I spoke at the new Fulbright orientation in Rabat a few weeks ago. Along with a few of my colleagues, we imparted advice we thought helpful and answered questions from the new group of student researchers. I’ve grown so much this year: I’ve learned how to act in academic settings. I can assert myself and make myself heard in male-dominated spaces. I can interact in culturally appropriate ways with Moroccans most of the time. This growth has been gradual over the year, though, and I wasn’t really able to reflect on it until I was reminded of where I was a year ago.
As one last big trip before the end of our time here in Morocco, we took a week trip to see more of the country after the orientation. This time we headed south… far south. A five hour train ride, a bus ride to Agadir, and two grand taxi rides brought us to Sidi Ifni on the coast. It was worth the journey, though. We stayed at a funky hotel with views of the ocean and a friendly owner. We ate very fresh seafood and strolled the laid-back town at night. I loved seeing the typical saharawi dress: women wear a colorful, patterned cloth wrapped in various ways as an all-in-one hijab and long dress.
The 10km from Sidi Ifni to Leghzira beach. The first 3km along the deserted beach was through red boulders and even saw a few dead sheep that had probably fallen from the cliff above. The tide was quickly coming in and we asked a local fisherman to show us a path up the cliff.
I can’t say the approaching tide didn’t make me nervous, but I’m glad we walked. The path at the top of the cliff followed the coastline below through desert scrubland scattered with small shells. I even caught a glimpse of a desert fox.
Leghzira beach is, well…