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Thursday, 14 April 2011

Dar Asni volunteer

I arrived at Dar Asni on a cold Sunday afternoon, the 6th March. My first impressions were that it was a lovely big house but so freezing cold. How was I going to keep warm as I hadn't bought many warm clothes!!

Luckily Karima had left jumpers and leggings, very welcome extra layers. I have never worn so many clothes at once inside! Bed time was challanging, changing quickly into pyjamas and then diving under loads of blankets before getting too cold!! Thankfully the weather has now warmed up and the house is much warmer inside, I am now hot in bed and only wearing a T shirt indoors.

On Monday morning the atmophere in the house changed completely as the girls started arriving for the week. It was so nice to see the house full of happy, friendly girls who have such enthusiasm for learning and working hard to acheive. The girls have busy school timetables and lots of homework but are keen to take part in activities with the volunteers. Many are really interested in developing their English and love help and encouragement to develop this skill. It has been great fun making games and activities to help with this. They are like sponges and quickly absorb and learn new information, I wish I was able to learn and remember like they do!

Pick up sticks has been a huge success, we have played this for hours! Playing Happy Families has been fun. The girls can be very competitive and sometimes get over excited, it is so nice seeing them having such fun. Making friendship bracelets has also been good. It was quite chaotic having about 8 girls round a table all making bracelets and needing some help. They grasped techniques quickly and completed beautiful pieces. The only problem was the bundle of threads at the end, it took several girls quite sometime to sort it all out ready for another session!!

The food at the house is delicious. I have really enjoyed eating the Moroccan way from one big dish, this is something I will try with friends once home, it is much more sociable and saves on the washing up!! I hope to learn how to cook some of the dishes, particularly cous cous and besara.

I have been very lucky to have had the opportunity to stay at one of the girls houses for a weekend. This was such a good experience. The family were so welcoming and so pleased that I was visiting them. Food is their way of expressing their thanks that you are there, volunteers need to be prepared to eat alot of food and not to worry about their waistlines!!

We have just had a school holiday (3rd to 13th April). It has been nice to travel with the other volunteers. We spent time in Marrakech and Essaouira enjoying the sunshine, walking on the beach, shopping in the souks and soaking up the atmosphere. It is now back to reality, the girls return to the house on Wednesday. I have lots of ideas and activities prepared to support the development of their English and French, I just hope they enjoy them.
Thats it from me for now. I will write again before I finish my time here at Dar Asni.

Jenny Hitchcock.