Abderrahim is the main teacher for us 12 fullbrighters as we attempt to learn how to read and write in Arabic. He is probably around his late 40's or so, very nice man and an excellent teacher. This brings me to the following: For me, the most rewarding and amazing experience thus far, was not us visiting the middle school in Fez, not the language school in Taza, or the surreal (not deserving) exclusive access to the library containing Arabic manuscripts that are hundreds of years old (WOW!)---All of which, have been fantastic experiences and a blessing in unto themselves; For me, it was actually Abderrahim admitting to us fullbrighters, that to be in the room containing these fascinating manuscripts (from historically great and admirable Islamic thinkers) and be able to read them and see them in their current conditions, made him deeply emotional. This man, Abderrahim was touched by these ancient writings, also keep in mind that he has his son and daughter with him as we are listening to the history of the particular manuscripts that are being presented to us.
That experience with Abderrahim has been the most rewarding thus far; and to think he probably would never have experienced this had it not been for these 12 Americans who arrived just 6 days ago. It is a bit sad, Abderrahim has lived here almost his entire life and would probably have gone on through life and perished not ever having seen these manuscripts which are so important, and bring such pride and honor to the Islamic world, the Moroccan culture, and most importantly, bring that sense of identity and empowerment to a person.
I almost feel like it is unfair. Do not get me wrong, I am incredibly thankful and forever grateful for this opportunity and by no means am I complaining. However, just think about the power of being born in America. Unbelievably mind-boggling right? The average Moroccan can not see what I saw, having only been in this country for less than a week. It just doesn't feel right, but at the same time that is what is amazing about this program, its taking me to places and having me experience things i never thought i would be experiencing! Praise Allah that i was there with Abderrahim (and his children) as he was able to witness something so precious and emotional about his culture, history, and people.