East meets West

March 28, 2016 Dimple Sandhu - No Comments

After enjoying a full hearted healthy collective breakfast with fellow friends, brothers and sisters, thereafter the day began.

Lenin our team doctor to hand lead a yoga session for those interested, full of sequences and stretches to energise us for the day.
Being a gym goer I must say it was a lot harder than expected. I always thought yoga would be easy and somewhat relaxing, I was wrong! Haha maybe it becomes so after some practice nonetheless it was a good start to the day and enjoyed, definitely something to keep up.

We then spent the morning doing a mock workshop in the garden, preparing for the upcoming weeks ahead. This was for all 22 of us (so far) to participate in, and so we did.
It was particularly useful for those that are experiencing this for the 1st time, just like myself.
It consisted of ice breakers. Simple introductions of ourselves to begin with, along with a hobby or interest, we participated in teamwork challenges such as the number game, ‘tangled’ and a few others.
Enjoyed with lots of laughter, cheer and joy.
We all had smiles on our faces, glowing from the sunshine.

Further practice began; Bhangra, classical musical instruments, singing all for the upcoming concerts. It was all fun filled and full on.

Around lunch time me, Shalini, Ananya, Siddhartha and Omar went into town, Rabat.
Our taxi dropped us off to a meeting with Jawad from the East Meets West Foundation.
He greeted us all and gave us a wondrous tour of the venue where they offer a structure for education, vocational training, entertainment and sharing of experiences for the most under privileged in partnership with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and more. As we entered there were a small group of people relaxing, cooking, reading outside, as we entered there was a vast library, internet access and a variety of art. Ranging from paintings both abstract and real, some even intense based on the past and harsh reality of Africa at a time, posters of previous events held; concerts, dances, workshops etc.
Upstairs we were seated in Jawad’s office where we discussed M2R and how we can work and help together in creating further workshops and concerts, 3 dates were set and agreed to.
The tour continued…. Down a spiral staircase we entered the ‘theatre room’ greeted by a small group of musicians/ band. Our ears were honoured with drums, guitar, singing and even some spontaneous dancing, we too couldn’t help but stomp, clap or dance along to the beat. African influenced with French words, it was amazing and fun. Definitely not the kind of music you hear everyday, but sure wouldn’t mind to. Thereafter we went outside and headed past the cafeteria to a work station filled with talented women making, stitching and sewing beautiful intricate hand made clothing. Eyeing the designs and browsing the rails filled with Moroccan, eastern styled clothing, long and short kaftan tops, matching trousers, jackets and blouses. A catalogue was gifted for us to enjoy, I’m already keen for my visit there again, a purchase is a must/ highly recommended. Especially as the profits are towards a cause/ foundation.
Walking towards the playground we couldn’t help but stop and notice further abstract pieces of amazing recycled art, for example there were brightly painted tyres, blue, red, purple, green, yellow which had been made into comfy bouncy chairs/ seating. Very creative and inventive!
Jawad lead us into a classroom where these sweet, innocent children came running over out of interest to greet us. Keen to come along with us and run into the fun playground they immediately were showing us there shoes asking for assistance to put them on. We couldn’t help but be filled with love.

Alas tour done. Now for money, food and supermarket shopping!
Jawad continued with us to show us the ropes of the town and assist, bless him.
As we sat by the table, the starters came out much to mine and the girls surprise. Liver and heart. I instantly surrendered my plate for Omar to enjoy, Shalini being brave and intrigued gave it a taste, then followed suit. Omar enjoyed for all the girls! I simply did not have the stomach for such, being vegetarian mostly, even to order chicken breast was me being bold to which we laughed and joked about. I think my facial expressions said it all.

That evening back with the collective at the villa we further practiced qawwalis, songs, a variety from all backgrounds and languages as we wanted to express as much culture as possible for all to enjoy and relate.

The night ended on a high, finished with a night cap, cheeky game of cards and dice. I think it’s safe to say we all slept like babies, well. In preparation for our early start and day ahead.

-Dimple Sandhu