by Malika Kassi, a HAF Community Facilitator
On the 24th of June, Chelsea, Hans and I attended an event in Ifrane where a group of Olmsted Scholars were running a marathon to raise money for High Atlas Foundation. The Olmsted Scholars run in the Marathon International des Cèdres — a 90 km (56 mile), four-day stage race in the Atlas Mountains — an event which aims to promote sport and tourism in Morocco’s Middle Atlas region. “Marathon des Cèdres” is one of the best examples which prove how sporting events can promote cultural understanding and bring nations together at least temporarily.
When we arrived, there were already a few people and a group of local musicians who performed ‘Ahidous’, dancing in an amazing way. (The movements were collective for their comfort.) We met with the family members of the Olmsted Scholars and were able to talk with them a little bit.
When everybody arrived to the final, we met with the Olmsted Scholars group Dave, Jamil, Christina, Tim, Ken and others. They were happy to meet with us.
We had lunch with them together where we had the chance to express our depth of gratitude for them for raising money for HAF. They were very interested to learn more about HAF and its impact on people through the great work it is doing. The Olmsted scholars were so excited to know more about HAF and they wish they could have time and chance to visit HAF’s project sites. Actually, the financial support Olmsted Scholars raise for HAF can help people who are in need especially those in the neglected region of Morocco who are living under difficult conditions.
Personally, I was impressed with the Olmsted scholars’ attitude that they have towards Morocco’s rich culture and development in Morocco. For me, that day was not a thank you day only but also an exposure to learn more about Americans. We share thoughts and knowledge which makes me believe that we have a common future despite our differences.
“what a true gift of donation when people share their passion and wisdom , expecting nothing in return, except for may be a better change in people’s life and skills”.