In Morocco

Houda

Houda is a young woman that I first met in summer of 2011 at an English immersion camp I was working at in El Jadida. Houda was sweet, cool, talented in languages, and super interesting. We became fast friends. 

When I met Houda I was only in Morocco for about five more months, so we took the opportunity to spend a little more time together when I visited her and her family in Casablanca that September. We have been able to stay in touch over these years through Facebook and she is always supporting the things that I post. Since she lives in Casablanca, very close proximity to where I was staying on my vacation I knew I wanted to make it a priority to see her. 

We agreed to meet at the Casa Voyagers train station on my way to Rabat. I had texted Houda the night before to let her know the plan but as our meeting time came close to approaching I had not heard confirmation from her. I was really hoping I would get to see her. I made the prediction that maybe her phone had run out of credit (common occurrence) and she might be waiting for us at our scheduled time in the train station. When I saw her sweet self standing there among the other people awaiting their family's arrivals, I was so happy to learn I was right. 

It's one of those moments when you are relieved and happy to see someone. I felt honored that she made her way there to see me and was waiting so patiently for my arrival. When I ran into her arms I got a real and true, tight hug from her and was so pleased to see the woman she was growing into. 

She had asked her friends for a cool place to grab a coffee near the train station. She just so happened to take me to a Mad Men (yes, the TV show) themed cafe, that I thought was super cool. Houda told me all about her beginning year of University in Casablanca. Much to my surprise she told me she was studying physics and chemistry. After this year she would be choosing the track that she wanted to study closer and eventually go into. She talked about her love of physics and how eventually she wanted to work in particle or nuclear physics. I never knew she was interested in science and not only was I proud of her, I was excited to speak to her about something that is increasingly more interesting to me as well. We even spoke about Neil deGrasse Tyson! 

I am happy to know a young woman like Houda. On a path to a field where women are few and far between especially in a country like Morocco. But she knows how important education is, especially that in science. It's very refreshing to hear her points of view on science while living in such a religious country. 

When we left her I told her how proud I was of her and how excited I am to see what she does with her future. She so appreciated the encouragement. 

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