For the past few months, Belinda (fellow YES Abroad student) and I have been collaborating with students at a local middle school to put on a bilingual talent show. Last Friday, the show (called Ibn Sina's Got Talent) took place! As the name of the show would suggest, the students of Ibn Sina are extremely talented. For starters, the emcees spoke in Arabic and English, so that everyone could understand and improve their language skills. There were several hilarious skits, some singing and original rap songs. Many of the students have only studied English for a year, but conveyed emotion and humor in their performances.
Ibn Sina School
Belinda and I took to the stage to show off our talent: speaking Darija (Moroccan Arabic). We performed two skits, one about the corner store and another about the hammam. I loved seeing the audience members faces light up as we conversed in Darija.
Belinda & I with our fellow performers (Belinda's picture)
After our skits I gave a speech in Darija, which you can watch here. (Please forgive my accent). In English, my speech translates to: "Hello everyone, peace be upon you. My name is Catherine. I came to Morocco with the program Kennedy Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Abroad because I wanted to learn about Moroccan culture. I study at a Moroccan school and live with a Moroccan family. I arrived here in September. Everything was new to me but I liked it all. I did not know Darija--nothing. I was like a baby. Today, I've been in Morocco for nine months. I speak a little bit of Darija and French. I have friends from Morocco. I know how to cook cous cous and rafeesa and I drink mint tea every day. I saw Eid l Kabir. I went to a Moroccan wedding and danced all night. I traveled to Marrakesh, Essouira, Fez, Azrou, M'diq, Tetouan, Meknes, Cassablanca and Chefchouen. I like Essouira a lot but all the cities in Morocco are beautiful. Before I came here, I never went to the hammam in my life. But when I came to Morocco, I liked the hammam a lot and now I go there about twice a week. When I go to the United States, I will be sad because I will miss the hammam. In the United States, we don't have the hammam like in Morocco. I feel with the city of Rabat like I feel with my city. I have to go back to the United States in June. Yes, I have an American passport, but my heart is half Moroccan, half American."
After the official talent show ended, we had a dance party. I love Moroccan dance parties so much--no soundtrack needed, just voices to sing and hands to drum a rhythm. There's no feeling of self consciousness--everyone just lets loose and has a wonderful time. I'm going to miss Moroccan dancing! Performing in Ibn Sina's Got Talent allowed me to connect with a great group of young people, and I'm so grateful to the show's organizer, Nabila, for coordinating the event and involving Belinda and me.
The fantastic Nabila, Belinda, and me (Belinda's photo)
P.S. Sorry for not posting much lately. I'm leaving on June 11 (too soon), so I'm busy soaking up every moment left.