On the 11th June we flew to Morocco, the next destination of the world trip. It's the first time for Edouard in Africa and he is quite excited about that. For me, it's an opportunity to learn more about my dad and aunt as they were born here.
It is also our first digital nomad stop. I started my volunteering experience at a private school and Edouard keeps working remotely with Sydney.
After a few days in Casablanca we give you our first impressions of the city.
A few months ago, on Workaway, I applied for a volunteer teacher assistant ad for a school in Casablanca.
Last Monday, we were warmly welcomed by Madeleine and Mounir, a lovely Moroccan-English married couple who run the school. Aliwaa is its name and it has quite some history. It was offered by the King to Mounir’s grandfather in 1952. Since then, it has helped all the children of the neighbourhood from preschool to high school. About 10 teachers are here and there is even one who was a previous student.
Madeleine also provides private language lessons. She actually speaks 5 languages fluently (English, French, Spanish, German and Arabic). I gave my first private French lessons to Korean students who immigrated with their parents in Casablanca and it went very well!
We are staying in an apartment above the school and with Ramadan, we enjoyed amazing meals for Ftour (the end of fasting for the day). It was also the opportunity to discuss and understand our hosts background and the Moroccan culture.
We are located in Habbous, the new Medina. It is a very lively place. The architecture is very nice: white walls, archs and a maze of alleys. Just next to the apartment, there is a huge market where we can find fruits, vegetables, spices, olives, bread, meat, nuts... it is so colourful! There is always an interesting smell from fresh mint to boiled sheep head. We can also find perfume shops that can reproduce any perfume you like for a very cheap price.
We live just next to the royal palace and a mosque and with the muezzin song, it makes the stay very authentic.
A few words about Casablanca
During the last 4 days, we walked a lot around the city. We visited Murdoch park, very chill. We wondered in Derb Ghalef souk. Well, the chaotic atmosphere is part of the place. It is more of a gathering of sellers with their stalls and shops within very narrow - to say the least - streets. You can find anything, from lawnmower, to phone chipsets to Goldengrams cereals.
We also got lost in the Medina (old city). Very authentic, we just walked around, took left or right on the feeling to meet dead ends or realised we already passed a shop twice.
It is difficult to make an opinion of Casablanca at the moment because it is Ramadan. Everything is closed: no restaurant open to eat during the day, some touristic places are closed as well, including the massive white Cathedral of the Sacré Coeur. We haven’t eaten at any restaurant yet and for example still haven’t tried a couscous! We were also surprised to see no tourist in the streets. We realised that Casablanca is actually a big city with a very few spots of interests.
At the same time, we found some very nice markets and enjoyed the atmosphere, like Habbous decribed above.
To summarise, we lived the first few days with a mixed feeling. Let’s see how the next days go.