Thirty-one years ago last month, a group of sixty-plus Peace Corps trainees arrived in Rabat, following a nearly 24-hour trip from Philadelphia via Paris. It was already night as we drove in from the airport, and it was Ramadan. The streets were packed, but our bus eventually made its way to the Bulima Hotel in the center of Rabat. Unable to sleep, I wandered down Blvd Mohammed V to the medina, and entered a new world of sights, sounds and smells. Thus began my own “beautiful friendship” with Morocco.
After spending two years teaching English at Lycée Laymoune in Berkane (and also visiting the American Legation in 1984), I began a diplomatic career that took me from Guinea-Bissau to Singapore, Madagascar to Tunisia, Cairo to New York City, and finally Niger and New Delhi. Working subsequently for the United Nations also allowed me to work in lovely, lyrical Cape Verde. Now I’ve come full circle and will begin a new adventure as Director of the Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies.