Monday, July 18, 2011


At his first time at any camp Oualid (pronounced Wa-lead) earned the award of star of the day then later on star of the camp. This is how he did it.

Oualid comes from a city called Khemisset, near the capitol city of Rabat. He came to camp with Eric, the Peace Corps volunteer in his city. My first experience with him was when he was completing the first activity we had lined up for the kids. It was to outline your hand and write your name, hometown, and three interesting facts about yourself on each of the fingers. The palm of the hand was reserved for anything that you wanted to draw that expressed you.

Oualid's drawing was special. I realized quickly he had a great skill for drawing then in talking to him I realized he was fluent in English. Since my Arabic is not too great I always enjoy encountering kids who can speak English well. It gives me the chance to really get to know them.

I started talking to Oualid while out on a walk with the entire camp the first night. In only a few hours at camp he told me he had already spoken with all the American staff. He was so friendly and inclusive I guessed that he would quickly be a friend to all. I gave him the challenge of talking to each and every one of the campers in the next 11 days. I don't doubt that he did it.

The night of the talent show Oualid took the floor with just a chair and a drum. With no music to company him he started a beat that was familiar to some of the American staff members. He started to sing "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele with a soul and passion that would make the song's owner proud.

Later on much to my surprise Oualid told me that he planned on playing the drum after he sang the song. The beat he created while he sang was completely improvised.

He was never far from that drum. On the field trip the camp took, when we all walked about a mile, he carried the drum the entire way making beats and music and rousing the entire group to clap their hands and sing along.

Oualid was always seen helping in anyway possible. He always helped to clear trays off the tables after a meal. He helped whoever needed it when moving something to set up an activity or pick up after a class.

He treated everyone with respect and was a perfect gentleman. He was always dancing whenever music was playing.

He was elected the captain of team Canada. He was such a great leader and ultimately helped lead his team to winning first place in the camp long competition by earning the most points.

On the final night of camp, during the final show, I did a funny skit with three of my boys from my town. The skit required picking someone to play a joke on as the punchline.We picked Oualid. He was a great sport about it.

At the very end of the show I was honored to announce the winners of the most improved English award, the star of the camp awards, and the final team standings. I got to hand the star to Oualid for being the male star of the camp for all the reasons you just read about. He was always ready to listen, learn, enjoy, help, laugh, smile, and love.

He is an amazing young man who I was honored to get the chance to get to know.