustainable development was a focal concern for all these stakeholders. I noticed that while talking about sustainable development, Moroccans were constantly in a reflective internal dialogue with themselves about how to define sustainable development and how to embed it in the solutions they derived.

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Hello, Morocco!

snigdha-nautiyal

Hello, Morocco!

By Snigdha Nautiyal

On May 14, 2016, I landed at the Casablanca airport to begin my adventure in Morocco. It was the start of an intense, immersive, absorbing, and exciting experience; but I did not know it then. There had been very little time between the end of the spring semester at school and the start of the study abroad to prepare myself mentally for what was to come. As a result, I was excited but not overwhelmed when I stepped out of the Casablanca airport.

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Travels of a Gnawa Drum from Merzouga, Morocco

cheri-varnadoe

Travels of a Gnawa Drum from Merzouga, Morocco

By Cheri Varnadoe

I was minding my own business, hanging on the wall of the Gnawa House in Merzouga, Morocco, when this group wandered in to see our show. For those of you not familiar with this music:

Gnawa is the music of formerly enslaved black Africans who integrated into the Moroccan cultural and social landscape, and founded a model to preserve the traditions and folkloric music of their ancestors. Rising to prominence from a marginalised practice to heal people possessed by genie spirits, it is one of the most popular styles of North African music. The roots of the music are recognisably African in the drumming, the unique metallic castanets, the three-stringed bass lute (guembri), as well as the mosaic gowns and caps worn by musicians mostly decorated with cowry shells. (Al Jazeera, 2015)

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