Written by Jayme Beaseley
Jayme is a second year PhD student in the department of Political Science at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia. She is affiliated with Dar Si Hmad through Women Global Empowerment Initiative and this is her second year working with both organizations as a graduate student.
When I was asked to return to Morocco on behalf of Women’s Global Empowerment Initiative (WGEI) this summer I was elated. I had the pleasure of serving as a student mentor for the women who attended WGEI and Dar Si Hmad’s program last year. The experience was life changing in that I was able to learn about the Moroccan culture, society and politics. My role last year also enabled me to make lasting connections with WGEI members and Dar Si Hmad staff and participants.
My role this year was a little different. I came back to beautiful Morocco to explore the socio-political dynamics surrounding water distribution. As a second year doctoral student in the Department of Political Science at Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta Georgia, my experience last year has narrowed my research interest toward issues in political ecology. This summer during my time at Dar Si Hmad, I’ve spent the last 5 weeks searching and reading articles to gain a better understanding of the ways in which the Moroccan government, Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs) and private entities work in tandem to manage and distribute water to Moroccan citizens. My hopes are to continue this research for my dissertation.
It wasn’t all work while I was here this time, Kenia and I visited one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world- Marrakech. This trip was nothing short of exciting. We were able to experience a night in a traditional riad in the heart of the Médina. We visited Jardin Majorelle. Restored by French designer Yves-Saint-Laurent, the garden was filled with vibrant hues and exotic plants from around the world. We next visited the Bahia Palace which was built in the 19th century and considered one of Morocco’s most visited attractions. The palace had intricate colors and patterns spread offer 2 acres of land. It was filled with mini gardens and secret rooms. Lastly, we walked around the Koutoubia Mosque located in the southwest of the Médina. It is the largest mosque in Marrakech. It is decorated with large intricately curved windows that allow for ample sunlight to shine inside. We also bought street food and got lost in the labyrinth of souks that were filled with raw leather bags, precious metals and stunning hand made shoes. Our time in Marrakech was short but very worth it.
My time here in Morocco this summer has made me realize that there is so much more to learn in the world that has to be experienced outside of a formal setting. We learn the real lessons interacting with different people from different cultures and beliefs. This experience makes us grow and become better people. Although I came here for academic reasons, I feel like I will leave with a better understanding of why it is important to continue to work on being a world citizen. My summer here in Morocco and working with Dar Si Hmad has made me more confident in my research abilities and sharpened my analytical skills. I am so thankful for this opportunity. Thank you to Dar Si Hmad and WGEI!