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Maria Morava

Maria is passionate about cultivating empathy in unlikely places. She finds great hope in the prospects of empowering women, providing education worldwide, and celebrating brave vulnerability along the way. Her interests lie in several mediums: theatre, dance, music, and writing - and her goals this year include molding her craft to fit innovative purposes geared towards social change. She also hopes to achieve fluency in Senegal's native language, immersing herself completely in the culture and dynamic of the community. Maria is thrilled to be exploring her passions in a global context. She holds to the words of T.S Eliot as she embarks on this journey: "We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time."


From the Wide Open Place

May 5, 2016

The first thing I noticed when I returned were the trees. We rode in a bus through the Redwoods, my heart leaping anxiously every time I forgot we were in a vehicle, which was often (there were no bumps on this road). It was curvy, and with every turn I was irrationally convinced we would...

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Better Now

February 20, 2016

Abdou Ghey’s big voice called out to me, almost home from a too-long vacation, tired and aching. “You’re Senegalese now!” He shouted, as I settled from the initial boom of his voice. “Your hips are -” and he gestured with his hands widely from the sides of his body. The crowd of people outside the...

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A Letter to My Host Mom

December 7, 2015

 To my host mom who only speaks Wolof – a language I don’t yet. Here are some things I wanted to say in those early days spent in silence. Sama yaay, I still don’t know what to call you. Even beginning this letter I’m not sure how to address it. In my time here you...

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To the Girl in O’Hare

November 16, 2015

Two months ago I stood small in O’Hare International Airport. In a layover on my way to San Francisco, I had a sandwich and congratulated myself on surviving my first plane ride. I had unceremoniously began my year of firsts: just two months shy of graduating from my small high school in my small town,...

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A Glimpse of Home

September 11, 2015

The sun was kind today. Making the commute to our afternoon session, I realize a few new assets to my intuition: knowing when to cross the street, how to greet the people I pass, where to find the mango man. As I enter the office I feel air conditioning evaporate the sweat on my face...

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Smiles and Salt and Color

September 7, 2015

I’m still getting used to the smell. A few weeks ago a girl in my cohort explained it to me: “It’s like stepping into another world. It looks different, it smells different, it tastes different.” She’s right. The air here is salt and animals and heat, and everytime I step outside my house it grabs...

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Veins of the World

August 25, 2015

As I awoke from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, I felt sobered and new. Giving into the dark interstate, I began to grieve the last performance I would likely be a part of for at least a year. Please know I’m not under any illusion that a year is some great lapse of time – it...

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