Before making their way to the bivouac for today’s prologue, the teams were invited to attend a special community event in Merzane, initiated by Cœur de Gazelles: the construction of a new classroom in the village school, which houses 130 students. Upon their arrival, the Gazelles are welcomed by gnaoua musicians and a glass of mint tea, not to mention a dose of hand sanitizer to ensure the safety of this shared moment.
The Gazelles enthusiastically join the musicians, singing and dancing with abandon before the eyes of the astonished and amused children. The ambiance is festive, but also emotional. Rachel of Team 190 (Rachel DAUPHIN / Yasmina CHEMAO), can hardly hold back her tears. “I’m so happy to be able to meet the local Moroccan people. We’ve been waiting for this day for a long time. It’s a bit of a crowning moment”, explains the Gazelle. “I’ve visited the region before, on vacation, and was able to see first-hand the results of the excellent work of Cœur de Gazelles”, remarks Yasmina, before adding: “It’s good that the Rallye isn’t just about the competition.”
“It’s just, wow! I’m so happy that I can’t find the words”, says Aziza of Team 149 (Aziza BZAZOU / Irène FOURNIER). “I don’t know the last time I was this happy. In any case, today I am proud to be Moroccan”, adds the Gazelle, very moved. A feeling that is shared by Stéphanie and Léa of Team 263 (Léa CAUSSE / Stéphanie CARAMICO). The two Goodyear employees have a special place at this inaugural day, because their company is a Cœur de Gazelles partner. “We’re the ones who initiated the sponsoring and partnership with Cœur de Gazelles so it’s a very important day for us”, explains Stéphanie, who adds: “It gives us a concrete idea of the help we give these children, and that’s not something we get to experience in our daily lives.” “It’s a bit of a shock to come here and meet these children. It’s very moving”, adds Léa.