Sunday October 23, 2016

Morocco Reflection Questions

By Alexandria Erin

Questions From Morocco

 

Question #1: What were your expectations vs. reality for Morocco and what you experienced?

 

First off I had a very difficult time thinking of Morocco as an African country. There was something about Morocco that felt like it was it’s own world and it’s own continent. Along with the feeling of it being its own entity not tied with other African cultures I also realized that the slums were also different than I had expected. I see these documentaries about slums and the people who live there and after going to being invited into a slum with a bunch of other SAS students where we were made tea and little snacks, I realized it was much different than I had ever imagined. There was even a TV in their living room. Another thing that I did not expect was that there was a lot of French influence and French was spoken as a main language. Lastly, the prayer aspect of Morocco was shocking to me. I expected religion to be very dominant but I had no idea that prayer was practiced so intensely by so many. It’s apart of their every day life and taken so seriously.

Question #2: How did your own race, ethnicity, nationality and gender influence you in Morocco? How was this different from Spain and on your ship?

 

When I was in Morocco people automatically knew I was not Moroccan. From there they were able to know I was American after I spoke. The Moroccan people wanted to touch me a lot and hug me. I believe this to not because I was a woman, but because I was different and because I was American. I noticed a huge difference between my friend who was Mexican and I in how we were treated. I also took into consideration that he was a male Mexican man and I was a white American woman. They treated him with more respect and as if he were one of them and then I got treated better when I was with him than I had when I was not with him. I found it interesting how much dominance men had even on the streets and in the market. Women were mostly seen behind the scenes on the inside of the store while men were on the outside attempting to sell. Another cultural difference was that women and men who cleaned the public bathrooms, especially in the train station, came in even if you were a woman using the bathroom men still came in to clean it and never said anything. I also saw this twice in Spain while I was using the bathroom of the public restrooms in our port bathroom and the restroom of Burger King.  Lastly, in Morocco the people had a common theme when it came to looks. I contrasted this with America where we have such a diversity in the people we have all over the place that not one group necessarily looks the same, but we are surrounded by many different cultures through out our country.

Question #3: What emotions did you experience and what role did these emotions play in your experience in Morocco?

 

Morocco was the point where honestly I started feeling like I was ready to go back to America. It made me feel as though I was torn between wanting to be in the comfort of what I knew and exploring more of the world. It wasn’t Morocco specifically that made me feel this way, it was more of the exhaustion and fatigue I have experienced on this voyage thus far in having to be in an unknown place figuring it out. It’s fun in a way and then in another way it’s extremely taxing on my mind and even my body as I am constantly making sure I’m adhering to looking after my stuff in order to not be stolen and respecting and not violating anything in someone else’s culture. In Morocco specifically I did feel as though it was the first time I had his some essence of culture shock. It was much more foreign than Europe and I was forced to understand more of what I did not understand. At first this was taxing and then I allowed myself to delve in and my experiences became some of my favorites thus far. I began to fall in love with Morocco. My feelings of exhaustion were made better by the experiences of allowing myself to be at peace. This took a lot of time, of which I didn’t have but found, and patience. Now I cannot wait to return to Morocco, knowing there is so much more to experience and to fall in love with!

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