Archives for December 2013

Thanksgiving in the Atlas Mountains

Truly grateful.

Oh my goodness. It’s really been quite difficult to pay attention to this space the past few months. If anyone is still out there, thanks for sticking around! Since Christmas is only a few days away, I thought I should sneak in a little post about how I spent Thanksgiving this year…

Thanksgiving proper was fairly uneventful. Our school decided to adjust the holiday schedule this year, which meant we were working on that Thursday. I’ve had to do it before, so it wasn’t terrible. I did get a little teary-eyed though when discussing what we are thankful for with my students. I shared that I am thankful to have such an understanding family and went on to explain how much I appreciate that my parents (and sister)  support me living abroad. When one of them called out, “Are you going to cry?” I decided it was time to switch subjects. That evening Mike was away with friends in Agadir and I ended up eating Pizza Hut at the mall. Not super cozy.

However, I didn’t mind too much because the real event in my eyes fell upon the following Saturday. As part of the Outreach Program at my school, I joined a group of high schoolers and a few other teachers delivering supplies to Douser Imsker, a rural village in the Atlas Mountains. During the month of October the school held a food and clothing drive, and on this particular day we went and delivered the goods. It was a wonderful experience.

We met up at the school in the morning to load up the supplies, and then drove up into the mountains. The village isn’t easily accessed by vehicle so we had to hike in for the final hour. Once we arrived at the community center the students got to work organizing the supplies and setting up shop. When everything was set to go, the villagers were invited in and the high school students helped the children select properly sized clothing.

After the supplies were distributed, we enjoyed a lovely tagine lunch, played with the children, and took a quick tour of the village. Then, it was time to hike back out and head home to Marrakech.

The experience was beneficial for me in several ways. First, I was able to see a different side of Morocco and meet lovely villagers. Second, as a primary school teacher I rarely interact with students in the upper school. It was nice to see that this particular group of high schoolers are capable, caring, and polite. And lastly, I enjoyed spending time with my co-workers and getting to know them better. For some reason you just can’t have the same conversations waiting for the photocopy machine as you can on an hour long hike.

To really top off the day, our little community had planned a Thanksgiving dinner for that evening. There’s nothing like spending an active day in the mountains and coming home to a fantastic meal shared by colleagues and friends.

That’s another great Thanksgiving under my belt.

xo, jill


Kiva Loan: November/December

6 down, 0 to go!

My Kiva loan for the months of November and December goes to Adelaida in the Philippines. As I’ve likely said before, I’ve met so many lovely Filipino people over the past several years that the country has a special place in my heart. With the recent terrible supertyphoon, I feel for the Philippines even more so.

I was initially drawn to Adelaida’s listing when I saw the scraps of fabric on the table in her photograph. I always love to support people at their craft. And then when I realized her name was Adelaida and connected that to my favorite Australian city… well, the loan was a done deal. Adelaida has requested a loan to help buy more materials for her rug making business.

And so ends another successful year of Kiva loans. I really do love this tradition. I’m considering switching back to monthly loans instead of lending every other month. We’ll see how long it takes for my Kiva coffers to dry up. If you’re racking your brain for a meaningful Christmas give, I hope you’ll consider giving a Kiva card this year.

xo, jill

Baby Kitties of Essaouira

And a few pups too.

It wasn’t hard to pinpoint my favorite aspect of visiting Essaouira: the cats! In general there are cats all over Morocco, but Essaouria has the most of any city I’ve visited thus far. The best part is that because Essaouira is a coastal town, the cats are well fed on fresh seafood. Their coats are shiny and glossy and their bellies full. I wish I could say the same for the cats hanging out in Marrakech but they are skinny, scruffy, and dusty in comparasion. Maybe I can run a kitty relocation scheme and transport these poor city cats to the coast.

The following is a lot of cat photos with a few puppies tossed in too.

You can see why I was excited to return to Essaouria just a few weeks later.

To see my other cat posts… Laos, Thailand, Kuwait, Jordan, Azerbaijan.

xo, jill

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