Report by Jessica Brown
This summer, I spent 12 days in Morocco for an expedition with members of my school. The trip was split into 3 parts; community work, trekking and rest.
We started the expedition with our community phase. This included staying at a local school for 3 days whilst working at a nearby boarding school for boys during their half-term break. The school was very run-down and didn’t have basic facilities, so we re-painted rooms, cleaned wherever possible and hired local plumbers and electricians to help fix what was needed.
This phase was extremely rewarding; we felt like we had achieved a lot and really improved the conditions for the boys at the school, and we also learnt to cook traditional Moroccan meals and got a real feel for the local culture. It really helped myself and others in the group to realise how fortunate we are with the things we have at home and how lucky we are with our education in the UK. I was also lucky enough to make friends with a local girl, who I hope to stay in contact with.
The second part of the expedition phase was trekking through the Atlas Mountains. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done and really tested my limits, however when we had completed it the sense of accomplishment was amazing. This was a great opportunity to experience some of the cultures and traditions that we might not have experienced as normal tourists. We stayed at various campsites throughout the Mountains, where we met lots of younger children and donated toys and presents we had brought along.
The final part of the expedition was the rest phase. We travelled to a coastal town called Essaouira, visiting the markets and experiencing local life. We also had the opportunity to ride camels along the beach (one of my favourite parts of the trip and something I will never forget!) before returning to Marrakech for our last night. The traditions and culture of Morocco are very different to what we are used to at home and it was an eye-opening experience especially after visiting the souks. It was also educating as we had to take into account there religious beliefs in the way that we dressed and behaved.
Overall, this expedition has changed my outlook in many ways. I have a new appreciation for everyday things. I, have a new understanding of what I can achieve when I set my mind to it, and I am grateful that I have experienced the beauty of another country and culture. I feel honoured to have been able to take part in such a life changing adventure and for that reason I am truly thankful for all of the support given to me by the Young Explorers Trust.