Another morning and I find myself awake again prior to the yammering of my alarm clock. This time I don’t reach for a book but what lies within the recess of my mind. What nugget of my life can I mine for today’s Slice of Life writing challenge? Morocco calls.
Morocco was another lifetime ago. It left me with the indelible memory of the generosity of strangers and the wisdom that as a person living in a First World country I have untold privileges, wealth, and opportunities. This gravitas was not lost on me, a penniless student.
In my final year of my undergraduate degree of International Relations at UBC I saw a poster that had me stop dead in my tracks: a backdrop of Morocco overwritten with an invitation to apply for a international summer seminar in under development. I knew in that moment that I needed to be there.
And I went – as if propelled from the sheer force from my soul. Needless of the hurdles to accomplish: demonstrating my proficiency en français, stiff competition from across the country, and a commitment to fundraise $2000 towards the costs. I became adept at grant writing.
I spent five weeks in Morocco. First and foremost it taught me how important travel is to expand our notion of community. We are more than a member of our city, town, or country but a global community of humans who have far more in common than not.
Recalling Morocco brings back a mirage of sights, sounds, and taste:
Blue, blue skies.
Refreshing thé a la menthe
A breakfast par none: freshly baked baguette with anise scented apricot jam, just squeezed orange juice, café au lait
The haunting call to mosque
The presence of King Hussein, in the form of a very large photo, in all public and private locales
The rich red of the earth beneath and within the walls of Marrakech
The splendor of the Atlas Mountains
The magic of a souk
And the heart of warm welcoming people
I hope every young person gets the opportunity to travel, open their heart, and become a global citizen. The world is a better place when we fill it with understanding, compassion, and love.