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My Journey to Serve in the High Atlas Mountains

Written by CorpsAfrica/Maroc Volunteer Ms. Aziza El Aazizi

Lao Tzu once said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” From Dakhla Moroccan Sahara to the High Atlas Mountains, it took me 867 miles to get to my site where I will serve my community for nine months with CorpsAfrica/Maroc. Even though the road was long and arduous, and I was very exhausted by the 24 hours of hitting the road to Marrakech, I didn’t take a break to rest because I was too excited to start my volunteering service.

I have to say the first thank you goes to CorpsAfrica’s experienced staff and their diligent efforts to support me, because I went to my site with them. I still remember the amount of anxiety that hit me when I was close to my site, and I remember hoping I would fit in well with my host family and with the community. I didn’t have to worry, because everybody was so welcoming – they were really nice to me.

My first friend there was an aged woman who can speak both Amazigh language and Moroccan Darija, called Lala Rqia. I once asked her to teach me the Amazigh language to ease my integration, and she said calmly, “I can be your teacher.“ I believe that talking to people using their language will be easier than using a language they don’t speak well. As Nelson Mandela once said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his hand. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” He was so right. When you make the effort to speak in someone else’s language, even if it’s just basic phrases here and there, you are saying to them, I understand that you have a culture and identity that exists beyond me. I see you as a human being.

I applied to become a CorpsAfrica Volunteer for many reasons. The most important reason that urged me to seek a volunteer opportunity was the warm feeling I get when giving back. That is the feeling I get whenever I can offer a smile to a sad face and know that I’m contributing and helping people. Even if I could only help 1 person out of 100, I would come out a good person, because only good can come out of helping someone in need.

Another reason why I wanted to become a CorpsAfrica Volunteer is because I believed it would be an opportunity to take me out of my comfort zone and teach me about myself. Besides, volunteering with CorpsAfrica will help me broaden my cultural horizon, learn new ways to approach existing problems, new ways of looking at the world, and learn a new language, which are some of the best ways to grow.

I’m so delighted and ecstatic to be a CorpsAfrica Volunteer, to serve my community, and to be the change that I want to see in the world.

The feeling of community and the kindness of people I meet when volunteering is absolutely great. The idea that something I do makes this world better, kinder, and happier is even better. I do believe that volunteering is not something I can explain through the model of reason and consequence. This is rather a state of mind, and a lifestyle.

You can read all about my volunteering journey in my WordPress blogs, you can find it through the following link: https://azizaelazizi.wordpress.com/

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