We are a group of 5 girls who are going on a 2-week volunteer vacation to Morocco in Oct 2010 with Cross Cultural Solutions. This blog will keep track of our preparation, fundraising & the actual trip.

To sponsor, please go to the CCS website at, and enter the volunteer’s last name.

Africa » Morocco » Rabat-Salé-Zemmour-Zaer » Rabat November 4th 2010

My volunteer placement in Rabat, Morocco was at Le Feminin Pluriel, a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1999. This organization has a small center that focuses on women’s empowerment and educational programs. They host conferences such as the one of the Mediterranean women’s writers every year and bring in guest speakers on various topics to their center on every Thursday. Last week someone came and spoke on “Technology.” The programs are mainly in French. There is also a library and a computer lab for the members to use. Leslie and I were asked to teach English for two hours each day to the women and occasional men who are interested in learning. They have ongoing classes in the daytime and evenings, taught by volunteers from other organizations. The biggest challenge here was that we didn’t ... read more
Stephanie teaching
Its a tea party
Last day of class

Africa » Morocco » Rabat-Salé-Zemmour-Zaer » Rabat November 1st 2010

Some of the volunteers from our home base have been volunteering at a local orphanage. Today I learnt a few things about the system in Morocco. For starters, most of the kids in the orphanages are boys. This is surprising to learn since it is usually more girls than boys that end up in orphanages in every other country that I have come across. For instance the Mother Teresa’s home in India had 99 girls for every 1 boy as boys get adopted quickly and girls are abandoned by families. The reason in India for this behavior is that a boy is seen as an asset, sort of insurance in old age; whereas a girl is seen as a burden since she would consumer resources for her wedding and then would go off to take care ... read more

Africa » Morocco » Rabat-Salé-Zemmour-Zaer » Rabat October 31st 2010

The CCS (Cross Cultural Solutions) home base in Rabat is located in an upscale suburb. You can tell by the gated two story bungalows, clean roads and frequent Mercedes passing by here. Also, within walking distance are two malls, one of which is a high end with designer boutiques and a hypermarket. There is a spa, a hair cut place, few restaurants and cafes nearby. The drive into the city takes about 20 minutes and costs about $3 each way. Visiting the spa, I observed women dressed in fashionable western attire and had a status around them. Perhaps these were wives of diplomats or expats. The spa offered everything from aerobics, fat reduction, electro treatments to standard massages and hammam treatment that were sold in packages of 10. Our house is surrounded by a garden and ... read more
The living/ dining area
Backyard is relaxing
Resource room

Africa » Morocco » Fès-Boulemane » Fes October 28th 2010

Fes or Fez is the oldest imperial city in Morocco and its old town is now a UNESCO world heritage site. While it was not in our original itinerary of touring Morocco, Leslie, Cheryl and I made an impromptu decision to make a day trip to Fes, which is about 3 hours each way by train and usually done on a weekend. It was a crazy idea, but doable! At least, we wanted to test it if it was attainable or not. The same evening we went and purchased three first class tickets for the following afternoon. After working in the morning at our respective sites, we reached the train station at 12:30pm and grabbed some food there. I got a BBQ chicken pizza and a Miranda from Pizza Hut to go. It was actually better ... read more
Getting ready to take down the con man
The crazy Medina
Taxi sightseeing Fes

Africa » Morocco » Rabat-Salé-Zemmour-Zaer » Rabat October 25th 2010

My friends travelling with me must be tired of listening to me say "This reminds me of India" dozens of times since we came here. In fact, there are a lot of similarities between India and Morocco, to say the least. Here are a few worth pointing out... Over crowdedness: When I was walking around in Casablanca, it was a similar experience as being in New Delhi i.e. utter chaos everywhere. Traffic pouring from all directions, hundreds of cars and bikes, none following road rules, yet finding their way through the mess without any incidents. My American friends felt very scared of riding in the petit taxis holding on to their seatbealt-less seats in run down cars fearing a collision at every turn. Pollution: Again, the car exhaust fumes, dust, dirt, garbage-quite like any big city ... read more
Soaps from the past
Fair & Lovely
Haven't seen Sunsilk since India

Africa » Morocco October 22nd 2010

Its typical in the states to take a cab and occasionally the cabby tries to scheme you....well today, our first day in Morocco it happened!! We were heading to lunch, and the cabby said 30 Dirhams well we didnt' have a change so Cheryl said she would run into the restaurant and get change. He was not too excited about that and tried to convice her for 60 Dirhams he would come back in 3 hours to take us somewhere else. We said no, we didn't feel comfortable with that. Cheryn comes to pay the Cabby an all of a sudden he wants 80 Dirham. Sucheta and I were standing off to the side not knowing whats going on, she leaves away and says she was so confused she just paid 80 Dirhams!! So our cabby ... read more

Africa » Morocco » Grand Casablanca » Casablanca October 22nd 2010

I never thought one could have so many adventures in less than 24 hours! For starters, our flight from Atlanta was delayed, which left us with a very tight layover in Paris to get our connection to Casablanca. Once we landed at Charles de Gaulle airport, things slowed down to a "French" pace. The bus took forever to go from one terminal to the next, under freezing tempratures & passengers packed in like sardines. We ran with all our might while it was way past our boarding time, only for me to be held up by the security for my tiny bottle of Purell hand sanitizer! Surely, it would have been a pity if that made us miss our flight but we made it. Along the way, we also met a lady quite randomly & started ... read more
Police barricades on the streets
The King of Morocco
Hassan II Mosque

North America » United States » Georgia October 18th 2010

Our girls group has downzised from 5 to 3 now. Family issue & health problems are preventing our good friends from joining us this time so it will be only Cheryl, Leslie & myself on the Girls to Morocco volunteer vacation trip. We leave in just 3 days & are very excited. With recent news of travel advisory, terrorist threats & gas strike in Europe, we are also a bit nervous. Wish us luck! We land in Casablanca, then go to Rabat, tour the Atlas mountains over the weekend, volunteer for another week & then fly back from Marrakesh. It wasn't hard to find decent cheap accomodations for the days we are not at the volunteer house (althought would know better once we get there). The work we will be doing in Rabat is with young ... read more

North America » United States » Georgia » Atlanta September 22nd 2010

Thank you to all the ladies who attended my Pedicure for a Purpose fundraiser this past weekend! Although the attendance was low, we had a great time. Each person got individual attention from Ruth (our Mary Kay consultant) who demonstrated products while we soaked our feet in warm tubs. We exfoliated, massaged & pampered our hands & feet (which we often tend to overlook). Then we enjoyed some hors d'oeuvres, cupcakes & lemonde. I ended up not making much with this fundraiser but I appreciate all of your support! In case you still like to purchase any items towards my fundraiser, you can do so until Saturday, Sept 25th by visiting ... read more
Quite a spread
Personalized Consultations
Soaking it in

North America » United States » Georgia » Smyrna September 3rd 2010

We are only 20 days away from our deadline to make the full payment to Cross Cultural Solutions for the program. This only includes stay and meals for 2 weeks at Rabat. We are also looking to fundraise for transportation (flight tickets) that runs between $1100-1500. My upcoming fundraiser is a "Pedicure with a Purpose" party on September 19th. This event is sponsored by Ruth Swank, a Mary Kay rep. who was nice enough to offer me this great deal. I have invited girlfriends to come on a sunday afternoon to get pampered with pedicures, hand lotions, chair messages, make up products to try, and preview the holiday collection. We will even have some light refreshments and plenty of chit-chatter. Portion of all sale proceeds (before and during the event) will go to CCS towards my ... read more

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