Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Impressions of a Kid about Morocco

I could have lifted him in the air and hugged him so tight, squeezing all the air from his lungs until he squeaked, when I heard his answer. I had asked, “What were your impressions of Morocco?”

Slowly and thoughtfully he answered. He thought that it was very, very different than the European countries he had recently visited. He referred to the clothing; with many women in the traditional covers and some men in the long white tunics. He said that some parts of town could have looked like Europe or the US, except even the smells were strange and different and the language was so different no words were recognizable, not to mention the fact that five times a day, the sound of methodical singing seems to blanket the city from the top of all Mosques during the call to prayer. And then there was what was hard to look at---it was inescapable to not notice the poor all around you.

And then he said what you wish every kid, let alone adults, in the states would say: “I think I’ve taken A LOT for granted living in America.”

There it was; the results of the power of travel and its ability to give new understanding, first hand, of different cultures. It is the bridge that helps bring about tolerance. The link to knowing we are all people, trying to survive, have families, friends, jobs, religion…

And then I asked, “What did you think of all the kids in the street playing soccer?”

“I felt sad for them. I’m not sure if they go to school.”

“But did you notice something about them playing with their friends?” I continued.

“They were happy. They were having fun,” he finished.

Exactly. They had happiness in their life despite the terrible conditions of the street, the dirty, worn soccer ball and the ratty clothing. If you closed your eyes and listened only to the laughter, it could have been anywhere. But it was in fact, right outside of what looked like a shanty town in Casablanca and only blocks from the beautiful mosque.

I wonder about all the American aide that goes out around the world and how exactly it helps. I wonder if we improve the conditions of kids on the street or the conditions of their governments. Because perhaps, like I saw in the human rights movie in South Africa (Post 10/10/10). Perhaps we should ask the people first what it is that would improve their lives before we decide for them. And maybe the answer might be to help them fix the holes in the street and then maybe, a new soccer ball to play with after attending a good school.

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