Emma Pugsley - After School Sports in Morocco
My name is Emma Pugsley and I am 19 years old. After graduating from school, I decided to take a year off to do some traveling. Last October, I spent just over four weeks volunteering with Projects Abroad in Rabat, Morocco.
My Host Family
My volunteering experience with Projects Abroad was truly amazing. I never expected to have the experience I did while living in Rabat. I lived with a lovely local host family and shared a room with another volunteer named, Madison; my friend from back home.
I was overwhelmed by how hospitable and generous my host family was. They cooked traditional Moroccan meals and showed us how the locals live in Morocco. This left us quite intrigued by the different living patterns they have in comparison to what we are used to back home.
It was all such new experiences and a breath of fresh air. The lifestyle was very different from what I had been used to all my life, the experience was also eye opening to me and was a very big culture shock. It took me about a week and a half to get used to the different ways of doing things and the different culture. After I got the hang of it, it was very easy going and quite beautiful.
My Sports Placement in Morocco
During the week, Madison and I would walk about ten minutes to catch a cab, and then take the fifteen minute ride to the next town to work at our placement. We both volunteered as sports instructors at a school for underprivileged children.
The age groups of the kids we worked with ranged from six years old to seventeen years old. They were all so sweet and cute. We did have some moments when the children acted out, but they were so funny most of the time which made it hard to stay mad at them.
Each day the kids would have different classes with different teachers who worked at the school. They would participate in language classes, arts and crafts, mathematics and English classes. Madison and I were lucky enough to take the lead in the English class, a couple of times, when it was too rainy to play outside.
They loved to see what we had planned to play with them each day, and what new games and techniques we could teach them; to improve their knowledge of soccer and basketball. The teachers at the facility were not too strict when it came to the kid’s spending extra time with us, so some days we would take breaks from the sports plan and play some fun games with them in the yard.
I learned a lot from these kids and they honestly touched my life in different ways. The teachers at the school were kind to us and usually generous with the time we got to spend with the kids.
The hours we would work during the week would change according to the needs of the project. Most days we would start our day at 9AM and end as late as 5PM at night. At noon, we would go home for lunch, hang out at school, or even go shopping. This was an unusual but a nice break to have each day.
On weekends we were free to do what we wanted. This was such a blessing because we used the time to go to the beach, shop around town, and explored the beautiful country of Morocco. We even traveled to Spain one weekend due to the fact that the trip to Spain wasn’t nearly as far as it would be if we traveled from our home country.
My Final Thoughts
Projects Abroad in Morocco was very helpful and they really took time to make sure I was having a good, safe and enjoyable time in Rabat. Each week they held a meeting with all volunteers who were in Rabat at the time. It was a great opportunity to meet new people from around the world, who were in the exact same boat as I. We used that time to share stories, get to know each other, and even eat amazing food together!
Personally, I love traveling and I am so glad that I chose Morocco as my placement destination. I am currently looking into doing another placement with Projects Abroad in the near future. I truly recommend this experience to anyone and everyone who has the chance to take this opportunity, because for me it was life changing.