CSE

Center for Social Entrepreneurship

at Middlebury

CSE FELLOW NAOMI EISENBERG ’18

Naomi is a rising junior at Middlebury College currently interning in Morocco with theAnou.com, a fair trade web-based platform that connects Moroccan artisans with larger market spaces. The following is an excerpt from her blog about her experience.

“I felt like I was praying with my feet.” 

– Abraham Joshua Heschel 1965

The houses are empty. Neatly organized rows of tagines line the balcony across the way. David beach, a quiet suburb south of Rabat is full of summer homes, and summer is just beginning. Hibiscus, tea, round wheat bread, and the smell of the ocean, this journey has begun.

I arrived in Morocco yesterday, where I will be for the next ten weeks working with a company called Anou that connects Moroccan artisans to larger market places at fair trade prices via their online website. (theAnou.com)

I learn at dinner on my plastic chair around a small wooden table pulled into the center of the kitchen of the different languages spoken even within this villa that we live and work in together. Berber, a language of the Atlas Mountains, and Derisha, the Moroccan dialect of Arabic

Across the table is a young Moroccan woman, clad in a long bright pink dress, smiling at me, though few words are mutually intelligible between the two of us. She is an artisan leader, working at the Anou headquarters. A weaver by trade, but now also performing administrative work for the collaborative. Tzadik in derisha, Moroccan dialect Arabic means “friend.” In Hebrew, Tzadik means “righteous,” or “righteous person,” I like the slightly warped interpretation from one language to the next.

Jinny, the professional fellow also working with Anou teaches me the word “Jugaad,” an Indian word that tells us to “figure it out” with whatever you have. The water pipes went out today, the first day of Ramadan, and she filled up a bucket of water and lugged it up the stairs to the bathroom. This is jugaad, she says. After a run I slosh the water up the stairs to the second floor, using a smaller bucket to risk out my hair and clean my face.

I feel like I am talking, though I know I am not. Surrounded by words I don’t understand, I realize that most of the conversation is occurring only within myself. This inner companion that I have is one I have not spent much time speaking to in the past few months. This will be a long conversation – one I must get used to. Just like the bucket baths and the sticky smell of salt coming from the ocean, like the wooden table and the call to prayer at the first ray of daylight.

I intend on praying with my feet for the next few months, though I will admit I do not know yet what that will mean. Tomorrow we leave for the high Atlas mountains. My guess is that I shall find out very soon.

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