We are thrilled to unveil the "Moroccan Haven" – a sanctuary that transcends the hustle and bustle of modern life, thoughtfully designed to provide you with an immersive cultural experience, complemented by the rich flavors of Moroccan cuisine, all set within a welcoming and hospitable ambiance. Our mission is to nurture an environment where individuals can discover inner serenity, engage in profound introspection, and unlock the full potential of their creativity, leading to success in their endeavors. We celebrate the tapestry of life that emerges when people from all walks of life come together, united by the common purpose of exploring their creativity. Come find and embrace your authentic self.
Journeying back through space and time to my village, I am reminded of the incredible sense of community that existed there. Every endeavor, whether it involved constructing a wall, preparing for an exam, celebrating a wedding, birth of a child, or tending to bureaucratic matters in the city, was a collective effort. As you worked on your task, passersby would offer their assistance, uttering heartfelt words like "May God help" or "Llah I'awn." Or “May God Bless”, “May God grant you ease and clarity”. They would also bring sustenance in the form of food, tea, dates, and water, while also expressing genuine interest in your progress. No undertaking was ever a solitary experience; instead, it was a celebration of unity and cooperation. This sense of togetherness not only fueled motivation but also instilled a deep sense of responsibility and accountability, leaving little room for procrastination. The community was fully engaged, and the project's journey was just as cherished as its completion. Sadly, in our modern, fast-paced world, such opportunities for emotional and social support often elude us.
My village, Ouled Alioua, nestled 44 kilometers from Agadir, a major city in the southern region of Morocco, lacked basic amenities such as water, electricity, healthcare, digital libraries, and the internet. However, we found ways to overcome these limitations by fostering a strong sense of community and relying on social and religious support structures. For example, my mother would regularly host her female friends from the village for mid-afternoon tea and cookies. Gathered beneath the comforting shade of a pepper tree, within the open space of our clay house, they would knit, crack shells with a stone to extract nuts for Argan oil, and engage in simultaneous conversations about their personal lives. These intimate gatherings offered solace, shared wisdom, and compassionate listening. Moreover, the community's well served as a gathering point just before sunset after the temperature has cooled down, where we would come together to fill our water jugs, exchange news, and forge deep connections. Additionally, there was an elevated area known as "marwaH," (return home) strategically positioned near the mosque and the village's primary entrance, where individuals returning from work or trips to the city and individuals who stayed in the village would gather for daily check-ins. Engaging with others, discussing our challenges, and sharing our dreams and aspirations are intrinsic aspects of the human experience. I yearn to recreate a taste of this supportive environment right here in Pittsburgh, where people can convene to write, vent, gather, focus, meditate, pray, and find solace amidst the chaos of our lives.
Today, as we also navigate the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, the effects continue to reverberate in our lives. Many individuals are still grappling with the physical, mental, and emotional toll brought upon by the virus. The prolonged periods of isolation, uncertainty, and loss have left a profound impact on our well-being. One commonly heard challenge that lingers is the persistent brain fog, a feeling of mental cloudiness that affects our ability to concentrate, think clearly, and perform at our best. Additionally, the cacophony of noise amplified by social media and the demands of our current climate only add to the challenges we face. The seemingly endless stream of information and news, often conflicting or overwhelming, further adds to the mental exhaustion. Finding a moment of peace and respite from this overwhelming digital landscape has become increasingly challenging.
With these profound sentiments and acknowledging the unique challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, we introduce "Moroccan Haven" — an oasis away from the distractions of the modern world thoughtfully designed to offer colleagues, friends, and family an immersive Moroccan experience within a haven-like setting. We offer tantalizing Moroccan cuisine at no cost to you, but we understand that individual preferences vary, and so we have made food an optional feature, completely free of charge. The Moroccan Haven aims to provide an environment where individuals can find solace, regain clarity of thought, and rekindle their creative spirit. Nestled in the heart of the picturesque residential neighborhood of Churchill in Pittsburgh, our space seamlessly blends the warm hospitality of Morocco with the serenity of a safe refuge. Whether you seek a secure and serene sanctuary to complete a project, finalize the writing of a book or article, restore a sense of balance, or engage in invigorating brainstorming sessions away from the intense pace of daily life, Moroccan Haven is the perfect place for you. Upon request, we can also provide experienced writers who will guide and support you throughout your creative journey, ensuring accountability and empowering you to bring your projects to fruition in our diverse writing spaces.
We express our profound gratitude to colleagues, advisors, and mentors who have played an instrumental role in nurturing our passion for fostering spaces dedicated to creativity and reflection. This approach has indelibly influenced our pedagogical approach at the University of Pittsburgh. Notably, the integration of reflective writing has been a significant cornerstone within the courses we co-directed for a span of 17 years. Originally overseen by the collaboration of Dr. Soudi (Sociolinguist) and Dr. South-Paul (Family Medicine Physician), and presently led by Dr. Soudi and Dr. Conti (Family Medicine physician), the cultural competency course exemplifies our unwavering dedication to enriching and customizing the educational journey of our learners. the cultural competency course, for instance, has been a testament to our commitment to enhancing and personalizing our learners’ experiences. The invaluable guidance and profound insights shared by Dr. Higginbotham have magnificently illuminated the intrinsic worth of expanding Dialogistics services into this realm. Dr. Higginbotham’s insight has further enriched our understanding of the benefits that this approach brings to our communities. The Collaboration with Dr. Chang (Obgyn Physician) on Humanities in Health (HinH) has also underscored the significance of engaging in dialogue across disciplines and providing a safe space for our communities to pursue such opportunities.
Currently, Parent Company, Dialogistics, provides technique and methodology to guide this journey through the Moroccan Haven and we have had several success stories. For example, as the summer of 2023 began, Dr. Soudi approached Dr. Annette Vee, Director of Composition and Associate Professor, with an idea that had been simmering in his head since he launched Dialogistics in 2021 - to host diverse community members in a writing retreat format, and without a moment's hesitation, she and other dear colleagues at Pitt wholeheartedly embraced the proposal, firmly believing in its immense potential. Dr. Vee's extraordinary mentorship and well-structured guidance have been instrumental for mid-career writers at Pitt. The success and impact of our previous writing retreats, sponsored by the Writing Center at Pitt, have only reaffirmed the hidden potential of The Cultural Engagement Playbook and the genuine desire to continue hosting such transformative gatherings continuing the cherished tradition of Soudi's village, and honoring the legacy of his beloved parents whose remarkable love for bringing people together, unmatched warmth, mindfulness, and unparalleled hospitality have left an indelible mark on his heart.