Dear Wellesley: Our 2019 Summer Postcard Series Begins with Mika Thakkar ’21 and Anna Morgan ’21 Writing from Morocco
In the first installment of our 2019 Summer Postcard Series, Mika Thakkar ’21 and Anna Morgan ’21 write from Marrakech, Morocco, where they are interning at the Fondation Jardin Majorelle in the Yves Saint Laurent Museum as part of Wellesley Career Education’s Global Citizenship Program. Experience their journey through the Wellesley College Instagram account.
Hello from Marrakech! It’s Anna and Mika, writing to you from one of the most exciting cities in Morocco. We have spent the past five weeks working at the Fondation Jardin Majorelle in the Yves Saint Laurent Museum, helping catalogue new books and translate the existing catalogue from French to English. Most of the books in the library were donated by Pierre Bergé, co-founder of the fashion house Yves Saint Laurent, who died in 2017, and his husband, Madison Cox (whom we recently had the chance to meet).
When we first arrived in Marrakech, it was the final weeks of Ramadan. Ramadan involves fasting from sunrise to sunset, so the city becomes a much quieter place. Once Ramadan ended, Marrakech transformed into the vibrant and bustling city that many know it for.
We live in the newer part of the city, built by the French during the Protectorate period. Our host is one of the conservationists at the museum, and because of that, we get to hear a lot about the projects the museum is working on and are able to get a behind-the-scenes look into the creative processes behind the permanent and temporary exhibits. Our third week here, we were invited to the opening of this season’s temporary exhibit, a beautiful homage to the Amazigh women’s craft, which showcased their rugs composed of intricate yet rustic designs. We had an absolute blast at the opening, and met a lot of fellow art aficionados, as well as many of the people who worked so hard to bring the exhibit to life.
Our library work allows us to interact with a multitude of subjects that we would otherwise not have been exposed to and has opened our eyes to a wide variety of topics that our majors may not cover (Mika is studying international relations-history, and Anna is an American studies major). For example, this week we are cataloguing books about European gardens—which, though obscure, actually have a very prominent place in both politics and culture.
When we are not working, we love to explore the older part of the city (the Medina), where the souks are located (a traditional marketplace with many vendors and narrow, twisting streets). This past weekend, we visited the Secret Garden in the Medina and spent a beautiful afternoon learning about traditional Islamic gardens and drinking lemon soda (Schweppes Limon, which we drink more than water). In addition to exploring Marrakech, we have visited Casablanca and are heading to Madrid this coming weekend!
Though we are learning so much about the French Protectorate, Moroccan history and culture, high fashion, and the art of landscaping, we have truly been educated in the art of coping with 106-degree weather every day without air conditioning. Needless to say, we will come back with glowing tans, as well as much personal and academic growth!
Anna and Mika