Friday, June 1, 2012

Justin's first event!

Back in March, I wrote this post about the first big event that I did in Tiflet (outside of teaching English classes and miscellaneous smaller activities). Now, it's Justin's turn! 

A couple of months ago, Justin was approached by a friend of ours, who is also the president of one of the local associations in Tiflet. He wanted to put on a festival for a rural underserved community, and explained that with Tiflet being a larger city (about 80,000 people), youth have access to resources that can help them to learn and develop in new ways - for example, a Youth Center and along with it, clubs and associations that do activities involving sports, music, theater, or art. This association wanted to provide something for rural youth that would give them access to some of those same resources, help to teach them skills, and forge a partnership with the community for potential future activities. Justin had previously mentioned that if the association ever needed money for an event, that he might be able to help them find funding sources - and this was a great opportunity.

For several weeks, Justin worked with the association to apply for a microgrant, which helped to provide the funding for supplies, transportation, food, etc. Once the grant was approved and the planning continued, Justin helped along the way, talking with the planners to help make sure all of the bases were covered. And Justin and I both attended the 2-day festival and helped out in any way that we could with limited language - setting things up, taking pictures, dancing with the kids, and helping with a workshop. I watched a lot of the kids from this community really come out of their shells over the two days and was really inspired by what our community's youth were able to do for others. Enjoy the photos and descriptions below which will tell you a bit about what went on there.

Day 1:

Arrived bright and early to help set up a stage, banners, some speakers, and lots of other fun stuff, along with other youth from Tiflet and teachers at the community's school:

The first activity was a soccer tournament, starting with 4 teams/2 games on the first day, and a final on the second day.

If you noticed, the photos above were all boys - That's because soccer here is mostly focused on boys. For the girls, the association put together a running competition. Not quite as big of an event as the boys', but still good for them to participate, and it's great that the association included physical activity for girls, something that often seems to be overlooked.

Next came a puppet show, with the theme around the importance of studying and going to school (at least that's what I think, based on not totally knowing everything they were saying!).

Then, a set of clowns to get the kids excited!

After some dancing with the clowns, we continued with a "cultural competition" - sort of like a quiz show around Moroccan and Islamic culture.

Next was an art workshop which I helped to run... just a chance for them to draw and express themselves.

And last (but very important) for day 1 was LUNCH! And since it was Friday, it of course had to be couscous. This was one of the MANY platters of couscous passed around.

Then, Justin and I went home and COLLAPSED.

Day 2:

The day started with the final soccer game to determine the tournament winners. Tensions were a bit high amongst the coaches (the kids' teachers) and lots of cheering went on!

After the game ended, we continued the excitement with a small dance party - And I learned some moves!

Next was the awards ceremony for the soccer and running. All of the kids were given certificates for participation in the festival too.

Somehow in the midst of all of this, Justin got put into a "jellaba" - a traditional Moroccan outfit. Quick photo break :)


Activities continue with performances that the kids have been practicing in school in preparation for the event - comedy routines, dances, theatrical performances, songs, even short speeches. All really impressive!

And last but definitely not least - the festival concluded with a "fantasia" performed by members of the community - a traditional equestrian display in Morocco that has been practiced for centuries (you can read more about it on the Wikipedia page). The fantasia involves horses and riders in traditional dress, riding along a straight path at the exact same speed so that they form a perfect horizontal line. All riders are carrying traditional guns and at the end of their short ride towards onlookers, they all fire into the sky at the exact same time. Pretty cool! As they were setting up, Justin and I got to pose with one of the horses, and I also spent time taking photos and admiring the beautiful traditional dress on the horses.


All in all, a really successful event, and I'm proud of Justin for the work he put into it and even more impressed by the amazing youth in our community who conceived of and organized the festival. I can only imagine how many more great experiences like this we will witness over the remaining year and a half here!


  1. You guys make me proud to be a PCV. Tbarkallah u mbruk!!

  2. I hope Justin is learning some dance moves as well!

  3. Thank you Matt!! Jesse, no dance moves yet unfortunately. But I hope that 2 years will wear him down and I will be ready with the camera :)