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Monday, March 15, 2010

A Sunday Update on the Moroccan Orphans

Overlooked in the midst of the Moroccan government’s widespread enforcement of its “non-proselytizing laws and consequent expulsion of Christian aid workers is the story of how these foreign aid workers live side by side with local Moroccan citizens, and how all parties have learned to form lasting bonds of community, friendship, trust and respect.

Over the last fifty years, the American aid workers running The Children’s Haven Orphanage in Azrou and the Moroccans living in that area have formed social relationships that have become the anchors and staples of their everyday lives. The American aid workers have, for decades, given their medical supplies and personal assistance freely to the locals, and the Moroccans, in turn, have come to know they can trust and rely upon the aid workers.

As such, the government’s current threat to deport the American aid workers from The Children’s Haven is a threat to the local community as well. Just as the confidence and security of the aid workers in calling Morocco their home, and in being parents and family to the orphans they care for, have been shattered, the security of the Moroccan locals has been shattered too.

Prior to the government’s recent expulsion of Christian foreign aid workers in general, and from a neighboring orphanage in specific, the Azrou locals didn’t question how their medical and community needs would be met. They had their answers in the long established traditions of turning to the American aid workers. The orphanage workers are available to help the locals in any way they can, seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. And the villagers know to depend on the orphanage and seek its help.

But with the government’s recent practices of expelling Christian aid workers, such as those who ran the Village of Hope Orphanage, the welfare of local Moroccan citizens is just as uncertain as the welfare of the children living at the Haven. This is why area villagers joined together and prayed at the Mosque last Friday, for the protection and safety of their local orphanage. And they continue to pray.

Local citizens are literally knocking on the orphanage’s doors to express their support and to say they are standing by the orphanage. As one of the villagers stated in recent days, since the Haven has come under investigation, “That [The Haven] is the light of the village. You kick those people out and the light goes out.”

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