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Volunteers' blog

Monday, 19 April 2010

Hi ! My name is Ilaria :)

Having arrived at Dar Asni on the 8th February I’m coming close to the end of my time here. So much has happened and the time has passed too quickly – I don’t want to leave! As soon as I arrived the girls made me feel like part of the family – lots of kisses and hugs all the time and they are always thoughtful when you’re not feeling great.

The girls are all absolutely gorgeous and enthusiastic about everything I’ve introduced to them which had made volunteering here really rewarding – I can see they enjoy me being here and I’m making a difference.

I have been a passionate dancer since I was young and have seen how much Moroccans love music and dancing – so from day 1 I knew dance classes would be a success. Every evening when the girls come back from school I’ve taught a 1hr dance class, the styles varying week to week, including salsa, chachacha and Michael Jackson. I found that Michael Jackson and Salsa were favourites so they have had to be repeated but its great to see the girls practising around the house and even Samira has been chachacha-ing in the hammam!

The girls also love Art and really enjoyed Oregami, making stars and boxes out of paper, and now we have started to create an Art display which they can continue to add to with the next volunteers. The walks to Kasbah Tamadot have also been a great success with the girls and Latifa, also a great chance to practice my Arabic and the girls their English.

Cairo International School from Egypt came to visit on the 1st and 2nd of March – doing drama activities with the girls on the first day then building desks and tables on the second day to go in the girls’ rooms. It was a big success and it was good to see the girls have to confidence to talk with the students from Cairo and even help with the building and sanding-down of the furniture!

On Saturday the 6th March, the German Ambassador visited Dar Asni and everyone worked hard to make the day a success! The beautiful breakfast prepared by Latifa Khalti was delicious, Latifa and the girls worked hard to make the house spotless which impressed the ambassador greatly and also a big thanks to Karima for coming to represent Talat n Yakoub.

After the Ambassador’s visit, Latifa invited me to spend the weekend with her family in Moulay Brahim after a quick visit to the Souk to see the Jbbarr trying to cure people of their headaches and broken bones in ways which are not seen in the UK! It was a shock and definitely different to the doctors I had visited the previous weeks in Essaouira, Tahannout and the staff at the Health centre in Asni.