The rain pours down. For us, who had been living on Costa del Sol for 6 months, this was the first day our children had to wear rubber boots. On Christmas Day 2014, we were in Chefchaouen, Morocco. Our children asked to go visit the local children and our host Jaber kindly offers to take us to the local village school. We celebrated Christmas Eve the Swedish way with a Moroccan touch yesterday with one big difference from other years, our children only had a few small gifts.
The journey we are on, living to love the road, is the big gift. We drive a few kilometers up the mountain to Akerate village, Jabers family village. A small, concrete built, run down school appears on the left hand side of the road. We park and I can sense my children´s reaction, is this the school? So much unlike the buildings they both have attended in Onsala and Göteborg, Sweden, and the village school in Torrox, Spain. Jaber invites us into the first classroom and Lucas (then 9 years), says: “Mom, please turn on the lights, it is so dark in here.” I kindly whisper to him: Sorry my son, there is no electricity. “But I see the poles out there”, he says persistently. “You need to fix it Mom!”. No, I say, but we can do it together.
In the meantime, my daughter Maj is asking her Dad to go and get her sneakers in the car. “I am going to give my rubber boots away now, this boy has only sandals and it is raining”. At this time, tears stream down my cheeks I realize the Christmas and life miracle of giving is happening right here. We greet all children in four classrooms and a while later it is time for a break. Lucas gets one of his two Christmas gifts from the car, his soccer ball. Without hesitation, he gives it to his new friends.
Lucas fundraises €55 with his former classmates in Sweden in the next few weeks and pays for the electrician to come and fix the lights in all four Akerate School classrooms. It also pays for light bulbs for a year. As a family, we agree to start a non-profit organization that today is the Vilostrada Foundation. All children and people have the right to education and right now our current mission is the project “Education for Life” with the nomads in Sahara. How all that happened, you can read more about in September!
Follow my Moroccan tracks during 2017. Victoria Ahlén, founder of Vilostrada, is an expert Moroccan artisan buyer, and founder of the Vilostrada Foundation – building the world’s greatest school together with the Nomads in Sahara, Morocco.