All Insights

A Day of Harmony

byStella Alexiou
onJune 24, 2024

unaware of the profound and enlightening experiences that awaited us. Our interactions with the village children and Mercer University students unfolded into a symphony of learning, performance, and community building, surpassing all expectations.

As someone deeply engrossed in education, particularly in teaching English to non-native speakers, I found myself reflecting on the many ways in which we can bridge cultural and linguistic divides. The day began with a palpable sense of excitement as we prepared to meet the children who eagerly awaited our arrival. Without a clear expectation of what I was getting myself into, I was ready to dive into teaching. However, what I hadn’t anticipated was the absolutely invaluable role that music and performance would play in this educational landscape.

Accompanying us was a professor specializing in performance studies and its applications across different cultures. This professor's insights into how performance can transcend linguistic barriers were invaluable as the children opened up as soon as we introduced interactive musical activities. Singing together, we broke down walls of inhibition and built a bridge of understanding. Despite my self-proclaimed lack of musical talent (which I still hold true), I found myself singing along, my voice merging with those of the children and my fellow volunteers. In those moments, I realized the transformative power of music—it was not just about melody or rhythm but about connection and shared joy.

Interacting with the High Atlas Foundation office staff was truly another highlight of the day. Despite the significant language barrier—I speak very little Darija—I learned through sheer proximity and necessity. The laughter that ensued from our attempts to communicate was a testament to the universal language of humor. Mispronunciations and misunderstandings turned into moments of shared amusement, and through these interactions, I formed genuine friendships. The staff's warmth and patience taught me that communication goes beyond words; it's about effort and the willingness to understand one another.


Meeting the Mercer students was equally enriching. Their passion for their studies and their musical talents were genuinely inspiring. I had the unique opportunity to learn about different instruments and even tried my hand at playing the cello for a brief moment. The Mercer students' willingness to share their knowledge and the joy they derived from their music was infectious, adding another layer of connection to our diverse group.

What struck me most about this day was how seamlessly education, performance, and community blended together. Initially, I saw these as distinct aspects, each valuable in its own right. However, as the day progressed, I began to see their interdependence. Teaching English became more effective through music; performance became a tool for education, and community bonds were strengthened through shared experiences. The holistic approach seen with HAF, integrating various facets of development and cultural exchange, proved incredibly effective, and I am positive that these events' future impact is equally profound.

Reflecting on the day's events, I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of such a meaningful initiative. The High Atlas Foundation's commitment to empowering Moroccan communities through education, cultural preservation, and sustainable development was evident in every interaction and activity. This experience has enriched my understanding of educational methodologies and highlighted the importance of cultural exchange and community engagement in creating lasting impact. It reaffirmed my belief in the power of collaboration and the beauty of diverse perspectives coming together for a common goal. In the end, the melodies we created together—both literal and metaphorical—will resonate with me for a lifetime.