This trip to Morocco is the most life changing trip I’ve ever been on. I will be sharing pictures of what I got to see and do throughout the trip, but I’m not going to talk about it. I had originally started writing this blog post thinking I was going to share all those details, but then I realized, no, that’s not what I want to talk about. Not only would that be a really long read, but it would be boring, too. So I’ve decided that I’m going to talk about how this trip changed my perspective on the world. How it changed my perspective on life. How it change my perspective of me.
I hate to admit this, but before this trip, I didn’t have a very positive idea of what Morocco was like. I was proven wrong right away. Morocco has one of the most amazing and interesting cultures I’ve ever experienced. While the streets are a bit dirty, the cities and villages are quite beautiful. There are so many different colors and buildings, I just loved sitting back and looking at how pretty everything was. And the food. Oh. My. God. It is some of the best food I have ever tasted, especially the food that I had prepared by my homestay family (I wanted to respect their privacy, so I don’t have any pictures of or with them, but they were wonderful and I hope to stay in touch with them). I got to eat olives, which are a delicacy in Morocco and amazing, with chicken and bread, couscous, Moroccan soup, and A LOT of tea. The women in Morocco are not as oppressed as I thought they would be. In the bigger cities, it is more likely to see women and girls not wearing hijabs because they are given a choice, but that does not mean that they are not Muslim (that is a common misconception). Young women (like one of my homestay sisters) are studying at university to become lawyers and doctors, and can speak up to five languages. Morocco is considered the most progressive Islamic country because of this.
One thing that really stuck with me from this trip was when we (the CIEE students) were talking to some university students and we asked them what they thought of the Muslim ban that Trump had put into place. The students said to us that they were sad, not angry, which is not really the answer I had expected. One of the students went on to explain the idea of the “American Dream,” where you go to this amazing country, built by immigrants from all over the world, and you have all this freedom to build the best life for yourself. But now that dream is dead. Dead. I was crushed when I heard him say that. I had been blinded by how this presidency could affect me that I didn’t even see how it was affecting millions, maybe even billions of people all over the world, from being able to achieve a dream that is no longer even possible to consider, let alone actually go through with it. Muslims, at least from what I’ve heard, are considered close minded and unfriendly people. That is anything but true. Every person we met, including strangers, were some of the most friendly and welcoming people I’ve ever met. The key word here is welcoming. They embraced us with open arms, without hesitation, and taught us about their culture, showed us what it’s really like to live in Morocco.
While living in Morocco is not perfect, it’s not complicated. We are taught, in western culture, that money and stuff will make you happy, but that is clearly not true. There are so many people out there who have everything in the world, and they aren’t happy. That was one thing I noticed in Morocco. Even though my homestay family didn’t have a lot, they were all happy. Life isn’t about stuff, it’s about the people you are with and the choices you decide to make with and in your life. It’s that simple. But then again, I am privileged enough to say this, considering I’ve been given pretty much everything I‘ve ever asked for. I can say this because I have a choice to not buy everything I wanted, those people in Morocco don’t necessarily have that choice.
Since the end of the trip, I have noticed a few things about myself. I am very calm, zen I guess. I am learning more and more to appreciate everything I’ve been given, especially my education, and to not take advantage of it. But I’m also very angry. I’m more angry at the world than ever, specifically the U.S. I’m at a breaking point. I don’t want to think about negative people or energy in my life, but I also don’t want to ignore what is happening in the world and I want to fight for the people who can’t themselves.