Happy Belated New Year!
If I had been in Michigan a few days ago, I would have been dressed up in several layers of clothing watching a tin-foil ball of lights drop jerkily from the top of a tall building (yay Marquette ball drop!), but since I was in Morocco, I was dressed up in several layers hanging out with a super awesome group of girls at a girl’s empowerment camp up in the mountains.
The camp, organized by my super good friend and awesome CBT mate (training was almost a whole year ago! Wow!), was a GLOW camp – Girls Leading Our World – which are a favorite activity of many PCVs. The camps can focus on pretty much anything, as long as it’s intended for helping girls improve their lives and communities. Ours was focused on leadership and entrepreneurship, and turned out to be a great success.
The first thing to know about Moroccan girls is you always say hello and goodbye with kisses on the cheek (if you are also a girl, of course). Our camp had 50 girls in attendance. Which means kissing fifty people on the cheek every morning – usually once on each side of the face. Same in the evening when they left. That’s a lot of cheek kisses.
Between greeting and saying goodbye each day, we ran the girls through a series of workshops and activities. My particular responsibility was leading a goal-setting workshop on the first afternoon. The girls thought about what they wanted to do with their lives, both within five years and then as adults. Lots of them want to be doctors, teachers, a couple policewomen. Others had goals of getting married and having children – specifically twins were popular with one group. In the second half of the workshop, the girls chose one goal that was particularly important to them and then brainstormed the different steps that need to be accomplished to reach that goal.
Our other workshops included an entrepreneurship lesson in which groups created greeting card companies, a dance workshop, and a self-defense introduction, which I thought went really really well. Nothing like spending a morning showing girls how to throw a punch without breaking their thumbs. And how to be aware of their surroundings. And helping them realize they can protect themselves. That they should protect themselves. Love it.
And, of course, over the week, we sang songs and had outrageous dance parties and had a good time in general.
The camp was held about an hour outside of Ouarzazate, and being in the mountains, was quite a bit colder than I’m used to now in T–, where it reached about 80 degrees this morning. It brought me back to training last year – see your breath indoors, don’t change out of a base layer of long underwear except absolutely required, sleep in a coat and a hat. My dose of winter right there.