You are here

On the Road to Morocco - a Cultural Exchange of Ideas and Experience

On the Road to Morocco - a Cultural Exchange of Ideas and Experience

In early April 2016, a group of 10 members from the Marbella Guadalmina Rotary Club, our English language Rotary Club established in 2010 and one of the newest in Spain, set off to visit the oldest Rotary Club in Morocco.  The Rabat Rotary Club was founded in 1934 and is a longstanding and important Club in its own right. The objective  was to get together with North African Rotarians and learn from their experiences and local knowledge in conducting community service projects..

Crossing the Strait of Gibraltar from Tarifa to Tangier, the convey of cars made the two and one half hour trip down the motorway to Rabat, carefully keeping to speed limits along the way to avoid the numerous speed traps and resulting fines.

An important settlement in Phoenician and Roman times with a rich history, Rabat is a now a modern cosmopolitan capital city of some 1.9 million inhabitants, with elegant tree lined boulevards and imposing administrative buildings, whilst the old city still contains a number of interesting architectural remains, monuments and museums.

The primary purpose of the visit was to combine the Rotarian spirit of fellowship and camaraderie with an exchange of ideas and expertise in conducting community service projects. The possibility of working together on future programmes was also explored. The Marbella-Guadalmina Club is already supporting remedial dental projects in the Rif Mountains, whilst the Rabat Club is providing toilet and washing facilities for deprived schools in the greater Rabat area- a joint visit was made to such a school to determine the progress made. If the two Clubs can work together on a common projects, however, they will be then be in a position to raise extra funding from other Rotary clubs and organisations and so support additional worthy causes.

Besides these Rotary opportunities the Marbella-Guadalmina group, together with Rabat Club members, made social visits to various local sites: these included the Kasbah des Oudaias, the oldest site in the city, which although now a residential enclave still commands imposing views over the Atlantic ocean and the Bouregreg river below; the narrow streets of the walled 17th Century Medina with its spice, carpets and craft centre markets; the traditional style, marble Mausoleum of Mohammed V, also the resting place of the father and grandfather of the current king and to the adjacent La Tour Hassan, a beautifully designed towering minaret which was commenced in the 1194 and reaches a height of 44 metres.

This visit to Rabat, besides offering sightseeing opportunities, importantly allowed Marbella-Guadalmina members to see Rotary in action in another country and so help widen horizons and provide better understanding of the cultural background and attitudes of Moroccan Rotary Clubs. In true Rotary spirit, the Rabat Club has been invited to make a reciprocal visit to Marbella for further discussions on ways to add synergy to common goals and aspirations, whilst also enjoying good Rotarian company and friendship in a Marbella environment.