|< previous | next >Letters Home: Kelly Benvenuto in MoroccoContents | NCPR Home|
As the title suggest, I have arrived in Morocco. The flight from France to Morocco was so beautiful. The ground looked like a cubist painting of greens, tans and even orange. After we crossed the Mediterranean, the landscape changed immediately - much less green but still beautiful. We landed in Casablanca and then drove to Rabat where the program is based. We are currently staying in the Hotel Majestic, which is in the Colonial portion of Rabat.
Each day, we have walked to the Center for Cross Cultural Learning. It is the medina and is an in incredible beautiful house from the 19th century. There are four floors, with mosaics everywhere and three different levels or terraces. There we have staarted our Moroccan Arabic classes. So far I know how to say: I am American, I am a student, my name is Kelly, and how to ask questions to get those responses from other people.
Today was quite exciting in that we had our
"Drop Off." We were taken by bus to different parts of the city, dropped off by ourselves, and told to make our way back to the Center. During this time,
we had certain things to research, my assignment was religious spaces. Let
me tell you, I have never been happier that I can speak French. I was having moderate success talking to people and finding out information. Then I
asked one man and he showed me the way to the nearest mosque on my route. From there, he asked me if he could accompany me, and he showed me another four mosques between where we were and the center. It turns out that I had
walked by a few in the previous days and hadn't even noticed.
In the afternoon, we went for a bus tour of the city. We got to see the ocean, several mosques, foreign embassies, the royal compound, the very modern portions of the city. Tomorrow we will head off to live with our host families. I will be living in the medina, about a five-minute walk from where I take classes. I met the mother yesterday, and she is already referring to me as her third daughter and has promised to teach me how to cook. I will be sharing a room with a fourteen-year-old sister Zenab. There is also an older brother and ten-month-old baby daughter. The father is a journalist and I am curious to meet him.
It is a new experience for me living in a city, but I like the city of Rabat. Very few buildings are higher than four stories and there is so much character in the architecture. The medina is a crazy place to be, with food being sold, backpacks with pictures of a brown-haired Barbie wearing a headscarf, chickens, traditional Moroccan music being played in one place and 50 cent being blasted down the road, clothing, shoes, the list is nearly endless. Well, I believe that will be it for now. I hope you are well and good luck to those of you just starting school.
Until next time,
2005 North Country Public Radio, St. Lawrence University, Canton, New York 13617-1475