While serving in Morocco, I have learned about some essential components that any human being needs to thrive. In addition to having a sense of control over one’s daily activities and feeling a sense of purpose, feeling connected and a part of a community is of the upmost importance. We are energetic beings and need the positive energy of others to keep us motivated and fulfilled.
If it weren’t for the connections I have made with Moroccan families in my community, I don’t think I would have had the strength to continue my service. Life in Peace Corps is extremely lonely. However, the warmth I have received from Moroccans has helped mitigate some of the negative aspects of isolation.
I spend a lot of time with one particular family. The mother’s name is Aziza, whom I consider a mother to me in Tissint. She is calm, caring, and motherly. I have never heard her yell or get angry. She parents with love, and it is beautiful to watch. Then there are three girls, Baya, 16, the oldest, Fatima, 14, Selawa, 9, and one boy Unis, 12. Baya is always busy cooking, cleaning, and helping her mom with daily chores. She is the quietest of the three girls, has a warm smile, and a curious nature. Fatima loves to learn, especially English, and go on adventures. One of my favorite memories with her is when we took the bus to the bigger city, Tata, about an hour north of Tissint. Together, we shopped, walked around, and we were even invited to share a meal with a Moroccan family we met that day. Then there is Selawa. She is one of the funniest girls I have ever met. If she were to come to the USA, she could easily be cast in her own comedy show. She has a star quality about her and a sense of humor that brightens anyone’s day. Unis has been deaf and barely able to speak since he was young. However, this does not stop him from living his life to the fullest. He is expressive, energetic, and loves to help. He is kind, gentle, and trustworthy. He loves to walk Haven and help me with my chores. We often go on walks and share the peaceful nature of our community.
I truly felt like one of them the other day. It was a beautiful morning, and we walked 30 minutes out into the palmery. Here we collected palm tree leaves, which are used for baking bread and creating roofs over open spaces in homes. We collected them into four bundles. Then we each hoisted one bundle onto the tops of our heads and made the journey back home. The image of me walking alongside them with a bundle of palm tree leaves on my head is a memory that I will never forget.
They call me their sister and I call them my sisters and my brother. It is as if they have adopted me. They come by daily to check up on me. The door is always open for me to go and drink tea, share a meal, or even sleep at their house if I am feeling particularly scared or lonely. I am not sure how I can ever thank them enough for how they have impacted not only my service, but my life. Through them I have seen the goodness of humanity. They have become my family here and will continue to be long after I return home.
Love to all the Moroccans who have welcomed Americans into their homes!