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Adventures in Morocco

As part of our commitment to giving students life-changing, global experiences, we teamed up with international humanitarian and alumna Linda Cruse to take 24 Year 9 students to Morocco during October half term.

During an action-packed week, the girls spent time in the desert with the Bedouin tribe, and also experienced life in a conservative Berber community in the Atlas Mountains. The aim was to provide real cultural immersion to help them understand the beliefs, philosophies and ways of life of these indigenous people.

The two-day desert experience included star-gazing, camel-riding and an overnight stay in a Bedouin tent. The girls also learned about the geology of the area while travelling through spectacular desert landscapes with Ms Neil, Head of Geography.  

In the Atlas Mountains, our team visited a girls’ boarding school, had an Arabic lesson from a local school teacher, played with children of all ages, trekked through the mountains and bathed in the local Hamman. They also saw flat breads being made in a traditional stone oven, enjoyed dancing to traditional Berber music and proved themselves to be tough negotiators while shopping in the local market. And throughout the entire trip, they girls enjoyed delicious, seasonal Moroccan food, served in tagines.  

A real highlight during their time in the village was helping to harvest the saffron crop. Linda Cruse and her team found this precious flower growing wild over 10 years ago and helped the villagers to produce and market it. Because of its high price (it’s worth more per ounce than gold) this discovery has had a very positive impact on the community.

The saffron crocuses have a short, 20-day flowering period so it was all hands- on-deck to pick them each morning. Next, the girls separated the stamens, left them to dry and then decanted them into small glass jars, ready to distribute and sell. We estimated that the girls harvested over £5,000 of saffron during their stay.  

The group also benefited from working alongside Linda Cruse. She has spent the last 20 years in remote communities around the world and her latest book, Leadership on the Frontline, has been endorsed by Richard Branson. As she kept reminding the girls, “When we have a first-world education, we have so many skills we don’t even realise we’ve got.”

Linda also encouraged them to think about things like how much gratitude they show in their daily lives, what it is that brings them real joy and what ‘being privileged’ really means?

As Ms Neil who has been leading educational, overseas trips for 25 years said, “What has made this trip so unique is Linda’s personal involvement and connection to the country.

“This has given our girls unique insights and meaningful access to the local people – something your average tourist trip cannot claim to achieve.

“Once again Redmaids’ High School is leading the way with ground-breaking overseas programmes.”

You can see more images on our school Facebook page.

 

Date Posted: 06 November 2018
Extra-Curricular Senior The World Beyond

Articles for: Extra-Curricular, Senior, The World Beyond

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