And it begins…

So I’ve finally got a blog. I say finally because I think I’ve always vaguely wanted one, I just haven’t been able to admit it to myself until now for fear that my dignity and political persuasions be swallowed up by the behemoth popular culture. That, and there are some pretty bloody good ones out there. I read these from time to time before shutting my computer in disgust. While this one might not be able to compete at that level, I’ve given up the attempt to analyse why I have an urge to be part of something trendy and popular on the internet even though it is fundamentally weird, and I’m just going to put my two cents in. Here it is. What I hope the blog will actually achieve or inspire in its readers, as well as an explanation of its name, is available on the ‘about me’ page. I hope you enjoy reading it, and if it’s rubbish, I enjoyed writing it!

I’m in Morocco. I’ve been here for two days, and I’ll be here for another five months. I’m in a small, sleepy and dusty town called Taroudannt at the entrance to the Sous Valley, about one hour east of Agadir, and four hours from Marrakesh. My lungs are already filled with dust, and I’m starting to wonder if there isn’t a practical reason women veil their faces. Nevertheless the place has a lovely positive air about it, and the men are smiley and friendly rather than leery and creepy which means I am clearly winning.

As many of you reading this will no doubt be aware, I am here to volunteer with the London-based not-for-profit organisation the Moroccan Children’s Trust and its local Moroccan partner organisation, Groupe Maroc Horizons. I will be assisting with the establishment of a program for women, and will be attempting to set up a music program at the organisation’s centre for children who would otherwise be living or working on the street. I have already visited the centre twice and it is just buzzing with life. I am sure the children will be where I find the magic here. I will be writing more about the development of these two initiatives, and about my time at the centre, as the blog goes on.

In order to fund my time on the project, I have relied on the generosity of friends, family and strangers, to whom I express my deepest gratitude. This blog is largely for you. I also recorded, launched and continue to sell my debut, self-titled album of seven original songs. During my time here I hope to write many more, and so will try to blog on the progress of my personal musical meanderings as well; I have no doubt my time here will be ample inspiration for that! Feel free to visit the ‘my music’ page if you’re interested in finding out more about this, and for those who’ve bought or listened to the album (or the few tracks I’ve popped up on http://www.myspace.com/brionymackenzie) I’d love to hear any feedback you may have.

To the interesting stuff, then. I am living with a local family whilst in Taroudannt. The house has wifi (thank you!) and is absolutely enormous. There is enough food daily to feed an army (we average five meals), and enough couch space to seat one. Frankly the couches baffle me but since I’m burning them (figuratively anyway) I won’t lose any sleep over this (I will say though that I do find the juxtaposition between the concept of this blog and the sheer number of couches in this house slightly amusing).

There are other things apart from couches if you look hard. There is a lovely garden, filled with fresh herbs and fruit trees which are used in our food and tea daily. The food is incredible, and the ‘Moroccan wine’, as one of the brothers in the family calls it, is “just as delicious but actually better because you don’t fall over”.  I must say I do find the hot, sweet, spicy, mint concoction a rather nice substitute for the alcoholic stuff, and he’s right – I haven’t fallen over yet. God, I’m going to be so clean and Zen – if I knew myself I’m sure I would hate me!

There are a number of staff from the London office here at the moment as well: two lovely girls, Rosie and Livia, as well as another volunteer, Matthew, who will be staying for six weeks. Matthew is a primary school teacher and artist, and comes to the centre after running a one week, 250km marathon on sand across the Moroccan desert. For some reason he projects a good deal more sanity than the decision to participate in the race – and more to the point, the decision to finish it – suggests. Two of his toenails fell off last night, but he looks forward to a day soon when he “will be able to wear sandals without socks again”. Hurrah!

More to come soon.

xx Briony

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Leave a comment

5 Comments

  1. Georges

     /  April 20, 2012

    Amazing job, are there any Shishas in those rooms…
    all the best there
    G

    Reply
  2. Jill

     /  April 21, 2012

    Congratulations on finally making it to Morocco- it’s been a huge effort to date. Hoping the experience is rewarding both personally and professionally

    Reply
  3. Maddy 'cousin extraordinaire' Ross

     /  April 22, 2012

    This shall be the only blog I follow…ever! A first for both of us 🙂 Love you! xxx

    Reply
  4. Em 'knock Maddy of her cousin extrodinaire post' Mackenzie

     /  April 25, 2012

    Who knew I would be a blog reader….. (must be careful not to typo that word.. not sure a bog reader would be quite so enjoable…) You’re amazing and we loves you xxx

    Reply
  5. Rach H

     /  June 4, 2012

    I must agree with my 2 crazy cousins on here, it is the only blog i have ever read or intend on ready. you are an incredible writter my love and i am throughly enjoying been kept up to date with your adventures! loving you always and cant wait til we are both in melbourne next xxx

    Reply

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