From July 30 till August 8, “Armenian Progressive Youth” NGO’s five volunteers, including me, have participated in an international youth exchange project in Larache, Morocco. Our long trip to the north of Africa started from the flights, that lasted almost 20 hours, including the transit of 8 hours in Istanbul. After we safely arrived to Casablanca, we took a train to Larache (5 hours).
Finally we were in Larache. It was early in the morning when we arrived, the city was still sleeping and the streets were empty. My first impression is connected with the amazing view of Atlantic we saw, when we were going from the train station to our accommodation by car.After the warm welcome by the organisers and getting to know each other with participants, the project began on the next day.
This project was organized as a part of a bigger project, called “More Mosaic”. The latter includes series of interconnected activities, aimed to create a platform for dialogue among youth with different cultural and religious backgrounds. People, who participate in these activities believe, that the dialogue with mutual understanding and respect only can prevent conflicts and wars, thereafter it is the key to peaceful coexistence.
Except for us (the Armenian participants), there were also young people, coming from Georgia, Ukraine, Morocco and Sweden.All of the participants were smart, experienced, open-minded and enthusiastic. The sessions and even the breaks between them were filled with interesting discussions. It is important to mention about the openness of participants and their enterprising spirit.The topics of discussions were varying from the role of non-formal education to civil activism, from LGBT rights to interreligious problems, and all of them were always initiated by the participants themselves. It was a great pleasure to discuss about everything with these people, considering all aspects of the problems and trying to find solutions to them. During the sessions we have been taught about different tools and methods of conflict-resolution, promotion of European citizenship values, tolerance, multiculturalism, diversity, etc…This project can be considered as a contact making project as well. Most participants represented different NGOs. Some of us decided to cooperate and organize other events in future.
But besides the main project, we had the free time to enjoy the hot, colorful and mysterious Morocco, as well. After the sessions, in the evenings, we were allowed to walk in the beautiful city of Larache, which is an atlantic port city and, by the way, the local life is most active in the late evenings here. However, it is not all. The project schedule had 2 days for tours. The first one, was a tour to the beach, where we swimmed and surfed in the Atlantic ocean. And the second, tour to the beautiful city Asillah, which charmed us with its amazing architecture. The Moroccan culture, customs and traditions are so different from ours and so interesting. Everyday you feel like you wake up in a totally different world, or in a TV-show. People are very positive and friendly, always willing to help. I can not forget about the great Moroccan cuisine. I just loved tajine, couscous, harira, the moroccan flatbread, and some sweets as baklava and pastilla.
But as every fairy tale has its happy ending, our project had its own, too. As the project ended, we had to say goodbye. Every and each day of our trip to Morocco was a holiday and joy for us, filled with many great emotions. It was an unforgettable life experience, which taught us a lot. We thank all the organisers for giving us this opportunity and hope to meet everyone very soon again.