Safi, Morocco - Give teens leadership and see how well they manage it.
Safi, Morocco – Give teens leadership and see how well they manage it.
Nothing warms the heart and revives our hope and expectations more than action take by teenagers, especially when actions are completed in the name of solidarity. When I proposed a visit to the Elderly Hostel to my students, all of them were eager to participate in a charitable action.
As I was not able to take the entire class, I was obliged to decide who would actually have the chance to go on the field trip. The rest of the class would have to settle for a promise to accompany me to the hostel on another day. I then let my students take the responsibility of deciding and delegating tasks: who would collect the contributions and what was appropriate to prepare and buy for the elderly people living in the hostel.
My contribution went first, not as a leader, but only as a participant. In this situation, leadership was a joint responsibility as each of my students had something to say and to do for this project. Although the idea of the visit was not planned beforehand, the visit, luckily, went well. The hostel was a bit far from the students’ homes and we didn’t have enough time to ask the authorities for a means of transport. But the youth of my class decided to go beyond any obstacles that might confront them. I only fixed the time of our meeting in front of the hostel and withdrew myself to let them organize everything else about our visit.
I was the first to arrive, a bit before 3:00 pm, bearing in mind that adults should be an example of punctuality. The first students showed up, the rest of the group only meters behind, noisily yelling at the bus driver who hadn’t waited for them to get off and had taken them to the next stop. This is why my students were fifteen minutes late, because of a bus driver. I wasn’t angry at all as the tardiness wasn’t the of my students fault. My students arrived with heavy bags, having brought everything possible to offer elderly people who have no place to go to and who can’t get what they feel like having. The only people who provide for this population are people who visit them from time to time on Fridays and religious occasions.
I was so impressed by those 14-16 students dividing their gifts into equal shares and putting them in bags for men and women alike, then visiting to those who can’t leave their beds. My students took turns feeding each individual. Some changed socks, scarves and bonnets with new, clean ones. Some students even wiped away previously unnoticed tears. Afterwards, we planned to provide entertainment.
Students and residents gathered in a big sitting-room to have fun; some students stayed with the sicker residents in the dormitory, talking and telling jokes. The students provided music, accompanied by songs and dances; the entertainment had an overall good effect on the residents who quickly got involved in singing, dancing and telling jokes. The women had their hands dyed in henna by a particularly skillful student. We closed the visit with good-byes to the residents and promises to visit again soon.
Everything was so well-organized that both hosts and visitors were satisfied; the hosts were satisfied with the youngsters’ jovial presence and the students were satisfied with the pleasure they felt in donating their time to people in need. As one of the teens said in a moving speech, “these people could be our parents, grandparents, relatives, and even us one day!” I was personally very pleased with my students—so let’s give our teens the opportunity to act and let’s have a positive opinion and outlook about the future of Morocco in their hands.
Edited by Beau Clark
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