Saturday, April 17, 2010


The best campers are the ones who look like they want to kill someone the first day of camp and then can’t stop smiling by the end of the week. At camp in Fes we had many kids who loosened up as the week went on but one camper was a model of success.

When I first saw Fouad I labeled him as a serial killer with much agreement from the rest of the volunteers. He just looked like a kid with a chip on his shoulder and an attitude that could never be broken.

We broke the campers into random groups that would eat all their meals together and participate in competitions together all week. Each group was put with one or two volunteers as leaders. Fouad was put in Casey's group and all I had to say was “good luck.”

As the week went on Casey told me that he was able to connect with Fouad. He found out that Fouad is from a small country village outside of Fes and he felt strange being around so many city kids. Turns out Casey was raised in a small town of around 400 people in Vermont, so he and Fouad had something to connect on. Fouad became Casey’s little buddy and I often saw him near his side.

By Thursday Fouad was connecting with all the rest of the American volunteers. The scowl that I was convinced would never leave his face disappeared. I couldn’t even look at him anymore with out smiling and receiving a large genuine smile in return.

He became one of the most caring and genuine Moroccan kids I have met so far. While walking next to me on our fieldtrip to the old city in Fes, which is a narrow labyrinth of streets and alleyways, he was attentive to shield me from an oncoming donkey or horse. He also shared his candy with me.

On the final night of camp at the dance Fouad was not shy. I could tell he loved to dance. I enjoyed so much watching him have fun. He had moves all his own and was not afraid to show them.

I was so proud of Fouad for making the transformation that he did. I consider what we did as a small part of this and his willingness to let himself go the bigger part of it.