Last night was a very unique experience for all of us. We all agreed, we went to the most unique restaurant any of us has ever been to. It was a mixture of dinner theatre and the Stampede. The restaurant is called Chez Ali. We ate in large tents and were served delicious courses of Moroccan soup, whole roasted lamb, chicken couscous and fresh fruit. The meal was wonderful and was followed by an outdoor show put on by Berber horsemen. They told the story of Aladdin. There were equine acrobatics and even a gun fight and fireworks. It truly was a unique experience. But then, that seems to be what Morocco is all about.
Today continued to reinforce the unique magic of Morocco. This was our last day at the project. We had a great deal of work to do. As well, today was quite cool and rainy, which made it somewhat difficult to work. We had to plant 140 rose bushes, five bitter orange trees, and paint ten benches. But the kids rose to the challenge as per usual. All of the work was accomplished, even in the pouring rain. They were an amazing group to work with. To see the finished product of our four days of work is a great feeling. As well, the girls from the centre helped out with our students. It was amazing to work side by side with one another. But that was not the end of our day.
The dorm is operated by a foundation run by an organization in Marrakech. The president of the foundation is a well known Moroccan politician. He came from a very poor background and found a great deal of success before entering into politics. He feels it is important to be generous with his wealth. We were the recipients of this generosity today. The president invited our group and some of the girls back to his house for Friday lunch. I cannot begin to describe this experience. I have travelled a great deal but have never been the recipient of such generosity. We were served an amazing, traditional Moroccan lunch in a beautiful area of the president’s house. It was a space filled with intricate wood carving, beautiful coloured tiles and soft couches to lounge upon. We definitely felt very blessed to be a part of the meal. After our lunch, some of the girls from the dorm drew henna patterns on the hands and feet of our kids. Again, a very welcome surprise. This was followed up with our group receiving gifts from Haj Amara, the president and owner of the house. Such generosity was truly welcome and unnecessary. We completed our project because we wanted to not to receive anything in return. It was a wonderful afternoon. One I am certain the group will not soon forget.
Tomorrow, we are off to the coast. It is a three hour bus ride and we are all looking forward to seeing what else Morocco has in store for us.