Summer Camp Experiences: Houssam Boudaghya

"I am a different writer thanks to the Olive Writers’ camp"


It isn’t fair. Why do things like distance exist? Is it because we don't deserve to always be happy? I struggle with this a lot. Distance is a wall that letters and phone calls can never penetrate. I had to leave The Olive Writers' camp after only a week. I was heartbroken to part from all the people, the lessons, and the feelings but the good news is that the camp will stay with me forever protected in a corner of my heart.

Wherever I go, I leave a piece of my soul. This week I left a piece of my heart shattered in Casablanca. I never thought I needed a community or a space where I felt like I belonged. It was strange to find a place so magical, I could swear it was made for me. I am not a fool. I know when I need to let go and this time I want to hold tight. I can feel the bond stretching from my heart attached to each person I had the honor to meet. In the camp, I met with amazing writers. I felt so small because of all their genius creativity but the love they have given me made me feel so great. The camp went on for a week. I can't explain why it went by so fast, but I remember that it was so difficult for me to end each of its days. At night, I would think of all the passion, the talent, and the beauty that surrounded me. I would close my eyes and ignore my heart which never ceased to want more. The guest speakers were outstanding and our instructor made sure to pave a road for us to walk as writers. He showed us how to mine all the gold we didn't know we had inside. The team of the program made us feel at home. I cannot speak in somebody else's place but for me, throughout the week, it felt like all of Haitham, Hiba, Kenza, Mohamed, Sara, and Younes were my older siblings taking care of me. The next best thing to all these wonders was the diversity. I met with people from all around Morocco. I learned about places I never knew before. I was exposed to new dialects and accents. We all came from different backgrounds but we were equal. Our ages varied from 18 to 25 but in the camp, we were all the same age. Besides the emotional and formidable experience, now I feel like I have emerged as a new person. I do not simply write better than I did before the camp, I have become a different writer. I do not recognize my writing anymore and this is the most fascinating thing about the camp.

I encourage young writers around Morocco to apply for the Olive Writers’ camp. If there is one thing all the participants agree about it would be that this experience is life-changing. I am not going to lie, I had doubts. I wasn't sure it was worth it, but once I was there, I couldn't stop thinking: how can something as great as this be created from scratch. It all goes to the mastermind Mohamed El Wahabi. I would like to thank him for believing in us, fighting for us, and the ones yet to come. I understand it must have been challenging teaching us, all the participants, how to write and express ourselves without limits, but to give us hope, now that is one thing I am still learning to understand how it was done. For now, I will put all the hope into work and write like I am running out of time.


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