Morocco – 20th of June

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I think the villagers were becoming more used to us being there, we had a bigger audience at the build site and even a couple of the local girls came out to see what we were doing. One of the the girls wanted to give us a hand with the building, she must have been about thirteen or fourteen, so she joined our sand chain.

We played outside the house again after lunch and the girls joined in as well, up until then it had only been boys that had wanted to play, but now the girls were playing with the parachute and the football and duck duck goose. I discovered that duck duck goose can actually be a very dangerous game if you play it in the mountains, as I dramatically slid into my spot while being chased by a 7 year old around the circle. My legs (which were already covered in bruises from the buckets) were now cover in scratches from my ankle to my knee.

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We met out side out house at four o’clock so that our guides could take us to visit the local salt mines and for a hike around the village. We walked down to the mines and they explained to us how the salt water is taken up from the wells in buckets and put into the reservoir, it is then let into large, shallow, concrete squares on the ground and left to dry out for three days in the sun. Then the salt is bagged and taken to the local markets for sale.

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From the mines we walked up behind the village to where the castle was and started our mini hike from there. We walked all along back of the village and up onto the foothills of the mountains above. Some of the older children joined us, they seemed to have no problem with the steep slopes or the heat as they ran ahead of us. The views were incredible. We could see the whole village from the highest point on our walk.

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We were so exhausted from our hike and the heat of the day. After tea we went to the local shop and bought a bottle of ice cold Pepsi each which was a perfect way to end our day…

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TO BE CONTINUED

Morocco – 18th of June

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The first thing I did in the morning was look across to the the mountains opposite us. The clouds were tucked in-between them, just under their peaks, hugging the sides like fluffy white glaciers. It was a beautiful start to my day.

We had a free afternoon after our morning’s work on the building site so Imogen, Lorna and I went explore the village a little bit. We walked up to the castle that Abdul had taken us to on the first day and the hills next to it. We then decided to go somewhere new and followed a path that went past the castle and back into the village but we had never been to this part before. While we were trying to decide which way to go next some of the villagers start talking to us. Of course we had no idea what they were saying so Lorna tried speaking french to them, which worked until they exhausted her knowledge of french and both sides settled with pointing at things.

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We met for tea at the usual time but instead of going to the main house for it, we were invited to one of the local builder’s house where they would show us how to make traditional Moroccan Mint Tea. We sat around a long room on the floor which was covered with brightly coloured mats and cushions to put behind our backs. Abdul was sitting down at the far end with a tray full of various tea related items and began explaining how they made their tea

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After the tea had been boiled for five to ten minutes we were each given a glass and some traditionally baked bread. I had really started to like the mint tea but I still had to wait for it to get to at least room temperature before attempting to drink it.

When we came back from dinner there was a good fire burning outside the local cafe type thing that was under our house. The children were sticking branches in the fire and chasing each other while spinning these branches around. They found this game hilarious fun but all I could think of was that it would end in someone getting burnt. As far as I know no children were hurt by flaming branches of doom that night…

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TO BE CONTINUED

Morocco – 14th of June

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Our plane arrived in Morocco around one in the morning, we were all exhausted. We got to passport control and had to fill out these little forms about who we were, where we had come from, where we were going…you know, the usual. One problem though, we didn’t know our address in Morocco! The guys behind the desk were not happy, we were getting stressed, we tried to explain to them that we were here for charity so we weren’t really sure where we were going and no one had told us the name of the hotel we were staying at. This went on for about ten minutes, we genuinely thought we were never getting in the country, but then somebody remembered they had their pre-departure pack. The name of the Village was in it so we were saved!

We were met at the airport by one of our guides, Abderrahmane or Abdul for short which is much easier. We got in the mini bus and headed to the hotel, where we went straight to bed because by this time it was half two in the morning and nobody was a functioning human being.

The most important thing about hotels in hot countries? Air-conditioning. What did we not have in our room? Air-conditioning. It was so hot i didn’t even bother lifting the covers I just passed out on top of them. The room was a very uncomfortable stuffy sort of heat when we woke up in the morning. We were also really disorientated as we tried to figure out whether or not there was a time difference here.

When we got to breakfast and saw that we were the only ones there we decided that there was definitely not a time difference. Unfortunately for me the only thing at the breakfast I could eat was yogurt, but they were very yummy yogurts so that made up for it a little. Imogen and I decided to try out the famous Moroccan peppermint tea, and it wasn’t to bad. It had a faint taste of blue soft mints and I thought that it would be very nice as an iced tea.

After almost leaving Charlotte (one of our new Welsh team members) in her room due to a miscount, we set off from Marrakech to our village which we all now knew was called Marigha. We would not be forgetting that anytime soon.

On our way to the Marigha we stopped in a larger village to visit the Saturday market and we were given a tour. The market was huge and so busy. They sold everything there from baby bunnies and chicks to shampoo and conditioner, they even had small restaurants where people could take meat that they had bought and get it cooked, or just buy ready cooked food. There were stands full of nuts and seeds and some of the biggest watermelons I have ever seen.

We arrived at Marigha around about lunch time and they told us it was going to be a half hour to forty-five minute walk up to the main part of the village. This was an extreme exaggeration as it only took us around five to ten minutes to get to the main house. Here we unloaded the truck that had carried our bags from the mini bus to the village and went inside for lunch. Lunch was brilliant, we were presented with a huge plate of vegetables and rice, and on the side we were given a plate of meatballs which were delicious. After this we were given fruit and some peppermint tea, which was much nicer than the one we had tried at the hotel.

We were taken to a house where we would be staying for the first night because our house was not ready for us yet. The house was beautiful. It was not what I was expecting at all from what they had told us at home I had been expecting a dark little hut with no running water or electricity and a hole in the ground, with a bucket to wash with. This house was wonderfully decorated with tiles and fancy lights and even had a proper bathroom with a shower!

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After we had had a look around we all took a much needed nap before Abdul took us for a walk around the village. He took us up to the top of the village to a four hundred year old castle which was made from nothing more than clay, stone and wooden beams. We also got to see the site where the school was and he explained how important the project was for the village and how it would help the children.

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We went back to the main house to have dinner and some camomile tea or “sleepy tea” and Abdul and Rabia told us what we would be doing on the site. I went back to the house feeling excited but definitely ready for a good nights sleep especially with breakfast being at half past eight in the morning the next day…

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TO BE CONTINUED