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French Students Study Moroccan Culture

Senior Haley Thoms models a Moroccan dress with assistance from Ms. Housna Veerman, a guest speaker from Morocco.

Students in Ms. Lisa Helms’ French IV class recently concluded a comprehensive study of Morocco, a French speaking country in North Africa. Part of the finale included a taste of typical Moroccan cuisine: couscous and "thé à la menthe" (mint tea.) Couscous is a staple food in Morocco and is a coarsely ground semolina pasta.

Ms. Helms said, “If offered, you MUST try the mint tea if you are in Morocco! It is their national beverage and it is considered ‘mal élevé’ (rude or impolite) to refuse! I told the students that they didn't have to eat the couscous but they had to at least taste the tea... we did not want to be mal élevé!”

To hear more about Morocco firsthand, the class welcomed Moroccan guest speaker Housna Veerman on March 12. Veerman is from Rabat, the capital of Morocco. She came to the U.S. to attend a friend’s wedding where she met her future husband! She told the students about many aspects of Moroccan culture and shared Moroccan artifacts. She explained that while French is spoken there, Moroccan and Arabic are also spoken as well as written, and that some people mix the languages up in speaking to each other.

Sophomore Rita Kumaravel said, “Ms. Veerman came in to tell us about the culture of Morocco, which we were learning about in class. She expanded on the information the book gave us and also provided modern insight. The stories she told us about her own visits with her family were really funny too.”

“She told us about how everyone is so nice when you visit. Hospitality is a huge part of their culture. Her own family let someone they didn’t know stay with them for a whole week. I think that’s amazing! We had learned about Moroccan hospitality in class, but hearing a real-life situation was so cool!” said sophomore Erin Kelly.

Senior Haley Thoms volunteered to model a beautiful red Moroccan dress that Ms. Veerman brought. She said, “I found it extremely interesting that women are not allowed to wear the same dress to an event more than once.”

Ms. Helms said, “Moroccan tradition is that once you’ve been seen in a dress, you cannot wear it again. The Moroccans dress like us on regular days… jeans, sweaters, etc. They dress up a little more than us though. Ms. Veerman provided cultural insight that our textbook didn’t.”

“I liked how she talked about how their lifestyle was in Morocco. The way they live is so much different than the way we live here. From what she told us, I would definitely go visit there because they are so nice and welcoming of tourists,” said sophomore Milana Morgan.

Ms. Helms and the class would like to thank Ms. Veerman for her interesting and insightful visit.

Written by: Paula White
Posted: Mar 20, 2014 by Paula White

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