Salaam, future friends,
Mid-august in Rabat is a time of warm days and cool nights, and the city is slowly returning to normality after Eid (see Badr’s post for more context on that!). I am generally based in Rabat, but spent the past week in the valley of Ait Bougamez. Bougamez is in the high Atlas Mountains, and filled with good people, amazing views, and is one of our homestay sites. I had the great pleasure of spending the holidays there with friends that you all will meet soon, and feel grateful for the hospitality that I was shown by friends old and new, and for the break from big city life, as the valley is populated by pretty tiny villages, and things move slowly once you cross over the mountain pass.
All of this is mainly to give context for my excitement for this upcoming course. Morocco has been my home for two years now, and I’m very excited to work this program again. I come to this work with a mainly academic background, having done graduate work focused on Islam in the contemporary Arabic speaking world, colonial histories, and social theory. I’ve also spent many years working as an educator in various capacities, and have recently cultivated a renewed interest in spending time in the outdoors. I spend much of my free time reading (fiction and non-fiction), doing yoga, listening to jazz (and other genres of music), cooking (and eating), and debating with friends about the (sad) state of the world. I’m interested in deep thinking, parentheticals (see previous sentence), learning through experience, encounter, and debate, and finding joy and pleasure in simple things. I’m hoping that we’ll be able to spend the next few months thinking together about ourselves and the things that have shaped our own lives in the United States (and other places), while learning and reflecting on the differences and similarities that we encounter in our time traveling through Morocco.
Kristen, Badr, and I are currently putting together our itinerary, and I’m very excited to return to Bougamez, and the many other places that we will visit. Some are small villages where we have many friends, and others are large cities where we’re more anonymous, but all are meant to help us understand the great diversity and difference that exist within Morocco. Whether you’re interested specifically in Morocco, or more broadly in the region, or even if you don’t quite know what brings you to this place, these months are meant to give you much to think about, and learn, and grow with.
IN the coming weeks this place will be a site of convening, information sharing, and further introductions. I’m looking forward to reading student introductions and learning about all of you. More specifics on this soon to come. Please share group-relevant questions that you’d like answered, and also feel free to share site-specific/topical resources – are you reading Morocco-related things to prepare? keeping up on local goings-on? Share here!
Enjoy the rest of August. I’m excited to meet all of you soon (wow, less than a month!).