Two weeks to want to stay forever

The belief that one’s home is the World and that volunteering means cooperating with one’s brothers and sisters is strengthening and volunteering is now emerging as an introspective and outrospective key.

At sunrise, they know it.

It’s the day to take off towards an immersion which is still unknown to them but which contours are slowly getting attractive. Several young people meet at the airport. It is only the second time they have met and yet each of them carries the same excitement deep in their stomach. The journey can begin. For some it is even the first time they have boarded a plane. Indeed, this type of short-term European Solidarity Corps volunteering offers a magical opportunity to those who have never had the opportunity to travel. Thanks to funding from the European Union we are fully covered, and even get pocket money. Anyway, from all backgrounds and all social classes can join it.

For two weeks, ten young people enter an experience of living together, of discovering Moroccan culture and dedication to respecting our Earth. Now is the time to open eyes wide and let yourself be carried away through the clouds which take straight towards city of Taroudant. Between apprehension, stars in their eyes and the desire to discover, the group frees itself from borders to learn to know the other.

The tremors of the landing take volunteers out of their dreams. The warm-coloured landscape is very real and it is now time for everyone to let trust themselves and to trust the thousand and one nuances that come before their eyes.

Their path might never have crossed in France, but now something unique unites them. Even though the group is heterogeneous, it is in the eyes of each of their comrades that the same light shines and which will continue to intensify during these two weeks. Through this period, they learn to know themselves, to understand their place in a group, to take the time to look at others in order to realize that it is thanks to the various differences, that they are ultimately a homogeneous whole. 

This is the time for our ten volunteers to cut themselves off from the frantic pace that France can make them feel and to relearn how to live simply without a filter of judgment. This comforting and soothing atmosphere is not only experienced between French people and it is precisely at this essential point that a special and intense encounter is created with Moroccans. Throughout their immersion in Taroudant city in south of Morocco, cultural and traditional sharing takes place.

Whether it’s upon their arrival, during the first two weeks, or even when they realize that the idea of returning no longer appeals to them. Their lives no longer resemble anything they may have already known because now a piece of their heart has settled beyond the borders. Amuddu Association is made up of volunteers who are invested, open to others, endearing, inspiring and above all endowed with a sense of humour that makes your zygomatic muscles cramp. The Youth of Amuddu CSF carries out such intense work of heart that lasting friendships are only created over the course of the days. Indeed, the meeting becomes memorable when two humans no longer look at each other for their skin colour, their languages, their differences but rather for the intensity of their looks, to laugh together, to dance around tea and tell each other stories.

Between Moroccans and French but also between French, this immersion bring us closer to each other and detach from what the mind and the ego may want to cultivate. 

Today, some continue to travel together, others meet again because the distance is no longer tenable, but above all each of these individuals keep the flavor of having known real friendship and true sharing.

Human bonds intensify when we come together and share a common cause. When everyone is driven by a conviction that is found to be the same in their fellow human beings, the courage and the feeling of community that is felt can lead each person to invest fully in concrete actions and in harmony with what they are. This feeling is what Amuddu allows you to find inside each person during the volunteering projects.

The dynamic of these two weeks is built around various ecological actions organized over mornings or sometimes full days. They differentiate themselves at each site according to the demand and the means of the context. Indeed, this can be waste collection with the aim of cleaning the city and raising awareness among its public, sites in plant nurseries in order to collaborate with environmental stakeholders but also site development projects of the city or its infrastructure.

In a city like Taroudant where ecological awareness is just beginning to plant its seed, the projects as they are, carry great importance in order to make it grow and spread it in the minds of locals. Every helping hand, every plant planted, every waste picked up, every thank you from a passer-by in the street serves as much to warm every heart of every member of the group as to help the one who welcomes us and who allows us every day to be able to live, that is to say our Planet. For the group, these are moments when the theory of a classroom no longer has any place but where the practice of an action supposed to lead them to be proud of themselves.

It is a joint effort that unites Moroccans and French people around volunteering projects. It is together that they decide to use part of their time to improve the common time of all. Amuddu is one of these associations which every day focuses on pushing the green idea into everyone’s consciousness around various workshops such as up-cycling, various training courses made by long-term civic volunteers, film debates where the story and the image can generate new questions…and many other innovative ideas.

Now that the group has a thousand and one smells, images and tastes in their hearts and bodies, it is time to save them before heading back into the air.

The intercultural experience around which these projects are built leaves in each of the young volunteers a mental appeasement. This translates the story of two weeks where we live and we understand that volunteering is a real exchange, that of a continuous sharing and not a gift. The laughter that resonates in your head, the exchange of glances that go without words, the meeting of an inspiring and determined youth, the feeling of having participated in a community life… All these things are the legacy of two weeks of unity and life.

These 14 days were an opportunity to set foot in the world of volunteering for ten young people who had perhaps never seen the colour of it and inevitably tolerance and respect can only flow from it. The belief that one’s home is the World and that volunteering means cooperating with one’s brothers and sisters is strengthening and volunteering is now emerging as an introspective and outrospective key.

The machine is now launched, the borders have been surpassed and young people have the power to watch with their own eyes. Indeed, in a world where we have been taught cultural differences as barriers, it is more than important to overcome one’s unconscious and cultural prejudices in order to recognize otherness, to demonstrate openness, welcome, understanding, acceptance and inclusion. All these values that travel and encounters bring, can sometimes change the course of the lives of some, by giving them the desire to recommit and even for some to make a long-term commitment.

This is the case for three young French women who came for two weeks to Amuddu CSF in the year 2023 and who are now installed in Taroudant for a few months in order to carry out Civic Service within the association. What this two-weeks experience could have brought them, what are the things that made them want to come back and why did they want to get involved for long-term? Valentine Solletty, Lou Collombet and Djenna Rouabah have testified in order to answer these questions and share the magic of volunteering. 

Volunteers’ experiences.

Sidonie, who came in summer 2023 for two weeks, came back later this year for holidays. She testified about this experience:

Morocco brings me what France never did. Here, I feel peaceful and I have the impression of being in my place. I have decided to come back because I got attached to fantastic people, engaged in the most beautiful missions of solidarity with heart in hand. These trips to Morocco made me grow and mark the importance of commitment and solidarity.

Djenna Rouabah explain her experiences:

I believe that volunteering is a real opportunity for young people who wish to understand the organization and ways of life that exist on Earth. Carrying out your volunteering project is also a good time to get to know yourself and get rid of the role of your ego for a few months to live a more meaningful life. Being able to achieve it, gives me the opportunity to evolve and learn to put into action all the ideas and projects that are being built in my head.

Here, I stopped theorizing everything and finally started experiencing life on the ground. Indeed, suffering or acting is a question of choice and I made the choice to stop listening and draw up pre-made observations because the future will be my present and I want to play a concrete role in it.

Having been able to live a short experience within Amuddu CSF allowed me to get a closer look at the daily life and the work of the organisation and I was able, more concretely, to become aware of the parameters of my project and what it implied. Indeed, even if before coming to Morocco I already had a plan, for more than a year, to do long-term volunteering and I had prepared myself psychologically for it, all these revelations gave me the courage to leave and even amplified my desire to leave. By experiencing this mission, I felt a mental peace that I had been looking for a long time. I couldn’t have imagined a better appetizer; this volunteering experience affirmed my urgent need to act. Indeed, I was able to realize that it was by responding to this need, that I felt the most alive and that it was among new cultures that I wanted to evolve. It is a very good feeling to be able to serve and to be able to use one’s creative power as a human. And now, for almost three months, I have had the chance to live in Taroudant and work with the Amuddu CSF volunteers. A group that has always impressed me with its motivations and desire to evolve. Now with them we are learning to give ourselves the courage to act and I feel nothing but gratitude for this life.

Lou Collombet is sharing similar perspective:

I began my civic commitment within the Amuddu association in December. I had the chance to carry out a short-term ESC during the month of November. Everything went very quick for my part since I understood the moment I set foot in Taroudant that I wanted to stay there. These two weeks were very enriching and at the end of this period it was necessary for me to continue to discover this culture. The 14 days were like a splendid appetizer, where I began to learn to think differently and no longer focus on all the things we don’t have but rather on those we already own.

I admit that I didn’t want to move away from the volunteers of Amuddu with whom I had created very beautiful bonds and who are now like a family. Coming back to commit long-term is the most special opportunity of my life because, here, now, I can allow myself to create something and learn how to implement it. Here I can continue to share with my friends without moving away. Here, I can finally learn to live again.

Valentine Solletty is also very enthusiastic:

I have been a volunteer in the Amuddu association since October 2023. This association had already welcomed me during a short-term project of volunteering within the European Solidarity Corps, for fifteen days earlier this year. Today I am back for a period of eight months. This is not trivial, because here, whether it is for two weeks or for several months, a special feeling passes through you. The feeling of being at home, that of calm and flourishing.

My short-term volunteering mission took place while being filled with happiness, tolerance, generosity and discoveries. I decided that these things couldn’t stop there. That the exchanges, intercultural relations and the social actions that took place in this association were so beneficial for absolutely everyone, that I decided to come back. And it is, as always, with honour that we owe to its welcome, that Morocco always re-opens its arms.

With the aim of contributing to the life of the association, which can be a springboard for some, a place of calm and good time for others, or even a place of engagement, discovery and learning. In summary, I am here to take advantage of what life offers us: meetings, learning, the impact of mutual aid and the strength of solidarity with which we can build many things together, hand in hand.

Go ahead!

If you have questions or are hesitant about going on an adventure, volunteering or not, abroad or not, believe us: go ahead! Get started because without it, you won’t be able to discover yourself, and surely it will be the best experience of your life! The one where you will learn the most about you and others, the one where your eyes can be most amazed, the one where your heart will thank you more for having made this decision.

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