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Wednesday 13 May 2009

First days at Dar Asni

Salaam, Bonjour, Hello! My name is Zoe and I am carrying on in Linda’s position at Dar Asni; big shoes to fill! I found out about the project when I stayed at the Kasbah du Toubkal with my parents at the beginning of the year (when everything was covered in snow) and it sounded like a great way to get involved in making a difference for the girls and at the same time get another chance to visit beautiful Morocco and learn all about the Moroccan lifestyle from the girls and Latifa (in a more Australian-friendly season - everything is lovely and green now!). Believe it or not, Linda and I come from the same city in Australia- Brisbane, and live less than 10 minutes apart - yet we came to find Dar Asni through totally different paths, and we have never even met! Before long the girls will be speaking English with an Australian accent! I spent a couple of days in Marrakech where I met Maryk who made me feel very welcome and at home here in Morocco and told me all about Latifa and the girls - it sounds like the project has already made such a difference for the girls. Now this is my second day at the house, and it has been a wonderful experience. On arriving I was treated to mint tea and delicious home-made sweets, and then a succession of hugs and kisses as the girls trouped in from School for lunch. I’m still getting the hang of pronouncing their names, especially making the Kh sound which I am constantly being pulled up on! Lunch was delicious and I started to learn how to eat with my hands from the communal dish in the middle of the table without making a complete mess of myself. In our first English lessons I think I learnt more Arabic than they did English! But now the girls are well on their way to telling you the time and date. Halfway through dinner after our first lesson while everyone was chatting away in Arabic and Berber and I was only catching tiny snippets of conversation, suddenly I hear one of the girls say, ¨it is half past eight!¨ and then there is a chorus of girls saying "it is half past eight!", "it is twenty to nine!". It was a great thing to hear! Today I experienced the cleaning of the house, a fun and lively event where everything gets wet! I was in the kitchen and was surrounded by girls singing along to the radio as they sloshed water all around! So that was my first 24 hours of life at Dar Asni. I can already see what a great opportunity it is for the girls and I am so grateful to be a part of it!