Last month V asked if I would like to join her and a crew of her colleagues in a trip to Casablanca to visit the Sidi Moumen Cultural Center. I was already familiar with the center and some of the difficulties that kids in the area have faced and jumped at the chance to visit the center. The cultural center is located within Sidi Moumen, an area once host to seemingly endless expanses of life below the poverty line and rampant crime. The area gained international notoriety after the 2003 and 2007 terrorist attacks in Casablanca, as poor young men from Sidi Moumen were recruited to carry out those atrocities.
The center’s director treated us to a tour of the center while he explained the center’s mission and how it goes about accomplishing its goals. I was impressed by the center and the opportunities that it affords the kids, though I was totally blown away by the kids and their accomplishments. Kids from the cultural center are graduating from high school and some make it college and beyond – some Moumen “grads” even make it to graduate school in Europe and around the world.
We were met and sent off by the Sidi Moumen drum corps, a group of young guys that sounded absolutely fantastic playing on traditional and improvised instruments. They were all excellent musicians and were a joy to watch. I regret not recording audio of their performances!
I plan on returning to Sidi Moumen to visit the cultural center again soon. The director mentioned that some of the kids are very interested in photography and I would love to hear what the craft means to them.