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Salam! This is Gabriel writing to you from Bougamez – half way into our journey here in Morocco. Although the days feel full and fulfilling, the weeks are flying by.

The first week in Moulay Idriss was relaxing and informative. We spent time doing orientation and getting to know each other, along with playing with cats, visiting Roman ruins, and watching beautiful sunsets from the roof. The next week we spent in Fez was energetic and an overload on the senses; a great wondrous mass of shouting and colorful spices and hanging scarfs, and the stench of leather and delectable pastries. Most of our time was spent in groups wandering and getting lost in the endless streets of the Medina.

The following week and a half we all separated into our homestay in the beautiful city of Azrou. My host family was wonderful and hospitable and I quietly felt at home and part of the family, playing basketball with my homestay sister Malak, watching Barcelona games at the local cafe with my host father Youssef, making friendship bracelets with my homestay sister and helping my host mom Aziza bake. I felt very lucky to have such a wonderful and educational experience living the day to day life of someone in Azrou; which I found to involve lots of bread and smiles.

This last week we trekked! Hiking is one of my favorite things to do, so I was not disappointed to spend all day caring our backpacks across rivers in a spectacularly scenic canyon. A big shoutout to our fabulous trek guide and helpers, it was such a privilege to arrive at our camp sites with meals cooked and often our tents already being set up! And at the end of our trek, we had a joyous night of food and song and dance and laughter. A great end to a great trek!

We moved onto Qlaat Mgouna for our midcourse time. During mid-course, we furthered our educational experience with many thought provoking guest speakers, including a snake charmer!

I really feel like I am living life at it’s best and I am so happy to be experiencing Morocco in such a meaningful way with exceptionally awesome (and lovable) instructors and such fun and thoughtful students. If I have learned one thing on this course so far, it is that THERE IS ALWAYS MORE FOOD!