Day Ten: Last Day, Casablanca and then Home [May 4th 2013, Tuesday]

Worcester State University Faculty Led Morocco Trip – 2013

Our Final Day in Morocco

Everyone was a little subdued this morning when we gathered for breakfast in our hotel.  We all took extra precautions packing up our Moroccan treasures to take home with us because we are going to be heading to the airport shortly.  We stopped briefly at the Brahimi household in Casablanca to say one final goodbye to Mohamed’s family.

—- *Blog Photographs are Courtesy of Christopher Lippmann, one of thirteen WSU Morocco 2013 Travelers | **Video Links are short ‘clips’ uploaded from the entire WSU Group to our WSU Flickr Account to enhance the blog experience. —-

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Goodbye Brahimi home!

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One more crazy pic.

Mohamed was able to work wonders in our schedule and we were able to visit the hammam called Le Pacha.  It was very inexpensive, I believe it was only 50 dirham or about $7.00 US.  The ladies and the men were separated and led down different halls.  I personally had never experienced a hammam or bathhouse before and did not know what to expect.  We were given wraps and were escorted down a long hall.  We stepped into a nice humid, warm room surrounded by tables for massage and little stone basins along the walls that poured out piping hot water or freezing cold water. We were given little bowls to bath ourselves.  There was a big pedestal in the center of the room covered by a mound of what looked like obsidian (lava rock).  It was smooth and dark like smoked glass.  Each of us took a giant handful of this black soap called in arabic “Saboon Al baldi” and walked into the steam room.  The air felt good on our lungs in here. There was a bowl of herbs and eucalyptus which purified the air.

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A wonderful way to wind down after a long 10 days of traveling a foreign country.

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We washed all washed up with this magical soap.  After a while, we walked out and were accosted by a couple of women working in the main room with the tables.  Even though we couldn’t communicate at all in Arabic or French, there was a woman inside who helped us translate a little bit back and forth for us.  We all got incredible massages — we felt bad because we were taking longer than Mohamed asked us too but we just could NOT resist, especially after our long journey.  After that we wanted to sleep for a month.  The massage was only a little dirham extra and well worth it.  I could write for hours about this magical oasis of rest and relaxation but it is time to move on to write about other, more important things that we were able to do on this trip.

The boys were a little antsy when us ladies emerged from our royal treatment.  Everyone piled into the van again and took off to the school before we needed to go to the airport.  We went to visit Mohamed’s family member who worked at the Deroua School.

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Victoria and Olivia greet the students with a little bit of Arabic.

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Victoria learns the names of the students.

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A picture together at the Deroua School.
Victoria says, “This… is a dinosaur.”

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One of the classrooms at the school we visited.
We learned that these students learn Arabic, French and a little bit of English by this age.

Those of us who spoke a little Arabic were able to converse with the children.  It was a nice, short visit to the school and we took photos with the children in their classrooms.  I could not help but be amazed that children at this age are taught to become multi-lingual.  It was impressive and really puts the U.S. to shame.  High schools here in the United States struggle to teach students a second language as required courses and these students were so eager to learn and show of their language skills to us while we visited with them.

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After the visit to the school, we drove to the Mohammed V Airport to check our bags and we walked around a little bit.  Most of us still had a bit of cash left so we bought some last minute gifts for friends and family.  We said goodbye to Olivia who was taking a different flight on to Spain for her extended journeys abroad.

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Time for takeoff! We will miss you Morocco!

Leaving Morocco we flew over the Hassan II mosque and marveled that we were able to visit such a wonderful place.  Everyone was extremely tired from our 10 days of incredible journeying in Morocco, but ask any one of us and we would tell you we would go back in a heartbeat.  I could not believe how welcoming and warm every single person was.  From Mohamed’s family welcoming us to the Brahimi home on day one to our new student-friends in Meknes, Ali in Rabat, and everyone else in between — no one could say that we are not welcome back again.  Ali always tells me to come back next year and I really hope to do so!

Visiting Morocco with the WSU Study Abroad Program was one of the best choices that I made.  Yes, it is an investment — but you need to think that you are investing in memories of a lifetime and you are creating new friends, seeing an entirely new country that you may know very little about, and you are making a difference in many different lives of people you will meet along the way.  The history, culture, religion, food!, friendship, hospitality is so overwhelming that you really need to take as many pictures as you can, write it all down and just soak it all up.

By the time we touched down in NYC, we were on our last legs of this trip and feeling a little tired, but relaxed.  We took some photos but we were all feeling a little depressed about saying goodbye to one another.  We drove back to Massachusetts and pulled into WSU later at night – somewhere around 10pm, grabbed our bags one last time and gave a round of hugs.

Man, what a trip!  Lets go again!

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About wheresmrmerlin

I am an English Graduate from Worcester State University with a background in various things. I attended college at Atlantic Union College as a Biology Major with my heart set on becoming a Veterinarian. I love all animals - I am owned by two cats; Yoda and Sparta, a leopard gecko named Joe, and a ball python named Voldemort. During my first year as an Undergraduate student at AUC, one of my favorite professors lamented the fact that I was such a creative writer and pleaded with me to further a career with writing instead of science. Her words rooted into my soul. The next year I transferred to Fitchburg State University, still a Biology Major. Halfway through the year I made the commitment to switch my concentration to teaching Secondary Education in English. I attended FSU for a few years off and on. I transferred my degree to Worcester State University to be closer to home. Seven long college years later, I finally graduated with an Undergraduate Degree in English from WSU in 2011. After much debate and internal struggle, I returned to school in the Fall of 2012 to continue my education at WSU in their Graduate Non-Profit Management Program. I hope to finish my Program with WSU by 2015. Right now I am busy writing, working, teaching my cats good manners, crafting and planning a wedding for next summer. I look forward to travelling more, now that I have gotten the travel bug from visiting Morocco this past summer through an Annual Study Abroad Faculty Led Program that Worcester State University offers. It was truly a life changing experience that allowed me to make many good friends. I cannot wait to see what other adventures life brings my way.
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