Following the devastating earthquake in the Central Atlas Mountains of Morocco, the Australian Relief Organization (ARO) swiftly launched a relief campaign, garnering support from various sectors, including schools, foundations, mosques, and dedicated volunteers. Now, the focus was on translating this support into tangible assistance.

Our journey in Morocco com menced with an inspiring individual, Abdul Alee, a 77-year-old whose unwavering commitment became our guiding light in delivering earthquake relief. Despite his age, Alee radiated vitality, dedicating the twilight of his life to a higher purpose. Leading the collaborative effort with our organization, he reassured us, “Don’t be concerned about my age; I’m here to stand by you throughout this entire mission.”

As we embarked on our journey, the aftermath of the earthquake unfolded before us: collapsed houses, makeshift tent settlements, and displaced families. Children along the way greeted us warmly, their innocence and joy palpable as they raced alongside our vehicle.

Navigating challenging terrain, where narrow dirt roads wound through the mountains, tested our mettle with the risk of falling rocks and treacherous cliff edges. Villages perched on peaks, constructed with stacked stones, seemed to defy gravity, highlighting the formidable challenges faced by these communities, including no flat land for cultivation and limited access to education.

After a hard and perilous five-hour journey, we reached the designated village for our relief efforts, recognizing that it was just one of many in dire need. The local guide informed us that aid was also dispatched to other similarly affected villages, as the country’s resources could only reach a portion of those in need. Despite their circumstances, the villagers welcomed us with warmth and gratitude, insisting on offering hospitality.

The distribution of essential aid materials, including mattresses, blankets, shoes, solar panels for tents, and food supplies, brought solace to these families amid their losses. Witnessing their resilience and gratitude was heartening.

As night descended, we experienced life in the village, where darkness enveloped the community, and a few lamps provided the only illumination. Men gathered in tents, while women took refuge in undamaged parts of their houses.

We learned that the villagers depended on the occasional income their husbands earned in the city, as their land was unsuitable for agriculture and water was scarce. Meeting women who had lost their husbands and were struggling to make ends meet left us deeply moved. The gratitude transcended language barriers.

After spending a challenging night in tents, we contemplated the approaching winter and how these resilient people would cope in such conditions.

In these two days, the village’s resilience and capacity for gratitude in the face of adversity profoundly touched us. We were reminded of the significance of extending our help beyond our immediate circles.

In conclusion, we express gratitude to ARO’s volunteers, individuals, and donors who made this mission possible, and we pray for the continued well-being of these remarkable, generous people.