A great trip, it was great fun spending time with the kids. I thoroughly enjoyed the painting, our group were great to work with. I miss the serenity of Tijhza valley and can't wait to go back again.
- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Meeting Fatima after reading about her story on the website, seeing the children enjoying their new painted classrooms, learning the most popular playground games (no expensive gadgets required) and showing the children how to take pictures and showing them their work afterwards.
Walking back to the gite with a child grasping on to each hand we met some of the local women who knew the girls so they greeted me too as a friend. You don't generally get to meet many Berber women (unless they teach) so this was really special.
On our way out of the valley we looked over to one of the villages and could see the new school door gleaming brightly across the valley. When we arrived the classroom didn't even have a door.
- What did you think of your group leader?
- Great leader - Andy cares a lot about the project and about the villagers, it's clear that the project is making a difference and that the villagers are keen to get involved.
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
If you've always wanted to take a volunteer holiday this is a great project. Take plenty of batteries for your camera, if you are happy to let the children use it to take pictures the batteries quickly run out! Learn some basic french -nothing advanced is needed, and the odd Berber or Arabic phrase is really appreciated. You don't need to take many clothes as you will wear the same clothes every day in the valley!
In general for visiting the gite, don't forget your flip flops. The showers downstairs are less busy so you don't need to queue. Take some golden syrup for the porridge for breakfast and don't expect fresh milk at any point. If you don't like mint tea then consider taking fruit teas or instant cappucino sachets. Pillows are now fine so just a pillowcase will do.
Veggies - no problems finding veggie food in Morocco. Make sure you have something for the flight, despite confirming my veggie meals at check in Royal Air Maroc managed to forget on both trips...
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
This really is a great project, the villagers are keen to help themselves too so it really is a joint effort. You really get to spend time with the locals, and I will learn some basic football rules so that I can join in the girls match next time.
Even if you've never considered volunteer holidays before and fancy something different it really is worthwhile.