The Scarlet & Black

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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Feven Getachew
Feven Getachew
May 6, 2024
Michael Lozada
Michael Lozada
May 6, 2024
Nathan Hoffman
Nathan Hoffman
May 6, 2024
Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
May 6, 2024

Day in the Life: Francess Dunbar ’20’s day abroad in Morocco

7:30 a.m. — Wake up from yet another stress dream of being lost in a corn field.

7:45 a.m. —  Breakfast bread and coffee with my host mother. 

8:00 a.m. —  Lead my homestay roommate through the médina. Stop to pet a few of the thousands of cute stray cats along the way and hope that rabies vaccine holds out.

8:25 a.m. —  Class begins about ten minutes late as usual.

9:00 a.m. — Discuss our visit to the largest solar farm in the world in Ourzazate, Morocco. Consider how when I stared at the solar panels they stared back at me.

10:30 a.m. — Research methods class begins. I try to pay attention but end up journaling about the inevitable end that is coming for all of us due to our own overindulgence. 

11:30 a.m. —  Decide that capitalism is to blame.

11:45 a.m. —  Get coffee from the espresso dispenser in the hallway. What will I do next semester when I must walk to the Grill for coffee? 

12:30 p.m. — Eat some couscous and bread on the rooftop terrace with a beautiful view of the Kasbah and Atlantic Ocean. Write Maggie Coleman ’20 and Paige Oamek ’20 some cute postcards because I love and miss my friends so much. 

2:00 p.m. —  Return downstairs for a guest lecture by a leader in the village who sold their lands to make the Noor Power Plant possible. They have lost valuable grazing land with little recompense except for slightly better social services. Reflect on how there is no such thing as empty land, and how many people will lose their lives and cultural heritage for adaptation efforts.

4:00 p.m. —  Class ends. We end the day with a “community building” sing along that feels pretty out of place. I’m just not used to structured bonding anymore. Would I understand this better if I had worked at some weird, vaguely indigenous appropriative summer camp like everyone else here? 

4:30 p.m. —  Wander back home through the médina, stopping again to pet cats. I am greeted on the street by at least three older Moroccan women who know my host mother, many men who want to be my “Moroccan boyfriend” (street harassment is a problem here), and a few kids who I give orange slices. After being in Rabat for just two weeks, I feel more welcomed and comfortable in the space than I ever expected.

5:00 p.m. —  Home in time for tea and cookies! My host mom makes me a mini pot without mint because I don’t like the taste. 

5:20 p.m. — Play with my 2-year-old host niece, Lena, who speaks the same amount of Arabic as I do. She is fascinated by my hair and my bracelets, and likes to hide in my suitcase and surprise me by popping out.

6:00 p.m. — I walk to the red rock cliffs on the edge of the city to watch sunset over the Atlantic Ocean with Carmen Ribadeneira ’20. We talk about what will disappear under the crashing waves first: this porous limestone or human civilization. Once again it is one of the most colorful and beautiful sunsets of my life.

7:30 p.m. —  We walk back through the médina. The comments from men get a little more aggressive, but nobody grabs or follows us. We stop by my favorite baklava stand, and I get some honeyed walnuts in phyllo dough to eat while I peruse the bootleg book stand next door.

8:15 p.m. — Home for the night. I play with Lena a little more, though she’s starting to get tired and cranky.

9:00 p.m. — Lena’s parents (who are both Moroccan detectives) come home from work to pick her up. I grab my book and read while half paying attention to the Moroccan reality television the rest of the family is watching.

10:15 p.m. — Dinner time! Tonight it is lemon chicken tagine with beet salad and French fries. I chow down on my fifth meal of the day. My host mom urges us to eat until the plate is empty, saying “kuli!” My host sister’s boyfriend comes over for dinner and tests me on my Arabic and French, pointing to different dishes and asking me to translate. I fail the pop quiz, but every night I learn more. 

11:40 p.m. — I attempt to finish this episode of my favorite Moroccan singing competition show, but fall asleep on the couch. I haven’t really gotten a solid night’s rest since studying abroad.

12:15 a.m. – My host mom wakes me up and I move back to my bunkbed, once again setting my hated alarm for 7:30 a.m.

Francess Dunbar ’20 on the cliffs in Morocco. She is currently spending part of her semester abroad with the School for International Training IHP: Climate Change program.
Photo Contributed
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