I arrived in January full of excitement and ready to get stuck into life in the Dar Asni household. It was an action packed first week that’s for sure. We had a big party January 15 and it was just my 2nd night in the house.
It was a great party with delicious biscuits, banners, fashionistas, games and lots of dancing.
The girls taught me some new Berber moves and helped me improve on what I already knew. At this point I should add that I spent time travelling through Morocco during 2009 and this was not my first Berber dance fest; indeed the dancing may have been a deciding factor for my return!
Berber music is fabulous and the dancing in these parts basically involves a lot of shimmy shaking and hip swivelling. This is to say, from the women, and let me tell you, our girls sure can move!
We partied the night away to a mix between the sounds of local Berber artists; shimmying away to the percussive bendir (a hend-held, framed snare drum) and the Berber banjo; and some good old ABBA. Yes, that’s what I said ABBA. Always a great way to break the ice!
My contribution to the dancing involved some classic get-down-to-the-floor-twist, The Nutbush and something my Mum taught me. Does anyone know that move where you bang your legs together really fast and syncronise your hands to touch your knees at the exact point that when your legs come together . . . . Well, I’m sorry but I never said it was easy!
Did I mention birthday’s? We had 5 of them. Celebrating birthdays which ranged from November through to February. In Morocco there is not the emphasis placed on the remembrance or celebration of birthdays as there is Cristian cultures. So here in Dar Asni we have a handful of girls who know not the exact date of their birth but simply either the month or the year.
Receiving a card to celebrate this obscure event has gained popularity in the house and at this party it put a smile on the dial of every one of these girls. I think you would too if you had seen the plethora of cards which were prepared for them!!
The party began to wind down when the tears began to flow with the realisation that the wonderful volunteer Liz would soon be leaving Dar Asni for her next exciting adventure in a little known country Down Under.
Liz gave her time and expertise to Dar Asni/Education For All from September to January. Her departure came as a bit of a blow for the girls this who came to love Liz as a big sister!!
So, with this news, we finished the night off with an impromptu live performance where I was treated to some live Berber rhythmic grooves. The plastic tubs were whipped out, vocal chords dusted off and the table tops became our weapon. Mouna (3rd year girl) and I had blisters for days!