Members of the Volunteering Club took part in a celebration for Ashura, the 10th day of the first month of the Islamic calendar. Each culture around the world celebrates the holiday differently, and the Arabic students were able to learn more about Moroccan culture by taking part in a celebration with Association Jannat, for women undergoing treatment for cancer. Advanced Arabic student Patrycja writes more below:
On Thursday, 19 September all members of our Volunteering Club went to visit the Jannat Association, which specializes in providing accommodation to women with cancer. All residents of Jannat come from outside Rabat, and would not be able to bear high costs of renting rooms in hotels or private flats, since cancer treatment takes some time and requires them to stay near the hospital. Beside providing accommodation, the Association secures other residents’ needs like food and transportation.
Shortly after our arrival, we were shown a short presentation about the history and organizational structure of the place. Next, we went to the kitchen to prepare a small celebratory meal eaten traditionally in Morocco on Ashura. Our visit was shortly after the holiday, so we wanted to prolong that festive time and give our best wishes to the women in Jannat. With the help of very friendly kitchen staff some of us started to prepare a mix of dried fruit, nuts and dates, whereas other students were learning how to brew Moroccan mint tea and serve it to others.
When the meal preparation was over, we went to the main lounge, where all residents greeted us warmly, singing joyful Moroccan songs and expressing their enthusiasm because of our visit. From that moment all students and women were socializing together, listening to each other’s life stories, and just getting to know each other. Although our Darija speaking skills were not sufficient at some points, everyone had lots of fun, even when little misunderstandings occurred. The most important was cultural integration and the time we spent together, and it seemed that everybody loved it.
In the end of our visit the ladies taught us a couple of Moroccan songs accompanied with drums- there is no doubt that music brings people together!
The visit to Jannat was an amazing opportunity to meet the ladies who, despite their health problems, keep their spirits up. We hope that we brought more joy to the place, changing a little bit its normal routine on that day. It was also very informative, since we learnt how the association works and provides help to the people, which is really important to all members of our Club who are interested in the humanitarian work field. It will motivate us to take more action in our daily lives, and plan the next events with the Volunteering Club in Rabat.
Check out Arabic student Mirre's video montage from the event, as well!
Visit our Volunteer in Morocco page to learn more about volunteer opportunities at Qalam! Our team is always happy to help students achieve their volunteering goals, both in a group or individually.