By Caroline Lavoie

I can’t believe it’s already been nearly a month since I arrived in Morocco – time flies!

One of my tasks over these past few weeks has been to compile a list of NGOs based in Africa and North America. I was expecting a straightforward task of simply searching for these organisations and copy-pasting their mission and contact information, and while technically that’s what it was, I found myself unexpectedly moved by it.

It was deeply humbling to see the sheer multitude of people organising themselves, around the world, to make lives better- whether it was the lives of members of their communities, of people like themselves, of future generations, of their loved ones, of strangers, or their own. What’s more, these activists sometimes put themselves at great personal risk to do this work.

One NGO I stumbled across, “Awid Women’s Rights,” has an online memorial that “honors feminists and Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs) who have died and whose contributions to the advancement of human rights are very much missed.”(1) Needless to say, it was hard to read about people – many of whom I identified with, who are a part of my community and/or advocate on behalf of it – getting killed because of their work in human rights. It was a serious reminder that it’s thanks to the work of people like this, over generations and still happening now, that the good life I have and the opportunities available to me exist.

To conclude, a list of a few random thoughts outside the context of the internship itself…

  • Something I’m missing from home: Dancing!
  • Something I know I’ll be missing from Morocco: Those fresh, fresh juices.
  • Something I’ve learned: Where to line up to catch the shared commuter taxi.
  • Something I’m grateful for: Rabat’s ocean breeze, usually keeping the temperature in the very pleasant 20-30C range, unlike in other Moroccan cities (looking at you, Marrakesh.)
  • Something I’m listening to: Elida Almeida, “Bersu d’Oru” (thanks for the introduction, Festival Mawazine!)
  • Something I’ve read: Amin Maalouf, “Leo the African” (a great read when you’re in the midst of travelling yourself.)
  • Something I dislike: Still dressing modestly when the temperature climbs…
  • A place I loved: Essaouira!
  • Something I’m nervous about: attempting a few days (too optimistic??) of fasting for Ramadan, or as my coworkers call it, ‘aww, the equivalent of a child’s first Ramadan!’ Wish me luck!