Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Adventure continues:


I was able to share about my North Africa adventure to some of you, but to all of those who didn't get to hear it from me, this is for you:
And, to all those who were in my parent's home group and did get to hear it from me, you should probably read this as well. I wasn't in the right frame of mind to be explaining anything at that point, meaning I was beyond silly tired.

So, yeah. I want to Africa. The end.

KIiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiddddding.... calm down....

Right, so, we left Oxford one in the morning on May 5th. Of course I slept on the coach ride to Luton airport and on the four hour plane ride into Marrakesh. Once at the Marrakesh airport, we were split into our five different 'track teams' and were told to figure out how to get from the airport to where we were staying which was about three to four hours away. We were to do this with no maps, no prior knowledge, no nothing. So, my group managed with the little French that we know (I'm including myself, but actually I know ZERO French. Well, does 'wee wee' count? What about 'croissant'? That's the extent of my French.). Sorry, rabbit trail. ANyway, somehow with the little French that my group knew, we managed to get a taxi from Marrakesh airport to the city center. From there we did a little looking around, eating, and walking around the city.

This is a mosque in Marrakesh.

From Marrakesh it was a two to three hour bus ride to the town where we would be staying called Amizmiz. We finally made it to the center (or centre) and were welcomed with showers and tagine. Chicken, potato, and olive tagine with freshly baked bread. Divine. We ate bread every meal of the day! The best part?? We eat with our hands. Thats right. Total communal eating. This should be adopted everywhere.

One of the first days we were there we did some language learning. The language they speak there is some form of Arabic called Tashlahyte. (Spelled something like that). We learned the basics like "How much do potatoes (batas) cost?"
"Whats your name?", "I need change", "Please", and "Where's the bridge?". All the vital questions you'd need to know. We were sent out into the city in groups of threes with a series of questions to ask random vendors and people. One particular vendor got upset because there were too many people asking him how much his potatoes were and not buying any...... ooops.
Some of us found this a challenge. Actually, I think everyone found it a challenge at some level, but some got one really well with the people they met. Mainly because they cheated and used their French! This is Kass getting some directions from some highschool girls who just got out of school.

The whole two weeks was filled with learning about the culture in many various ways and coincidentally, a lot of it revolved around food. :) I didn't mind. Some of you might thought eating out of a communal dish was revolting, but don't worry, we wash our hands! Look! Completely hygienic. :)
The center in Amizmiz is right in front of 'The Sleeping Lady", which is part of the Atlas mountains. The views are so picturesque and breath-taking. The day after language learning, we were getting ready for our Erdouz Expedition. Some of us learned navigation skills, others learned leadership skills, I, along with a few others, learned how to put up a tent and build toilets, and the last group was in charge of the food and cooking for the weekend. We were going to go to Mt. Erdouz, camp at the base, 12 of us were going to climb to the summit which was about 3600 ft above sea level I think, then we were going to return. Hopefully. :) Some of the group left around 11 in the afternoon to walk to base camp which took them until 6 or 7 at night. Others drove up on Land Rovers to get there before the walking team so we could set up camp before night fall and have dinner on its way. It WAS supposed to happen that way, but it didnt happen that way. I was part of the Land Rover team and we had to get out about three or four times on the way up the mountain to re-build a road, or build a bridge with rocks, all so the land rover carrying all the gear could get across. It took us as long as it took the walking team to get up to base camp. Outrageous.

We were finally there though and we put up tents at once.We didnt' manage to get them up before dark so that was an adventure all in itself.
The next morning everyone was up and ready by four or five, I can't remember, but it was some silly o'clock time. The twelve people in the summit team and other people who were going to various other altitudes for various other reasons were off by six in the morning. Nobody could stay at base camp all day so every one rotated out at least once. There was a communications team at Point B located roughly 2600 ft. above sea level and then there was a Point C that was where some people went to cook sandwiches for the summit team when they came down from the summit. Point C was higher than Point B, somewhere around 3000 or 3200 ft above sea level I think.
Here is our summit team! This wasn't the summit but it could have been it was so high!!
We lost them after this point.
THe days were hot and the nights were cold. It was a physically intense time of the trip, but being so close to the majestic mountains, seeing the tremendous stars (Ellen, you would have loved it), and smelling the crisp clean air which occasionally smelled like sheep and goats as they herded past was so amazing and in all of it I felt so incredibly close to God.

Since I didn't walk to Mt. Erdouz or climb to the summit of it, it was only fair that I be part of the team that walked back to Amizmiz after this long, tiring weekend. So, we left again at an ungodly hour and the rest of the team stayed to pack up the tents and leave when ready. Again, I thought I was going to hate it, because its a ridiculously long walk, but above that it was going to be scorching, but I surprised myself and really enjoyed it! And again, tremendous time praying and walking and being wrapped in God's creative and gorgeous creation.
Here are a few pictures from the walk:

It was an amazing time. Once we arrived back at the center. We were again welcomed with food and showers or some showers and then food. I could wait for showers. :)
The next few days were pretty low key including a trip to the market. I bought shoes. Of course. And a trip to the olive grove for some reflection time. The days following that were community project days. We split into groups and helped with different things around the town. Some of us went to the highschool and did a garden project there, painting a murel on the wall and planting flowers and trees around the garden. Others of us went down and helped dig a trench and build a wall, and others of us basically just kept the kids distracted with bubbles and balls and ballons so they wouldn't try to help with the pickaxes and shovels. I was part of the trench-digging team and rock re-locating team. I really enjoyed it and felt very tough and manly afterward. :)

The kids are absolutely darling. Their smiles are so infectious. The simple things in life make them smile, like tickling Bex:


  1. You had to build toilets? The food looks yummy. So, do you feel like you are able to do the amazing race now? What are some of the things God spoke to you during your times of reflection?

  2. Yes..when on the mountain we had to use bif kits. We had to dig holes, bury our poo, than burn the toilet paper. A lot of people just held their poo all weekend, but I wanted to poo on the mountain at least once to be able to say that i've done it before! :)
    I could totally do amazing race!
    Lets do it!
    while we were out on the prayer expedition we were told to pray for everyone we met and pray in every village and such, so when it was reflection time, i mainly thought about morocco and the villages we'd been too and the people we'd met. I prayed a little more for them, and read some verses in Philippians and Psalms. It was good to be reminded that The lord will be exalted in the earth and among allthe nations even if we aren't living in that reality today.