So it turns out, the longer I’ve been in Morocco the less inclined I’ve been to write on this blog. Maybe it’s because things are no longer exciting and new. Life in Morocco doesn’t usually thrill me anymore in the way it did in those first few months and years, the way it would make me stop and stare and gape unabashedly.
I say usually because the other day I was riding in a shared taxi with a friend when a man on the side of the road flagged us down and proceeded to transport two of his goats in the trunk of the taxi. Don’t get me wrong: this isn’t my first experience travelling with animals — but as the taxi started again, and we could hear the bleats of the goats as we bumped along the road I couldn’t help but laugh. “This would never happen in America…” I thought, as I shook my head.
And so, as I begin my third year of service with the Peace Corps in Morocco I hope that I can begin sharing with you different parts of my life more frequently. The small interactions that make my day, the weird experiences that still catch me off guard, or the intricacies of working and living in a foreign country. If you have any questions or suggestions about things I should write about, please send me a message or leave a comment! I’m always eager to hear what people are curious to learn or read about!!
Here’s a post a shared on Facebook last week about how the presidential election in the United States is affecting conversations I have with community members and friends in Morocco.
As always, thanks for reading. xx
Last night I was chatting with my Moroccan baba. He had watched coverage of the Republican National Convention on TV and wanted to talk to me, his American daughter, about it.
He railed on about how Trump was a liar and recited some of Trump’s proposals from his speech that he thought were bogus as I nodded along and commented that no, even though Trump may have a lot of money he won’t be using any of that to the benefit of the American people.
At this point my 9-year-old sister Khaoula, who had been listening to our banter intently, interrupts us, wide-eyed and says:
“Abir, why does he lie?”
And I had no answer for her.
“Abir,” she continued, “if he is one of the choices for president of the United States why is he allowed to lie?”
And I had no answer for her.
“Abir, will you vote for that man?”
And I finally had an answer.
“Absolutely not,” I said firmly as I pulled her close to me and kissed the top of her head.
As an American living abroad I am forced to defend and explain things about my native country every day.
“Does it ever get cold in America?” “How many states does America have?” “Why do people hate President Obama?” “Have you seen the show ‘The Jersey Shore’?” These questions are easy to answer.
“Why do your police keep killing people?” “Why do so many people in America have guns?” “Is it safe to live in America?” Even these questions, though complicated, I can attempt to explain.
But when it comes to Donald Trump, I have NO answers. And I can’t explain.
“Why does your country accept a man like Trump?” “Why does Trump hate all Muslims?” “Why does Trump want to keep people like us out of America?” These are all real questions people have asked me.
As a Peace Corps Volunteer, it’s part of my job to serve as a goodwill ambassador for America to my community in Morocco every day. I teach my students, friends, and family, that America is a country of diversity, of acceptance, of tolerance, of freedom. A country that embraces you for who you are, no matter what.
And all of my words, my promises of peace, are negated every time Donald Trump opens his mouth and spews his racist, xenophobic, sexist, Islamaphobic, fat-shaming rhetoric and it is broadcasted into people’s homes throughout the world.
We must show the word that we are better than Donald Trump.
People the world over idealize America. Not because of what we are — because let’s be real, there is a lot of fixing we can and must do — but because of our ideals and of the promises of what we can be. A place where a woman is valued as equally as a man. Where you are free to practice (or not practice) the religion of your choice. Where you are free to love who you want to love. Where you can speak out if you don’t agree. Where the media isn’t controlled by the state. Where people of every color and creed are treated equally.
America, the world is watching. Let’s live up to these ideals we say we hold so dear. We can and we must do better than Trump.