YCEW Morocco 2006

Sunday, July 16, 2006

VBS Pictures

VBS was a lot of fun. We split the kids into three groups -- youngest, middle, oldest -- and put three YCEW members with each one.

We began and ended each day with singing. I believe that we were singing "Hipp-hipp-hipp-hippopatomus" in this picture.

Volubilis Pictures

The Saturday before VBS we went to see the nearby Roman ruins of Volubilis. Several teachers from Amacitus joined us. We rented a van to make the almost two hour trip there and then ate lunch in Meknes and had a short driving tour of that city.

all aboard

Well, it is almost 5:30 am here. Our last train to Casa leaves at 7:00. Though our goal last night was to hit the sack early, we were all restless and many went to bed late. Personally, it took me at least an hour to fall asleep. To make that better I woke up about an hour or hour and a half ago. Also, I find I have several new bug bites. This will be an interesting 5 hour train ride.

We've all had an amazing time here. Each of us has some feeling of wanting to stay to interact with more people or do more work, however, each of us also have that thing or two from home that we can't wait to return too. Everyday I think of a couple more things I can't wait for (milk, my dog, and of course there are some people out there I miss too).

When we arrive to Casa after 5 long hours, we will drop our stuff off at the hotel and then visit the mosque. This will be the end of our time in Morocco, we flight out tomorrow morning.

I must head out now to finish any minor packing of all of our large bags. BYE

Saturday, July 15, 2006

shining like the son

V.B.S. is over but some of my best memories will come from there. Chrissy and the youth were amazing their energy and enthusiam held out all week even during 110+ tempatures. Our theme was living water so we took on names like trout, wade, drew, brook and more. Brook and wade (Kara and Jay) did a great job with their skits every morning searching for the living water, Dora and Diego could not even come close to such a performance. The singing had the children jumping out of their seats and they loved the crafts and games. On the last day you could hear the disapointment from the children as they hugged and said goodbye. Kara and I were blessed to take 3 children home and hear them as they burst through the door at home. They yelled out " that was so much fun it was the best day ever".
God is good all the time and I thank him for giving us such a blessing!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Swimming Pictures

Here are some of the pictures of us at a nearby swimming pool. I almost got Bill in trouble for asking him to take pictures of us. The security guard got into a rather heated discussion with him because the guard thought that he was taking pictures of the girls in bekinis. However, Bill assured him that he was just taking pictures of the Americans and eventually they let him be.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Scavenger Hunt

Today we put everything we've learned about getting around in Morocco into action. Bill and Betty set up a scavenger hunt for our team. We were split into groups of three, each with a Kelley leader just in case we got too lost. Each group began at a different point, but had the same objectives and destinations to reach. The "winner" would be the group who completed it fastest, cheapest,the most correct answers.

All of the groups went about the hunt in different ways. My group took the path of actually visiting all of the destinations to get the answers. Taxis and our feet were our modes of transportation across the town. Another group chose to sit at a cafe (not on our list of destinations) and find someone there who spoke English. While conversing with the English speaking Moroccans, they managed to get all of the answers to the questions. The final group found some of the answers without traveling too much and buying other items in the process.

Even though the point of the scavenger hunt was to simply interact with Moroccans and use the skills we've learned (language, taxi skills), and not about winning, our group clearly won in all three categories :) There was some argument over the directions given, but it's just a game and in the long run, no one was declared the official winners (but it's alright because my group knew we won).

Overall, we all did have a fun time. I believe every person got at least one opportunity to use something they have learned here. We all came away much more confident of our ability to survive in a new foreign town. By the way, it was 104 degrees during this scavenger hunt.

A Change of Plans...

When we arrived on monday at the Village of Hope in the beautiful Middle Atlas Mountains, we all anticipated a week that had been set aside completely for manual labor and service. We were anxious to serve after time spent adjusting to and understanding the culture around us. But our first day we received no work. This made us all the more anxious, and when our project was delayed the next morning there was a general feeling of uselessness and and impatience; however, we soon received all the work we could want. We were asked to sand the walls of a room in preparation for paint. At the end of the day we were finished, and many of us had sanded our thumbs raw. But at that point the status on the rest of the project was up in the air. As the pictures show, the room was too tall for us to sand everything from the floor, and although we were told that there was scaffolding available, we were unsure of how safe the equipment was, and we never followed through on trying to find were it was stored in the village. The ambiguity of the project combined with the lack of urgency we sensed from our instructors, the prescence of other volunteer groups, and some health issues caused by altitude, led us to the decision to leave Ain Leuh on Wendsday, two days earlier than planned. Anxiousness had been replaced by awkwardness, and a feeling that our plans to serve had failed. Should we have left? Could we have tried harder, or been more patient? Were we leaving simply because we were not serving on our own terms? These questions crossed through my mind as we returned to Fes. But in our daily group discussion we came to realize the truth expressed in Proverbs 19:21,
"Many plans are in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails."
We had gone to Ain Leuh completely assured of what we were going to do. It was all planned out, scheduled on our trip calender. But we were not aware of God's purpose. Our plan didn't work, and that did not feel good. But we know that we are exactly where God intends us to be. We've heard prayers offered at church that God would use us and teach us how to serve Him. We're connecting with Moroccans. By the grace of Christ we're reflecting His image. And we're exicited, anticipating God's plans, not ours. And that feels good.

Dips in Fes

The past two days we have beat the heat in one of the local pools. This aquatic complex is far better than any outdooor pool around Oregon. The youth there are very similair to the children at any American pool. In order to find this out we were offered an enticing incentive. Anybody that could hold a conversation for 30 minutes(with a Maroc) recieved a free breakfast a cafes.

I spent my 30 minutes efficiently playing billards and Foosball by the pool side. This international matchup attracted quite a crowd and the game proved to be a great time, espcially since I happened to be playing really well. The only "culural issue" were centered around rules of the game. The Arabs play pool differently than the American way of stripes and solids. So after I had cleared my balls from the table my Arab friend attempted to tell me that I was supposed shoot his last two balls in before the 8 ball. I didn't understand this request and continued on my way to shoot at the black ball. This did not hinder his desire to continue gaming with me, but we moved on to the cheaper foosball tables. This went well (seeing as the rules of this game are universally obvious) and even some of my opponent's friends joined.

This experience gave me more than just a free breakfast. It helped in achieving the purpose of this trip. Through interactions like these I am meeting and understanding this culture more clearly.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Pictures at Ain Leuh

When we first arrived they assigned us rooms and gave us bedding to make our beds. Then we waited for orientation in the main room. We found out that this was the room that they wanted to have painted in preparation for turning it into a school room for the children.

Before the room could be painted we had to sand all of the whitewash off of the walls. We spent most of Tuesday working on this project. Unfortunately, they didn't have scaffolding, so we couldn't finish the whole room before we left on Wednesday.

After sanding plaster off of the walls, we were all a bit whiter than before as can be seen in this group picture.

For the 4th of July we decided to celebrate by barbecuing chicken.

Breakfast pictures

Joel and Mark took some of us out for breakfast on Monday before we left for Ain Leuh. Here's a picture of the been soup, bisara, with olive oil on top for all of you who are curious as to what it looks like. Luckily Christian came with us and ordered those who wanted them scrambled eggs. I enjoyed the eggs much more than the bisara.

Christian also told us that Mark Bowman had the record for drinking the most mint tea during one breakfast (8cups), so after my fifth cup everyone said that I should try for the record. So here is a picture of the eight cups I drank to match Mark and the record breaking ninth cup. It's a good thing that those cups aren't very big. And the fresh tea leaves take up a bit of space too. As it was, I still had to use the bathroom a few times before we left to get taxis to Ain Leuh.

Surfing Morocco

Greetings Friends. Life is still good here in good old Morocco. So far our trip has been filled with many little surprises. So far the most amazing unplanned event
was surfing. Jedidiahs friend Collin works for a surfing company and offered to take us. Of course we all jumped at the chance, after clearing the fact that sharks and other critters are pretty rare in the Casablanca waters. The ladies arrived bright and early. All sun screen applied and ready we next suffered hours and hours of waiting. Okey we waited for about a half an hour. , but still. Once the men folk arrived we discovered that our appointment was moved and They forgot to let us know. Shortly afterwards our surfing teacher and boards arrived. we got all suited up in some pretty flashy wet suits. We hit the beach, learned how to get up on the board and not fall over drown and die. I stood up the whole time. I was amazed at how amazing we were. not one time did soeone fall over. We were amazing. Positively pros! Then we hit the ocean, and it was a completely diffrent story. Some people cought on pretty quick. Kara and Ben were probebly the first to get up, quickly fallowed bu Jay and Lyndlee. Not being to confident of a swimmer (but a champion dog paddler) I kept starying away from the group by accident. Most of the first half was spent swimming against the current trying to catch up with the group. Then once it finally stoped and the ocean finally decided to listen to my insructions. Now was the time to catch some waves. I came across some monsters. I stayed strong as I was trying to walk further in to the ocean. Although I was pushed back a number of times. Fianlly I got up. I was all like "did you see that ! I was surfing!" Nobody so far that I know of saw. However I did surf on my knees alot . It was awsome I had an amazing time. Every one did. thank you again for your support and never ending prayers You are amazing, may you be eaternally bl

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Surfing Pictures

On Friday night we went to Casablanca where Jedidiah had found us all places to stay with himself or friends. Saturday morning we met at the beach to take surfing lessons from Colin who has a surfing business in Casablanca. Everyone took lessons except for Amanda and I. Getting dressed in wet suits and practicing standing up on the boards while still on the beach was the first part of the lesson

Everyone was successful in getting up at least once; however, it was hard to have the camera ready at just the right time. Here are shots of Ben and Lindley.

After surfing Jedidiah took us to his favorite pizza place in Cassablanca. We all got our own pizza. (The main two choices were hamburger or tuna and shrimp. Both were very good.)

Camel Ride Pictures

The beach at Essaouria. You could boat out to the island, but we settled for just taking pictures. There is a constant wind blowing here and it is a major tourist place. Several of our group tried windsurfing which was a popular activity on the beach.

In Essaouira we were very excited about riding camels. Our hotel clerk set up an hour ride for us on the beach. When we got there we got to choose our camel. Then they linked us up into a boys line and a girls line with a guide for each.Jedidiah didn't want to ride a camel so he rented a horse to ride on the beach.

This ruin marked the half-way point for our camel ride.
Everyone enjoyed riding the camels. Here are a few close up shots.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Portrait of a Footballer

This is what you get for playing football on the Sabbath. While we were resting at the Kelly's today before heading to the orphanage for the rest of the week, Sam, Faith and I decided to take a football down to the local dirt/rock pitch and try to get a game going. We eventually got two teams of six, and the game was underway. The score remained close despite the fact that Sam's team was stacked with older players, including "The One". I personally encountered "The One". While racing down the sideline with the ball, I found that my path was blocked by my aforementioned foe. In my attempt to evade him, I lost my footing and bit the dust. My team then went down 7 to 5, the 7th goal being the last. The ball passed through the posts, and rolled onto the street, where it encountered a tire with a resounding pop. At this point, the game was over, and we returned home to lick our wounds, beaten, but with the experience of a sandlot football match with the children of Fes.


Alright...what we've all been wating for, THE CAMEL RIDES!! In our short time in Essaouria (however that is spelled) we did a lot of things, but our most anticipated event, and now one of our most memorable, would be the camel riding. We walked down the beach to arrive at the camels laying out in the sun resting. Basically, we were told "hop on", so we did. The camels then took their time standing up, which was an awkward movement. First, they would stand up on the back legs so you would be looking down at the ground then they'd get their front legs up and there we were - tall, sitting on our camels.

Once we all finally got up and named our camels (mine = sugar dumpling) we started out on our journey. Our camels took us along the beach out to some ruiny things and then turned around and came back. It seemed that we all made friends with the camels we were on and the ones behind us since they kept their faces by our feet. It was a jerky ride but man was it fun!

When we got back, I watched everyone else's camels go down so the they could get off, first the front legs would go down, then the back, leaving you in that position where you stare at the ground for a bit. Everyone else's was going smoothly and then it got to mine. The front legs went down, and that was it. My camel just kind of left me hanging there (literally). I was hanging on starring parellel to the ground. The guy who was sitting the camels down tried for a while to make mine go down, but it only faced me more towards the ground. Finally, after Lindley had time to get a nice picture of it, my camels sat down and I hopped right off.