Page 1

NSLI-Y Student Newsletter

Summer | 2012



iEARN | NSLI-Y Rabat, Morocco

Pg. 1

Women’s Rights in Morocco by Manisha Palla

Pg. 3

Ramadan (Arabic) by Joanna Kramer

Pg. 7

Meeting the President by Jesse Tarnas

Arabic Language Program

Pg. 11 My Trip to Morocco (Arabic) by Rachel Anderson

Pg. 14 Transcending Barriers by Kara Harrington

+ Although Morocco

Women’s Rights in Morocco

Misha Palla

“Surely, men who submit themselves to God

guard their chastity and men who remember

and women who submit themselves to Him,

Allah much and women who remember Him -

and believing men and believing women, and

Allah has prepared for all of them

rights in the

obedient men and obedient women, and

forgiveness and a great reward.” (Ch. 33, v.

Middle East,

truthful men and truthful women, and men



steadfast in their faith and women

continues to be a

steadfast, and men who are humble and

heated topic.

women are humble, and men who give alms

has one of the most progressive laws on women’s

and women who give alms, and men who fast and women who fast, and men who

The passage above resides in the Holy Qur'an, the book which Muslims believe to be the word of God in its entirety as revealed to the Holy Prophet Muhammad. In

more on


NSLI-Y Morocco

Summer | 2012 and women, established joint responsibility for the family, limited the terms of polygamy, and granted women more rights in the negotiation of marriage and divorce contracts. When I asked my host mother why Clause 475 had not been addressed in the 2004 revision, she explained the complexity of the status of women in Morocco. Residents in major cities such as Rabat and Casablanca have adopted western attitudes toward dress and behavior, while rural areas remain deeply conservative. Supporters of the reform,

this verse, Allah states that by

rests on Clause 475. The clause

including my host mother, believe the

following a moral way of life, both men

states that if a minor and her

2004 amendments to be progressive

and women can attain the same

abductor agree to marry, any

while still respectful of Islamic principles.

spiritual heights. The conditions of

prosecution can be dropped.

Meanwhile critics point to the influence

piety are the same: submission to God,

Although the law applies only to

of Western secular principles.

true belief in God, obedience to God,

nonviolent rape, a rape victim risks

truthfulness, steadfastness in the

punishment if her rapist can

faith, giving to charity, fasting, and

convince the court that the sex was

remaining chaste. Despite the fact that


the requirements of Islam remain the

In honor of Amina, a coalition comprised of 22 women’s organizations joined together under the name Spring of Dignity to submit a memorandum to the

The case of Amina has sparked

Minister of Justice with recommended

mass protest and brought back to

amendments to the Moudawana. Under

light the issue of marriage. When I

significant pressure from its citizens and

discussed the case with my host

the international community, the

Although Morocco has one of the most

family, I discovered the Moudawana

government of Morocco expressed its

progressive laws on women’s rights in

or the family code in Moroccan law.

commitment to implementing new

the Middle East, marriage continues to

The Moudawana details the

legislation to end violence against

be a heated topic. One example of this

regulation of marriage, divorce,

women in the coming months. This

is the case of Amina Filali, a 16 year

child custody, and polygamy in

action furthers an already optimistic

old girl who committed suicide in April

Morocco. My host mother expressed

outlook for Morocco's future. Only time

2012 after the court ordered her to

her support of the 2004 revision of

will tell. Women here remain hopeful and

marry the man who had allegedly raped

the code, which raised the minimum

so should the rest of the world.

her. Justification for the court order

legal age of marriage to 18 for men

same for both genders, double standards exist in most Islamic societies today, including Morocco.



NSLI-Y Morocco

Summer | 2012



Moroccan Traditions

Joanna Kramer

Translation: In the religion of Islam, it's

All of Morocco eats Iftar at 7:30 in the

I help my Moroccan sister in the

now Ramadan.

evening. With my Moroccan family, I eat


In my house in Morocco, my Moroccan family eats their breakfast at three in the morning, but I eat my breakfast at 7:30 in the morning, so I eat alone. At school, the teachers don't eat or drink during the daytime. When we (the American students) are near them, we also don't eat or drink.






shbekiya, and baghrir, and I drink orange juice and coffee. Everything is delicious! While we eat, we watch television shows. After dinner, my mother and father go to the mosque and


NSLI-Y Morocco

Summer | 2012

The Adventures of Johara & Jackie Chan Pearl Terry & Lauren Kang To say the least, Pearl and Lauren (or


Johara and Jackie Chan, respectively)

(Japanese), and other random names

Jackie's plane was grounded in Chicago

have had an epic, if not quite

referring to her evident Asian heritage

due to mysterious summer storms in New

unfortunate, past six weeks. A string of

like "Asian queen." Lauren is actually

York. After spending the night in Chicago,

mishaps, mistakes, and manholes (both

Korean, which made it all the more

Jackie Chan finally made it to Columbia

real and metaphysical) have left them

humorous, since no one ever guessed

University the next day. She thought that

exhausted - but with many tales to

"Korean" or shouted Korean words at

was one random episode of bad luck, but


her. One day, Pearl and Lauren were

as soon as she and Pearl became friends, it

wandering the medina in Rabat, when

seemed that misfortune followed them to

Perhaps we should first explain their

(Chinese for hello), "Konichiwa"

turned into a weather nightmare where

names: Johara and Jackie


Chan. Johara, or Pearl, as one

After what seemed like the

would find on her legal birth

longest day ever, due to two

certificate, was quickly named

flights, a layover, and multiple

Johara as soon as we arrived

time zone changes, Jackie

in Morocco since the "P" in

Chan and Johara arrived in

Pearl is not easy for

Morocco. They thanked their

Moroccans to pronounce. Mr.

lucky stars that they had

Chnioui told us that Johara

arrived in Morocco safely...

was the Arabic equivalent to

They had made all their flights,

Pearl, and of course, everyone

no delays, no real troubles.

was jealous of Pearl's beautiful name. Soon after, however, we discovered that Johara actually means Diamond, and is somewhat of a ridiculous name. Unfortunately, it was too late. Pearl had already been introduced to most of Moroccan society as Johara -- and no one could forget that fact. So, Johara it was. The name Jackie Chan came much later in the trip. Every time Lauren walked through the Medina in Rabat, Fez, Meknes, Chefchaouen, and Marrakech, she would get calls like "Ni


Lauren strayed a bit. She was just over at the next stand, when Pearl looked to find her, and wondered aloud, "Where is Lauren?" The merchant said, "Jackie Chan? She's over there!" and Pearl was immediately on the floor laughing. From that moment on, Lauren was Jackie Chan. And Pearl was already Johara. So, Johara and Jackie Chan it became. It all started with Jackie Chan's flight from Los Angeles to New York. What should have been a relatively straightforward journey across the U.S.

Right after disembarking the plane however, they heard an alarming, though amusing announcement - some idiot had left their passport on the plane. Fool. Oh wait, it was Johara... but in her defense it had FALLEN OUT of her bag; she hadn't just left it. Johara. She had to run all the way down the gangplank (not having changed/showered/slept/tended to basic hygiene/eaten in over 36 hours) and collect her passport from the laughing Moroccan crew. First impressions. Furthermore, Johara soon discovered that she brought enough clothes for about


NSLI-Y Morocco

All the events in this story have actually occurred.

Summer | 2012 time, or would even come. Even when

and excellence is essential. But

the bus came, however, getting off at

really, they have learned to deal

the correct stop was a challenge she

with unreliable transportation, live

braved daily. Often times, the bus

off of 4 dirham, and avoid falling

would not stop at the stop that Jackie

into manholes. Life skills.

got off at, and she would have to

Lastly, Johara and Jackie would

shout to the bus driver, or other kind

like to thank NSLI-Y, iEARN, and

a week's stay in Morocco. And she had no

Moroccans would usually bang on the

Qalam wa Lawh for this incredible

pants. It became Johara and Jackie's

bus doors to let her out.

experience, Nabeela,

mission to get Johara some pants. And they

Johara also faced large obstacles

their wonderful RD, for taking care

wandered through the Rabat Medina for

daily: namely, the consumption of

of them and introducing them to

several days, practicing their new Arabic

meat. Having been raised as a

fried potato sandwiches after they

words, and looking for pants. They

vegetarian, she had never tried meat.

fell into their metaphysical manhole,

eventually found pants for Johara,

Luckily for her, her family only ate

and all their friends for making this

but they were incredibly ripped off.

meat and Johara was much too nice

an unforgettable trip.

It seems that every time Johara and Jackie

to tell them that she was a

While they cannot say that this

Chan shopped together, something tragic

vegetarian. Of course, she got very ill

trip is over yet (they still must

occurred. A few weeks later, the two girls

once, and suffice it to say, she will

arrive home in the US in one piece -

decided to explore the souks in

never forget this experience.

Insha'Allah), they are optimistic

Chefchaouen alone. They found a man who

While Johara and Jackie Chan have

about their luck. They plan to travel

sold beautiful carpets, scarves, and bags

faced an unstoppable series of

to London together, and see what

and decided to buy goods. Johara had to go

unfortunate events, these events

adventures await them there. Stay

to the bank afterwards to replenish her

have taught them to be more

tuned for the next episode.

supplies, and the ATM ate her card. So

resilient, resourceful, and radiant

although Johara now had pants, scarves,

(literally, both are quite tan). In the

and a beautiful leather bag, she had no

face of all these trials, Johara and

access to her bank account.

Jackie have managed to

Back in Rabat, Jackie was just getting the

emerge victorious,

hang of Moroccan transportation. Despite

finding delicious fried

what her nickname would suggest, Jackie

potato sandwhiches on

actually had no skills in terms of martial

the streets of the

arts, or even maneuvering herself off the

medina, drinking juice and

bus, especially when the bus system was

even interning in a juice

unreliable at times. She would walk to the

shop, and of course,

bus stop every morning around 7:45,

learning Arabi, fluently.

unsure of whether the bus would leave on

Because fluency is key



My Name is Izza

Elizabeth White

Translation: My name is Izza. I am seventeen years old. I am from the state of New Hampshire. I have one brother and three sisters. I am studying Arabic in Morocco. Everyday, I go to school. I study Arabic for four hours. I eat lunch. I talk with my friends and explore the city of Rabat. Usually, I walk home. In Morocco, I eat bread and tajine and harira and kefta. I cooked harira with my mother from Morocco. I like Rabat.

NSLI-Y Morocco

Summer | 2012

Meeting the President Jesse Tarnas This last April, a Sister-State agreement was signed between the Rabat-Zaer-Sale-Zemmour region and the state of Hawaii. Because of this, I had the privilege of bringing a proclamation from Neil Abercrombie, the governor of Hawaii, my home state, to the president of my region of residence in Morocco, Mr. Taghouan. I was accompanied by Bradley Wo, a fellow student

need to respect and tolerate different types of people within the

from Hawaii, and a couple of embassy officials

region, to provide them, and the cultural centers that support them,

to visit the president’s office and deliver the

with funding was just as impressive as their ideas of how best to do

proclamation. He struck me as a man who

so. I’m glad that I had such a wonderful experience with the leaders

cared less about the power of his position and

of my Sister-State, and I’m sure that when they visit Hawaii in

more about working hard for the good of the

October, the president will feel just as welcome as I did.

Moroccan people, which thoroughly impressed me. After chatting in his office for a while, he

Children in Morocco

Deveney Brown

asked if Bradley and I would like to visit his

“Speak when spoken to” –Anonymous

house for iftar (the breaking of the fast) the

“Tabula rasa” (Blank Tablets) – Locke

next week. This display of kindness was truly

These are the common perceptions of children across the world in one

exemplary of the general atmosphere of

way or another. Either a child should be trained and respectful, or

Morocco, in which welcoming spirit is almost

liberated and able to find out about the world on their own. In


Morocco, I think there a common medium on how to raise a child. My host family in Morocco had 2 children; a boy who was 16, and a girl

The next week, a couple of embassy officials,

who was 9. They are clearly respectful of their elders and each other.

Bradley, and I joined the president and many of

They don’t sass or back talk. But they are also very liberal at home

his associates for iftar. Afterwards, we chatted

and can often jump in on adult conversations and state their opinions.

a little, politely thanked him, and moved

They still play outside and stay out of their parents’ way, but thy also

towards the door to return to our houses and

travel around the city with their mother and are able to see the world


around them. I think children in Morocco are starting to be treated like

Mr. Taghouan, however, would

not hear of it and insisted that we stay for

young adults, while still having the chance at a childhood. In years to

dinner. We all sat outside for a few hours and

come, this will continue to progress, just like in America. Because once

discussed both philosophy and local politics.

those liberated children grow up, they too will leave a tradition of how

The passion with which these men spoke of the

to raise a child.



NSLI-Y Morocco

Summer | 2012

An American Breakfast Ashley Burke

Translation: In occasion of Ramadan, I wanted to make breakfast for my host family.

And I am

good at making pancakes. So, I went to the store and bought milk, eggs, and bananas. I made the pancakes and they were not good. My Moroccan sister said to me “That is not milk that is yogurt.” I usually make good pancakes but when you don’t know Arabic, you buy yogurt instead of milk.



NSLI-Y Morocco

The Arabic Language Ryan Twaddle

Summer | 2012 For ‫ ﺹص‬start by saying "saw," but then

Dog and Dogs. Car and Cars. You only

draw your tongue back and lower your

add an "s." Few words actually change

jaw slightly, it is kind of like saying "s"

like "mouse" and "mice." Nonetheless,

and "ahhhhh." ‫ ﺽض‬is similar to ‫ﺹص‬, but

‫ ﺹصﺍاﺡحﺏب‬is the word for friend; whereas,

with "d;" ‫ ﻁط‬with "t;" and ‫ ﻅظ‬with "th,"

‫ ﺃأﺹصﺡحﺍاﺏب‬is the word for friends. It is

but "th" as in "thank you," not "this."

called a broken plural because letters

‫ ﻕق‬is like "k," but it is deep in the

are inserted in the middle of the word.

throat. ‫ ﺡح‬is like the sound "Ahhh" you

Overall, there are about ten different

make when getting into a hot tub. ‫ ﻉع‬is

plural patterns.

my favorite and the hardest; it’s similar to ‫ﺡح‬, but you have to make the sound vibrate as well as keeping it deep in the throat. The conjugations can happen at

For every Spanish or French student out there being forced to take a language by their parents, be happy it isn't Arabic. Last night, my oldest brother, the cop, invited me to get soda with him and his friends at the local cafe; despite the fact we were going out at 11 and I had to wake up at 7:30, I decided to go anyways. While we were out, his friends were asking me what I was doing in Morocco and then how learning Arabic is going. I told them Arabic was hard and complicated, but this just started a huge discussion, since they think Arabic is easy. Here was my argument: Some Arabic sounds are not common in every language around the world.


Moroccan Medinas Ava Arroyo How do I even begin to describe the Medinas in Morocco? They are their own category and a different

the beginning and/or end of the

experience from any other in Morocco.

verb and the vowels change.

The energy in the Medinas are

To say "you study" the word is

palpable. The hustle and bustle of

"tadrusu," but if the "you" happens to

families getting their weekly

be a female it becomes "tadruseen." In


addition, the word "I study" is

you over down the narrow paths in the

"adrusu," but when it becomes "I studied," not only does the conjugation change, but the vowels change to make "darastu." The gender agreement might not be obvious. In Spanish, if I want to make something

the shopkeepers calling

hopes of a sale, and the music and food invigorating your senses. It’s all an exciting experience. Myself and other NSLI-Y students simply go to the Medina just to wander and get lost in the thrill of it all. The Medinas are their own culture. Each Medina has its own sections with food, clothes,

feminine, I usually add an "a" to the

souvenirs, carpets, etc. The colors and

end. In Arabic, some feminine nouns

smells are something that always

and adjectives end in "a," but when

come to my mind when I think of the

asking, "How are you?" it is "Kayfa ha

souks. My favorite thing to do in the

luka" for a guy and "Kayfa ha luki" for a

Rabat Medina is relax at Café Iduya.

girl. All of a sudden the verbs want to

Sitting against the white washed walls

end in "a's" for guys.

with hints of blue I enjoy the Atlantic

To make a word plural, you might have to insert letters into the middle of the word.

Ocean view and so do many other tourists. On the following page is a picture of the Marrakech souk at night.


NSLI-Y Morocco

Summer | 2012 truly learn, by delving into society. Learning not because we are told, but because we are human. Stepping out of our comfort zone not because we are forced, but because that is how we make it bigger. Achieving not to break world records, but to continue building ourselves.

Learning should never be limited to an educational setting. Immersion is the best way to learn languages, culture, and about ourselves. Personal discovery

Unlimited Advantages of Immersion Learning

born due to our knowledge of

Monica Komer

many pages, a library so many

limitations. A book can only hold so

In Mandalay, Myanmar 1460 pages make

items, a school so many people.

up the world's largest book. In

Eventually an asymptote will emerge

Washington D.C., over 151 million items

and the feat will be conquered. But,

combine to create the world's largest

when? We don't know. So, the

library. Open the Guinness Book of

fascination continues.

and exploration is not found in multiplechoice questions and cannot be represented by a letter grade. When we open our eyes to the world the only limit is the horizon. When we open our minds as well, we will understand that even the horizon has no limit.

World Records and you will find the world's largest school, highest IQ, and

Imagine if humanity was no

much more. Though these numbers may

longer intrigued by reaching

seem extraordinary-- they are not.

the limit, but rather,

Impressive, maybe, but they will never be

reaching the unlimited.


Always having more to

Humanity is fascinated by the extreme

conquer. There would be no

and the record breaking. We are not

world records. People would

fascinated because we want to read

not be creating the

1460 pages of an ancient book. We are

greatest. They would be

not planning to delve into the Library of

finding it. The world is the

Congress for our literary fix. We certainly

only constant without

do not intend to give Marilyn vos Savant,

limitations. People must

the highest IQ record holder, a run for

strive to learn. Not solely

her money. Instead, our fascination is

through a textbook. But



NSLI-Y Morocco

Summer | 2012

My Trip to Morocco Rachel Anderson

Translation: My trip to Morocco I am here for six weeks. I live in Agdal with a Moroccan family. In Morocco I have done many things: I rode a camel. I slept in the Sahara. I pet a monkey. I learned to make juice. I made Moroccan friends. I played soccer with Moroccans. I swam in the ocean in Tangier. I ate horse and cactus. I found an ostrich egg. I will leave Morocco soon, but I will return.



NSLI-Y Morocco

Summer | 2012

My Syrian Teacher in Morocco Benjamin Weiss

As a foreigner, it is easy to initially

intolerance with the delicious

happenings. As a Syrian, she

feel like an alien presence in your host

Moroccan meal. When our excursions

updates us in a very personal way

community. To overcome the feelings

get canceled or leaving times change,

on the current fiasco in Syria. Her

of disconnectedness and strangeness,

Nancy expresses the frustration we’re

knowledge has broadened our

nothing is more helpful than a

too “culturally sensitive” to embrace.

understanding of Morocco and all of

“cultural bridge”: someone who

Her attitude in class, and her slight

the Middle East.

relates to your status as a Since she’s not a native

stranger but still fosters an

Moroccan, though, she

appreciation and sense of place in

understands how to relate to us

your new home. My cultural

as foreigners. She understands

bridge was Nancy, my Syrian

the struggles of learning the

Arabic teacher.

language and functioning in the Nancy’s family is ethnically

culture. This understanding

Russian, but has lived in Syria for

creates the much-desired-but-

generations. Four months ago,

seldom-achieved “safe learning

Nancy took the plunge and

environment” where we

shifted her life to Morocco. As a

students are able to ask

foreigner in Morocco, she too has

questions about the language

experienced culture shock,

distance from Moroccan culture,

and the culture and be confident

homesickness, and other travel-

allows her to connect with us, gain

that we’re getting honest, unbiased

associated ailments. While she has not

our respect, and amuse us to no end.

answers in return.

Even though Nancy’s sass and

Having Nancy as a teacher enhanced

attitude is prominent in the

my summer experience, making it a

classroom, she still maintains a

true period of growth. Because of

fastidious obsession with giving us

her, I appreciate Moroccan culture

Since Nancy has also dealt with the

the best possible education, both

through two lenses: that of a 17-

title of alien in Morocco, she

academically and culturally. She’s a

year-old young person and that of a

understands totally the emotions her

well-educated woman who has lots to

sassy Syrian woman.

students feel. On days when endless

share. She is a fountain of knowledge

vegetable tajine gets us down, Nancy

in the classroom on Arabic grammar,

can share her own occasional

religious concepts, and political

struggled dramatically with language barriers because she is a native Arabic speaker, she still had to tackle to difficult Moroccan dialect called Darija.



NSLI-Y Morocco

Summer | 2012

In Morocco, food means more than merely ‘dinner.’ In morocco, one always eats with one’s family or friends. Then,


after eating, one talks and jokes around with each other a lot.


But what does one actually eat in Morocco? For a typical

David Goldstein

dinner, there is delicious soup, called ‘Hairaira,’ in which there is a ton of vegetables. Also, one often eats ‘Tajine’ at dinner time. In Tajine, there is rice, meat, spices, and lots of vegetables. One always eats Tajine with bread, without silverware. Moroccan people love to eat sweets following meals. With these sweets, one drinks coffee or tea. Moroccan people always put a ton of sugar in their coffee or tea. Today, there is also much ‘modern’ food and less traditionalMcDonalds and fast food.



NSLI-Y Morocco

Transcending Barriers Kara Harrington

Summer | 2012 school my host mother walked me to

Rabat. We played games, danced,

the sidewalk and put me in a grand taxi

and sang with the kids for a couple

filled with five non-English speaking

of hours before going to the

strangers. I was terrified. I had no idea

center’s kitchen for an afternoon

When traveling to a foreign country,

where I was going, and I only knew how

snack. It was there that I sat by a

one expects a certain amount of

to say, “salaam” and “shukran” in

boy of no more than seven years

confusion to ensue at initial

Arabic, meaning hello and thank you.

old who kept his left arm inside a

immersion. This confusion can

baggy t-shirt, as if he was cold.

result from any number of

He stayed with his head down

factors: cultural differences,

and knees curled up on the

linguistic differences, religious

chair, and replied to everything I

differences, dietary differences,

said with the shortest

etc. The largest obstacle

responses possible. When the

travelers encounter remains to be

food was served, another young

the language barrier. Language is

girl hurriedly came over and

our most basic form of

began opening packaging and

communication. When put in a

arranging the boy’s food in bite-

circumstance where that tool is

sized portions. She even helped

rendered useless, we are left

him hold his spoon and his glass

feeling vulnerable, even scared.

of orange juice. Before leaving, I asked the director about the

This summer, I found myself in

two and was told that the little

one such situation in Morocco,

boy was born with a disfigured,

where I traveled to study Arabic.

non-functioning arm. The little

In the several weeks I spent

girl, Fatima, was of no relation to

surrounded by unfamiliar sounds and

Rather than being annoyed with my

disjointed syllables, I began to

inadequate knowledge of their language,

observe behavior like never before.

the other passengers worked together

It soon became clear that, despite

to direct the driver to my hoped for

obvious geographic and cultural

destination. As I watched the crumpled

While I still cannot understand

differences, there are innate human

up sheet of paper with Qalam’s address

most Arabic, I do understand this:

characteristics that transcend the

on it pass from person to person, I was

human kindness is not bound by

language barrier. Noticing these

filled with relief and gratitude. I was not

anything. It exists everywhere;

provided a comfort and familiarity I

quite as alone as I thought.

regardless of region, it is a

had not expected to find in a place so far from home. For example, on my first day of


On another occasion, my fellow students and I visited a children’s center in Sale, a town just outside of

the boy, but had taken it upon herself to protect him, like a big sister.

language we all speak. And well, there’s nothing confusing about that.


NSLI-Y Morocco Newsletter - iEARN  
NSLI-Y Morocco Newsletter - iEARN  

15 students reflect on their experience learning Arabic language and Moroccan culture during their 6 week NSLI-Y program abroad. NSLI-Y is a...