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A Little Adventure in the High Atlas

Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Ms. Vanessa Chimutu

Never would I have thought that I would hike the High Atlas mountains of Morocco, but thanks to the All County Conference held in Morocco this happened.

Firstly, the All Country Conference (ACC) is a conference that brings CorpsAfrica Volunteers from Morocco, Senegal, and Malawi together, to share social, cultural, and project experiences from their home countries. And yes it was such an honor to be among the first Volunteers to attend the ACC.

Out of all the experiences l had in Morocco, for me, I think the experience I will never forget is that of the High Atlas Mountains. Mostly because it was a roller coaster of different emotions and feelings.

When I first was told that we were going to hike the Atlas mountains, I thought it was the cliché thing where we would hike more for leisure purposes. But to my surprise, we were actually hiking all the way to a Volunteers’ site in the Atlas. I was excited to see this place of beauty as I have heard so much about it.

The first hike to the village where we were meant to stay was an adventure for me. I got to see different land forms and landscapes, there was such so much beauty surrounding me, it was unbelievable and despite how tired I was, this made me push forward in order for me to see the wonder that would await me at the place we were meant to stay.

I was amazed by how people manage to live in such secluded places, the positioning of the houses scared me so much, it’s really amazing what people can do in different places around the world. Speaking of the weather, it was very undecided. The first day it seemed to be very hot, as it went from being mildly cold with some showers in the end.

I honestly had the most frightening experience when we went to see the water pipes up the Atlas for a project that was done by one of the previous Volunteers at the site- the initiative to have tap accessible water for the community was such a great idea and most of all sustainable as the community would be at the front of making this happen.

The climb up to the location of where the water tanks were was quite the experience as we had to climb on a pathless path, and moreover I was in my slippers! So this made my climb difficult and frustrating. Luckily, a member of the community who was more familiar with the place helped me to get through this as he held my hand. From getting to the top where we had the water pipes and sinking in that amazing view was breathtaking.

The last time I hiked I was mentally prepared for anything and honestly this time around, the move to Hiba’s site was  an adventure. I saw different landscapes for a start and the most exciting part was all the apples I got to eat throughout the journey, and getting there and seeing how far she went with the success of her nursery school project gave me such a motivation to go through and have my project completed in time. I will never  forget my experience in the High Atlas Mountains, I got to appreciate the culture, hospitality, and the friendliness of the people. Despite the too much hiking, the three days we spent in the High Atlas mountains were unforgettable.

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