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Navigationally challenged and a silver lining

So, ALL THE NOPE when it comes to using the cab service here in Morocco. I’m sorry, but NOPE – it ain’t for me. The trams, however, have won my heart! Imma be using the trams to get ERRWHERE from now on, because as much as I’d like to immerse myself in a different culture, transportation via a crammed up cab ride with absolute strangers will be the exception to this rule.

Ok, so to help you understand – there’s two types of cab services:

  • The blue cabs – pay by meter, picks up passengers enroute to your destination, better choice but doesn’t guarantee you’ll get to your destination on time (if you’re tight on time)
  • The white cabs – pay 5 MAD (flat rate), share cab with 6 (yes, you read that correct) other people / strangers, let the driver know when you’re getting off so that you’re seated accordingly, uncomfortable af

Doesn’t sound too bad (actually, the white one does, unless you’re a 6-people group heading out together and know each other), but it’s absolutely crazy and intense to get from point A to B when they don’t speak English and you only speak English and do not understand their instructions / queries.

Yesterday felt like a quest to get to placement, which is less than 15 minutes away from my accommodation and about 15 minutes from the local Projects Abroad office. Here’s a tip to all current and future volunteers – use the tram! PLS. It’s so much more worth it. There’s a system, an order, no sight for chaos. It’s comfortable, easily accessible, oh so pretty to look at and commute in. Yes, it’s 1 MAD extra to use the tram, but my GOD is it worth it? YES. BLOODY HELL YES, IT IS. You don’t have to deal with drivers who are rude to you or who don’t necessarily understand where you want to go, and if you get lost, there’s always someone at the station who can direct you.

If you are hella used to Google Maps, you’re in for a baaaad time, son. Just like I was :’) Goes to show how much you rely on the Interwebs in today’s world. I have always poked fun at myself for being navigationally challenged, but this was no funny matter yesterday, when I had a minor breakdown, a major panic attack, and a migraine later in the day, balancing the need to survive crossing the roads and getting to my destination by asking people who spoke zero English. Yesterday was certainly an experience every one should (not have to go through but) have, to realize what it’s like to be on the other end of the spectrum, when people can’t understand you and where English is a foreign language to most.

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The plus side to yesterday was that I got to spend my first day of internship with some of the most beautiful children ever. Seriously, these kids have won my heart. I’m already feeling the pain of saying goodbye to them in 3 weeks.

So, a quick debrief on my Project – I will be volunteering at a school here in Morocco, where I work Monday-Friday from 830am-430pm (except Wednesdays, which is a half-day), with children who have language / learning difficulties. Most kids are in the age-range of 4-8 years and predominantly speak Arabic or French.

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When I initially learnt of this, I thought to myself, “SHIT. I’m not that good at either language! And almost no one here speaks English. SHEEEEET”. But after yesterday, I think I can pick up on the languages (mainly Arabic) a lot quicker, once I see the teacher model the activity with the words for naming pictures and objects. Plus, the teachers are really accommodating and lovely, so I think I’m gonna sink into this Project very well 🙂 This makes me so happy that I’m finally going back to what I have been hoping to achieve as a degree for the past 3 years. I can feel my passion for speech pathology coming back to life again. This is what I have wanted to do with my life all this time. Yes, I have faced innumerable hurdles to get there, but it’s all about the hard work that’s gonna get you there, right?

Another fantastic event to have happened yesterday – I met more volunteers!!! 😀 ALL THE EXPLORATIONS OF MOROCCO! I met a group of French Canadians who are here on a teaching project. They mostly speak French, but three-four of them know basic-intermediate English. I’m so okay with this, because no matter where we’re from or what language we speak, I have people to hang with and learn about their cultures, their lifestyle, and themselves. I have also gone ahead and planned a getaway this weekend with 3 of them, where we’ll be sharing accommodation and discovering the beauty that is Fez! 😀 I have been wanting to go there…oh only since the first day I got here! 😉

It’s day two and I’m ready to face the day. I am mostly excited about working with those beautiful kids today. They are ever so adorable and despite the challenges they face with their communication, they do not fail in letting me know that they are happy and getting the hang of what I teach them via materials provided in the classroom. 🙂

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