During my study abroad experience to Rabat Morocco, we bid adieu from the city for 10 days and 9 nights. When the 12-hour bus ride finally came to a roaring halt at some 1,200 miles up, we knew we had arrived in Tighfest.
Tighfest is a tiny indigenous mountain village in the north of Morocco. As expected, the people of Tighfest were relatively timid with interacting with a bus load of city kids and a handful of western women like myself.
In order to break the ice, I ran to my luggage and grabbed 150 markers and a full coloring book of mandalas. The children of Tighfest were thrilled to play and color with my fellow Institute of Leadership and Communication Leaders and I.
Throughout our journey, our living conditions were relatively scarce. Our group was separated in groups of 2 and 4 and dispersed into the small homes of the people of the village. Our mission was to better their current living situation and embrace the enculturation of their methods and pastoral ways of living.
The greatest impact was the joy we brought to the children of Tighfest. We played games, built tire swings, played field games and even taught them simple and efficient hygiene methods like salt water mouthwash.
During the first two or three days of living in Tighfest, rural life began to weigh on us. While living in the mountains, we struggled with limited water supplies, scarce showering privileges and crowded living spaces. Many of my team members began to feel lethargic and felt that going home early was the best bet.
As our 10-day stay came to an end, our teams attitude made a complete 360. As leaders, we truly changed the lives of the people of Tighfest for the better. We brought happiness, toys, excitement, compassion and help to these wonderful people. Not only did we teach them lessons, but they also taught us a very valuable lesson. Our trip to Tighfest truly humbled us. As our bus departed, there wasn’t a dry eye to be seen. This trip not only changed the people of Tighfest’s lives, but it changed ours too.