Just the beginning

This is nothing I was expecting. No training prior to arriving to Rabat, Morocco would have been enough for the diverse culture shock I am experiencing and have to adapt to. No toilet paper. No utensils. No air conditioning.
I was picked up at the airport by my coordinator, Ali. Luckily, my mom was able to join me for the first few days as I settled in my new (temporary) home. My host family consists of 3 siblings, a mom and dad, all of which are very sweet and welcoming. I also have a roommate, Emily, who is from Little Rock, Arkansas. Living in the medina, there is always constant noise and movement which makes it really difficult to sleep. Roosters, dogs, cats, carts, walking; you hear it all. Morocco is an Islamic country, therefore, the people pray 5 times a day. There is an intercom throughout the city that advices them when to pray, the first rings at 4:30 in the morning.
During my mom’s stay, I was able to visit Casablanca with her before I started to work. Here, we saw the biggest mosque and mall in all of Africa. It was truly beautiful. After my mom left, I started my first day at work. Working at the orphanage I had a very different image of what I would be doing. I was quickly placed in the handicapped department in which I bathe clothes, feed, and play with the kids. My first day, I mostly observed because I was still in shock as to what I signed up for.
I must say, I had an emotional breakdown when I arrived home after work because I am overwhelmed by the experience. I cried to my mom and I begged to come back home. Like any mother would have said, she told me it was normal to feel this way but that coming home would not make me a failure. After taking the weekend to sleep in all day, I knew that for me there will be an end date. However, many of the students I am attending to are unable to just get up and leave. I took this into account and advised my mom that I will give it more time.


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