I’m now into my second week at Dar Asni, and every day has been just as exciting as my first! Last week I was treated to a trip to the school, where there was an exhibition of the students’ artwork on display as part of their ‘culture week’. There were lots of beautiful paintings, sketches, comics and collages, including one intricate design in classical Arabic by our very own Nezha.
On the weekend the girls and I were lucky enough to have an art lesson here at the house with artist Lori Park. The girls drew what the feeling ‘happy’ was to them, and it was interesting to see all their drawings incorporated aspects of nature and lots of blue skies. With the amazing lush green environment surrounding Dar Asni, it’s no wonder nature makes such a good impact on the girls.
On Sunday afternoon the girls took me up to the meadow- a bit of a hike, but I enjoyed every minute of it. There was lots of singing, and picking of mint leaves and flowers, and some green, sour fruit which I haven’t found out the name of yet. And they showed me the Henna plant, which grows bountifully by the side of the road, and decorated my hands with it. Time passed very quickly and we had to run all the way back to the house in time for the call to prayer as the sky was getting dark.
The skipping rope I bought with me has been getting a very good workout. When the girls get home from school in the afternoon the games begin- skipping, cartwheels, handstands, ball games, and lots of singing and shouting. It’s great to see them having fun and keeping fit, and it keeps us warm on the cooler afternoons… yes it’s not quite summer yet.
Yesterday saw my very first visit to the local hammam!- a very new and interesting experience for me… It was quite nerve-racking at first, but the heat has a way of taking your mind off everything, and in a way it was relaxing. I was scrubbed raw and pretty much sweated my insides out, but I don’t think I’ve ever been cleaner in my life.
Now I’m looking forward to this weekend and a trip into the Atlas mountains with some of the girls!
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!
Hello everyone! A quick hello from London (where it is raining!)…
Zoe is the new volunteer in the house – also from Australia!
We welcome you Zoe and are so grateful you are there for the girls!