We work at the grassroots level throughout the Muslim World to counter violent extremism before it takes hold, to promote tolerance and understanding, and to foster better relations with the United States.
Tarmilaat is a small shepherding village just ten minutes outside of Ifrane, Morocco. About 20 families live in stone pile and dried mud houses, for a village so close to the small affluent town of Ifrane, the people of these areas lead starkly contrasting lives.
Eto, the proactive community leader who has been letting us use her house as a teaching space, serves us tea and bread each day; we tried refusing once or twice, but we quickly learned that turning down such a gesture is quite offensive.
Some of my best students, that happen to be girls, might not continue with school as they are not encouraged to pursue education. Most days, I wrestle with the spirit of discouragement but I convince myself that my students will have a shot at education, regardless of their personal and social challenges.
In the same way, our students kiss our cheeks upon entering class, all 22 of them, it is in fact one of the things I look forward to in my days. All of my students are eager to learn and even more eager to compete; these past few days I have started grading their work and rewarding them with stickers, which has intensified the competitive spirit of the class.