Whatever Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger

Morocco is where I have had to trust my gut more than anywhere else. There are so many potentially dangerous but also potentially awesome experiences to be had here. Moroccans are among the friendliest people I’ve met on earth but sometimes it’s hard to discern good intentions from bad from the getgo. After Tangier, I got kind of down about people and felt like I didn’t have the good judgement I thought I did. But I’m also sort of grateful for the experience for teaching me a little…whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? I’ve found here that there is a clear distinction between a tourist and a human being, if you will, and really we are all just humans, not tourists, or hasslers, or walking ATMS, or pickpockets, as “American”, or “Moroccan,  or good guys or bad guys.

Yeah, I’ve had to toughen up a bit here. It’s hard for a girl and locals and travelers alike often can’t believe I’m here alone. But it’s transforming into a one of the most important experiences of this trip and I am getting schooled big time.

Some things people said to me when I was traveling through the minute villages in the Draa Village:

“When you told me where you had been in the past months I was surprised you weren’t dead already.” -John, American traveler

“Don’t be scared!” (when I told Mohammed, a local villager in Todra, that I was scared to walk the narrow path between the unlit gorges at midnight) “Scared is Japanese. You are Chinese! Be like a Chinese! Be Strong!” I liked this.

“Why don’t you fill your water from the spring instead of the tap?” Said Hassan.

“I’m too lazy.”

“You are a girl traveling alone in Morocco. You are not lazy.” I liked this too. But I was still too lazy to go the spring to fill my water when the tap was right there.

I wrote a bunch more, about how I am getting by, how its slowly getting easier, and how I am soaking up the language, the culture, the people of Morocco. I was eager to share all those thoughts at first, but now I find it kind of irrelevant, maybe because I feel comfortable with the customs and the crazinesss of all this madcap business around me. The harassment doesnt even annoy me anymore. If anything I find it comical, predictable and a bit pityable. A few times I have even turned harassers into friends with a few words of Arabic (before I try to inconspicuously switch to French since I cant get past basic conversation in Arabic). So yadda yadda, if I were near a computer when all this stuff was going on in my head, you would have to hear about it all. But instead, you had to hear about all the other things I was thinking about when I wrote this.

Mosque architecture in the Draa Valley village of Ait Ider

Mosque architecture in the Draa Valley village of Ait Ider

Berber shepherd

Berber shepherd


~ by ceciliabien on October 10, 2009.

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