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Heartwarming Integration

Written by CorpsAfrica/Maroc Volunteer Mr. Yassine El Akhdar

As a CorpsAfrica Volunteer assigned to a novel destination, precisely to a village called Zaouiat Ahensal, in Azilal province, located in the High Atlas Mountains, I was so excited to meet my new community. I was amazed to experience the mountainous roads and beautiful rocky landscapes scattered with forests separated by a flowing river. The journey was long and tiring, but as soon as I arrived at my site, I felt recharged by the diversified natural sights and warm hospitality of the community. From here, the unforgettable journey began.

All of the community members were excited to meet us and get to know who these strangers wearing CorpsAfrica T-shirts and hats were. We had long discussions with different individuals, which was a chance to introduce the work of CorpsAfrica and possible activities we could perform with them. They accompanied us to see the local associations and cooperatives already working here, as well as the local leaders and government officials. I can confidently say that the CorpsAfrica guidebook was very helpful in our first steps in entering the community and building trust with its members.

Despite language barriers, community members tried their best to speak Arabic and even translate for us when conversing with elderly people who speak only Tamazight. The community faces a lot of challenges in performing simple day-to-day duties and has limited access compared to city life. However, as a famous proverb says, “The need is the mother of all inventions,” the community members found ways to persist despite the natural challenges of extremely cold weather, rocky landscapes,  and limited survival resources with ambition, motivation, and hope that the best is yet to come.

I have seen a huge enthusiasm from the youth wanting to learn English and from the elderly wanting to take literacy classes. I started providing them with these classes in the local education center of the association and the center of the women’s cooperative. What fascinated me was their persistence to learn, ask questions, prepare the homework I give them, and write essays at home to be corrected in the classroom. I feel at home while in this amazing volunteering experience within my community. The integration went very smoothly, and I am confident that great things will come.

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