February 5th, 2014

Weekend update…

Oh man, what a weekend. It was pretty jam-packed starting with a delicious spaghetti dinner on Friday night and breakfast brought to my room on Saturday morning. My host mom made me a little tray with a pancake, cookies, and tea because I told her I was meeting friends at 11 to go sightsee. We ended up walking around for 6 hours! My legs were the best kind of sore after trekking through the city to the unfinished mosque and mausoleum where the late Hassan II is buried. Our group split up from there just before a Qur’anic reading. About six

of us headed downhill from the Hassan neighborhood to the riverfront and walked alongside one of Rabat’s busiest streets, almost reaching the bridge to Sale (Rabat’s sister city). We turned around from there and walked on the promenade by the river and watched the fishermen repair their nets and prepare their cobalt blue boats for a trip out to the Atlantic Ocean. There’s been an unusual amount of rain this winter, so everything around the city is green and lush, and the days have been overcast. Not exactly what I had in mind for Africa, but I’ve been reminded on 55 degree days that “this is the worst winter Rabat has seen for many years” (I can feel the death glares long distance from Chicago).

Sunday was another very special day. I got up early enough to head to 9am mass at the Cath├ędrale St. Pierre which is the home of the diocese of Morocco. There are so few Christians in Rabat that there are only two churches, one serving English mass and one serving French. So I chose the French option not really knowing what to expect. When I entered the cathedral, the huge space was empty but I was shown an area behind the main alter where a smaller chapel space was occupied by about 25 people. Two thirds in attendance were sub-Saharan immigrants and there were 5-6 French nationals but no Arab church-goers. The priest was super young and very enthusiastic, trying to get everyone to participate in the mass through songs, readings, and a very audience-participatory homily. Luckily I know enough about the feast of the presentation of Jesus that I didn’t miss too much to the language barrier. Maybe next week I will try it in English…

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