The countdown for going back to Sweden has started…
All the interviews are done, transcription and coding are finished… I am the moment putting together the result chapter… Realizing how difficult it will be to respect the numbers of pages allowed. Also reflecting over the ”lost in translation” may affect the final outcome. I have been collecting my data in French, writing the paper in English, and will in the end “defend” it in Swedish 🙂
All together I am very happy and pleased with my stay in Morocco. I have been lucky to get such a privileged insight in the NGO, surrounded by brilliant women, fighting for women’s right. I truly hope I will be able to make a fair portrait of their organization and their struggle!
House wise… it is great to live in a big house with a lot of different people because you are never alone! The downside… you are never alone. I am looking forward to be sharing a kitchen with only one person and to be able to have some quite time when needed.
I will finish off this input with some pictures from Chefchaouen, the Blue City, that I had the pleasure to visit last week-end, enjoy!
I am already all together impressed by several things here in Morocco. There is an energy and determination that I really appreciate. The look for solutions instead of getting frustrated about the obstacles. If something is broken, they repair it. If you do not have an income – you “create” a job.
During a trip to the south of Morocco, the Merzouga desert, I had the pleasure to observe a beautiful encounter between a friend and some young children. In the middle of nowhere, where the only thing you could see, whatever direction you looked, was sand…. This place was the “back yard”-playground for the kids. These children wanted to head for Palestine (by foot!) to solve the terrible existing situation. They pointed out the direction for Algeria, showed their muscles (to prove their strength) and said, we are strong, we can do it, let’s go!!!
The leader of their group told my friend that he was from Japan. My friend questioned the statement by asking how come his eyes didn’t confirm his origin. He then answered: I fixed them, because I do not want to look like Pokemoon! He actually meant Ban Ki-Moon, the General Secretary of UN, who a couple of weeks ago made a comment concerning Western Sahara and Morocco that upset some of the Moroccan population. The awareness of the young children in Morocco, their maturity and survival skills are remarkable. I was happy to see these one able to play around in the sand, having a moment of what it looked like, an innocent moment of childhood. This in contrast to the ones I see trying to sell paper napkins at midnight in Rabat city…
I really enjoy going to my NGO by bus and not only for the fact that it only costs 4 dh (around 3 Swedish kronor). It is a great opportunity to observe the Moroccans! 🙂
The other morning, I had the pleasure to witness a lovely example of how elderly persons are respected for their age, experience and “know how”. A lady came in with her baby wrapped around her back. She started talking to me in Darija (the Moroccan version, dialect, of the Arabic language) clearly asking me to help her with something. I was to no good at all, luckily the lady selling the bus tickets came to my rescue. The mother wished to get help with the baby’s arm to be able to feed him with the bottle while riding the bus. The baby was not at all interested, cried and showed its unhappiness for everyone.
Next to the mother was a very old man sitting, and next to him an old lady. The old lady starting to talk to the “desperate” mother… I believe she was giving advice.. the old man realized that this would go on for long, he changed places with the old lady without a word. The old lady unwrapped the baby while talking to the mother. This not being enough, the old lady promptly grabbed the baby, arranged the blankets and starting to talk him while feeding him. The result was amazing! In no time he calmed down and was eating peacefully! He looked as pleased as the people around us in the bus. Once finished her mission, the old lady gave the baby back right after kissing him on the cheeks and forehead.
This is something I would have loved to see more of back home in Sweden! That we cherish and listen to our older generation. With life experience comes wisdom, we learn from our mistakes…..why not acknowledge them and all the competences they have?
With the field study, everything goes according to the schedule so far… I have started the interviews and transcription and I manage to explore the outside of Rabat in the week-ends.
My field study here in Maroco is concentrated on one organisation and its way of working. To be able to see and understand the bigger picture though, I take every opportunity to get extra input. Last week was very interesting. I had the chance to meet a young woman who is about to start her own feminist NGO. Her first goal concerns the sexual harassment that you experience every day in the streets. She wants the young popluation of Morocco to be able to work side by side with the more experienced NGOs who mainly are run by a bit older women.
Thanks to my house mate I was invited to listen to a formation at UN Women… unfortunately they had to postpone the session due to last minute problems for the NGOs… But, at least I got to see their office, get some information and be invited back in April…
Another event I joined was at the cinema. Every Thursday they show different documentaries with Human Rights theme. The one last week is called: “No Land’s Song”. It is about a woman’s struggle to arrange a concert in Iran. Afterwards was a debate hold and parallels to women’s situation in Morocco was made.
Finally, the week ended with a spontaneous meeting with a president of another feminist NGO who kindly answered my questions and confirmed some of my impressions so far!
I have now spent my first week at the NGO. I ended up with an internship, full time, from 9 to 5 :-). It is interesting to see their activities and struggles from the inside. I helped out with the translating of a press release concering the 2nd draft of the law 103-13. This draft is about the violence against women and is, according to the NGO, even worst than the first one….
On my second day I assisted at the pressconference (wish was hold in arabic, I was in charge of taking photos) where the coalition “Le Printemps de la Dignité” (the springtime of dignity) was reaching out and calling upon a change of the mentioned draft. Several women were present and sharing their stories and how they feel that they have been let down by the current legislation.
I am know in the Moroccan “rythme” and I am adapting to the environement. Always having coins in my pocket,for bus, tram, paying the parking or buying lunch-bread at the local small shop. Not worring that you have no idea what bus will come your way, nor when it will show up. And when it eventually does, not so sure you will be able to get on :-). What is more of a challenge though is the internet access at the NGO…the wifi has its own agenda… 🙂
I have had the time to learn how to get around in the area and in the city, it is a “living on the edge” moment every time you try to pass the street. I observe the locals and stay close to them….so far so good! 🙂
Taxi White, taxi blue, tramway, buses, I do have options on how to get from one spot to another. Mostly friendly and really not expensive. I have been spoiled during my first week by my host who kindly has been taking me with her car to fix practical things like getting a Moroccan sim-card.
The meeting with the NGO went well, from Monday on I will spend a month internship with them! I have already been given homework, different reports that they ask me to be familiar with on my arrival.
On the social side am I getting to know my housemates. Swedish chocolate cake baking and jogging (to get rid of the cake!) are some of the activities. This week-end I am hoping to go “tourist” a bit! The last couple of days have been filled with assignments and home-exam for Malmö University.
I am very pleased by the daily interaction with the population of Rabat. Have been nothing but friendly treated and they offer to help when they see my confused /lost expression!
(some tiny problems with uploading Pictures… more to come!)
In Rabat since 3 days and loving every minute! I have had the possibility to visit Morocco twice before and therefor hade some “worries”….. But so far I have been very pleased. It is much cleaner, nicer and more organized than I remember.
So….Morocco – Patricia 1-0!!! 🙂
I was picked up at the Airport by my host who took me straigt to a restaurant to have a wonderful couscous because it is Friday = Couscous in Morocco. After the 2nd prayer (of 5), people of Morocco join their family for a lovely meal. I feel that Friday is gonna be my favourite day!
While looking for somewhere to stay during my MFS I was hoping the find something “safe” and comfy. I have been very lucky to get so much more! I now share a big house with a amazing women (the host) who takes her “mission” seriously, and several students, (a woman who is doing her internship at UN Women…what where the chances? :-). )
I have been given advice about sim-cards, how to get around, where to eat and shop and much more, I feel very spoiled! The fact that the host is involved and has a great network concerning NGOs working for women’s rigths just makes it even better. Having the privlige to discuss women’s situation with her the last 3 days has thaught me a lot!
Today I had the pleasure to go for a bit sight-seeing by car. Two beaches close by and a “team building place”:
Tomorrow the plan is to meet up with one NGO to explain in person the purpose of my study and hopefully get their support and help.
Right now in Härnösand with Amanda Cederberg from Mah and 26 other students. We are participating in SIDA’s mandatory preparation class related to the Minor Field Study. The exchange with students from different Universities with very variated topics is both interesting and inspiring!
Besides that, it is a true pleasure to experience a couple of days of real winter! I think I am falling in love in the north of our country! 🙂