Although I've traveled the world, Rabat is unlike anywhere I've ever been. Many days, it felt more like what I pictured the Middle East to be, and less like the Africa I have come to know and love from my time in Central and Southern Africa.
A voice in the distance calls me from the depths of my dreams. Unsure of where I am, my nose registers the cold air. I feel the weight of my wool blanket pressing down on me and yet I still shiver. It takes a moment for my eyes to adjust to the darkness and for me to process where I am and why this warbling voice beckons me to rise from my slumber and pray.
In my final year at UC San Diego, I led a group of 14 fellow students on a volunteer program through Cross-Cultural Solutions in Cartago, Costa Rica. We were looking for an experience that would be memorable, and more than just a typical spring break. Safety and pre-departure support were also top priorities for us since we were students and even had a few first-time travelers in the group. And this is how I found Cross-Cultural Solutions.
I wanted to take a moment to give a shout out to some of the unsung heroes of the Cross-Cultural Solutions programs: the CCS drivers! Our drivers are such an important part of the in-country teams, and in each destination, you'll find that they are some of the warmest and most friendly characters, too.
Here's something that just about all of my friends and family know about me: I'm a backpacker. I love waking up in the morning, pointing to a spot on the map, hopping on a bus and ending up somewhere new. In fact, I've backpacked through 42 countries and counting. When I had the opportunity to volunteer in Ghana with Cross-Cultural Solutions in November of 2013, I could hardly believe that I'd be making my very first trip to the African continent.