I had a dream two years ago. I was inspired in my dream to go to Morocco. I looked into going last summer, but we had plumbing problems that needed to be addressed. I had planned on going to Morocco, and stopping off in Turkey on my way home. I had dates selected for the tour. But, I didn’t go.
The day that I would have flown home via Turkey, if I had gone, was the same day that the Turkey airport was bombed.
I have had way too many instances where I have been guided away from horrible things to not believe that we have a purpose here in life.
So I believe that there is a reason as to why I needed to travel to Morocco. I was guided to select Youssef and his family, out of 50 people wanting to host us. Guided to cancel the Airbnb and remain in Casablanca, even though a great many discouraged us from doing so.
Tour books can be full of baloney. In preparation for this trip, I did A Lot of reading. I read about customs. “Don’t make a fuss over the children of the family if invited into their home. Being affectionate is not what is the acceptable norm in Muslim Moroccan families.”
“Be careful and on guard if salesman try to invite you into their shop. Avoid people wanting to speak English with you under the pretense of ‘practicing’ their language skills.”
“Avoid conversations with men in Morocco. They are trying to marry you to obtain a green card.”
And this is just a little bit of what I have read, heard about from books, blogs, websites, friends of friends.
And if I had followed all this advice, Abby and I wouldn’t have met the wonderful people that we have.
While shopping/walking in the streets, we have stopped and talked with the men who have called to us.
Omar, age 26, and his uncle, Mohammed are perfect examples of whom to avoid based on the tour books. We, however, found them to be delightful as we engaged in meaningful conversation. Omar told us of his desire to be a teacher, but due to government regulations, he can not attain this goal even though he has a university degree. He went to Spain to work as an accountant. But while there, the company presented him with a contract that wasn’t what was promised to him prior to arriving. Many people had signed, not knowing the contents. They were taken advantage of due to lack of language. The contract was to keep them there for 2 years. He didn’t sign, because the company wasn’t going to compensate him as much as they had promised. “They treated us like slaves. A lot of work for little money.” So he came back to work in the shop until he was ready to go out again… but that he had come home discouraged because so many in his family, himself included, had expectations of him. Every week, he travels back to his home town to check on his brothers and his 80 yr old dad.
His uncle, whose English was very good, told us his English teacher had lived in Massachusetts. Oh what a story he told about him and her and his family during the 70’s. She was his love during this time. Such a twinkling in his eyes as he spoke of her. He told us lots of philosophy talk. And Omar told me, that what I told him is the same thing that his uncle told him.
We sat, drank mint tea, conversed on a wide variety of subjects as other local people say besides us listening and watching.
It was beautiful.
We next ran into Abdullaha, 25 years old. We had met him the previous night in the town square as he was selling used items. We took the time to talk. He wanted to practice English skills.
Then today, we ran into him again. And this time, he took us to the park and we sat and talked. He and Abby conversed in Spanish and English. We heard his stories, his family stories, life stories. He asked lots of questions that had been on his mind, but had no one to ask them of until now. We talked of how boy/girls have relationships in States vs Morocco. Alcohol use, religion-Did we believe in a God? Marriage, driving cars, tattoos, music, education vs working…it was a good conversation that ended, because he needed to go pray.
Once again, local people were observing our interaction with interest.
Our conversations with both sets today, told about how tourists come and treat them… like nothing… not like human beings, but that we were different. Moroccans enjoyed sharing with others and are friendly people. They enjoy getting to know about others outside their country.
We traded contact information and will continue to correspond.