SO, after after months of posting about my fundraising and the potential China trip, I reached my deadline. Unfortunately, for the China trip I had been preparing for, I didn’t hit the fundraising target that was set by the charity I was working for. However I was offered a place on another life-changing trip, working with the charity ChildReach International to help build a school in one of the Berber Villages of Morocco. At first I was so sceptical, how could pale old me deal with going to Africa??? But I took on the challenge, booked my flights and off I went, not knowing any other volunteers going or what to prepare myself for.
Last month I returned back to England after being in Morocco for just under 3 weeks and I can’t even begin to list everything I saw and learnt on my trip but here I am attempting anyway.
One week was spent within the village, living amongst the locals, learning their way of life whilst working with other construction worker to help build walls. The money that each volunteer raised ( I managed to raise £1,800 roughly if you were wondering *proud face*) helped pay for the wages of the other builders, the construction materials, towards other project around the world and a few personal expenses. Obviously this was a daunting task- imagine little old me carrying bricks and doing manual labour. However with my team of 8 other volunteers we worked together every day making cement, moving bricks, and painting the walls, even painting a beach scene on one wall.
Life in the Berber village was a pretty big culture shock, the community live literally just on a mountain so everything requires
clinging for dear life climbing. The lack of toilets or showers was probably the biggest shock: although my squat game has improved recently, going for a poo in a hole in the middle of the night to me was pretty unforgettable but to them it’s pretty normal (sorry for TMI). Another thing that surprised me was the sheer sense of belonging we felt within their community, random villagers would welcome us and our guides into their home for tea and food without a second thought, they even threw a party to thank us for our helping hand at the school. The lack of internet up in the mountains probably did me good, me and the other volunteers had so much time to hang out and get to know each other- luckily we all got along so well even after 3 weeks stuck together.I have to thank ChildReach International for letting us join this amazing project and Rare Adventures for looking after us so well.
For the rest of our time we were given the opportunity to travel freely and visit the rest of the country. As someone who hasn’t done “the travelling” thing before I was pretty anxious but as group we travelled around Marrakesh and explored the Markets, visited it’s famous Ouzoud Waterfall (talk about some amazing insta photos) and then to a city called Essouria, which was more coast based, for beach days and camel rides. I tried many new things in this time; haggling in markets, cocktails on a rooftop bar and even arabic McDonalds (Exotic, I know). Whilst travelling around, I learnt a lot, mainly that I probably wouldn’t be very good at backpacking (too much walking around
soz not soz , but also a lot about myself … the classic stereotype of “finding myself” whilst travelling springs to mind.
I am now back in the swing of normal life back at university and working, I didn’t even get a tan to remind me of my trip (pale people problems). There are some times when I look outside the bus at the rainy weather outside and miss the beautiful country. I’ve taken home so many memories and (hopefully) 8 new friends. Certain westernised traditions were sorely missed; cups of tea and flushing toilets mainly. This whole fundraising experience, which I started all the way back in October last year, has been stressful to say the least but overall I am so glad I took this challenge as I never would have imagined myself doing some of the things I’ve done had I not. Who knows what this new adventurous side of me will lead to, but I know for sure now I’ve had a taste of travelling I am eager to explore more….