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Morocco, the other side of the coin

We go back to the same discussion…stereotypes, in other words a ridiculously simplified image or idea regarding a person, a country, etc. We all do it and we seldomly admit that we might be wrong. In order to find the true side of the story we have to go back to its routes, we have to experience, to see, to touch, to taste, to observe, to analyse and question our initial judgements. I came to Morocco with the idea that it might not be a very safe country, the first evening even having doubts about going out for dinner with all the reassurements given by Jose who comes to Morocco since 1999. All these images impregnated in my mind had the influence of other people, documentaries and movies…but how could I know the reality before experiencing it? Why do we have the tendency of creating all sorts of weird scenarios that make totally no sense? Information is vital, but wrong information is like a tumour that invades our brains. It is scary to share information when you realize the impact that it has on other people which is why one should use the information obtained from external sources as a guideline before seeing the world through YOUR own eyes.

Open your mind and embrace the differences.

Morocco is not just another grey sad country…instead, is full of color, warm people, kindness and calmness. The time is still, people are relaxed and they take their time to enjoy the small beauties of life…even in large cities such as Marrakech the spirit is the same…people are friendly and use their time wisely, talking to foreigners, being curious about their origins and destinations. Of course for most of them all this starts from the interest of needing to earn some quick money by offering their services such as guiding you through the city, providing taxi services or accommodation, you name it, any little thing that they help you with will in most cases be charged (even taking a photo with you). This does not mean that they have bad intentions, no, they are like this and if one wants to be accepted easier by this society, one must accept them first and find a comfortable way to respond to all this without judging or feel aggressed.

As we well know there are always exceptions and my eyes have been open by a young boy who wanted to help me reach Djemma El Fna in Marrakech and whose help I politely refused as I have done with all the 50 others received along the day. He kindly explained me that there is always the black and the white part in anything we encounter in our lives and not everyone wants something from you. He asked me if I considered for one moment that he might be genuine in his offer. I had my doubts so I replied that it is very difficult to make the difference when people’s approach is so similar (everyone uses the same approach “Excuse me, what’s your name? Where are you going? Don’t go that way cause there is nothing interesting to see, go this way because there is…bla bla monument that you can see” or “I am going there too, let me join you” and so on). His answer was: “Then you should just listen to your heart, it will know how to make the difference between good or bad!”. What???? A 20 year old boy (a law student I found out later) gave me the lesson of the day and he left me speechless. He took me to the entrance of the Plaza and then he vanished away in that small crowded street after a warm handshake. We should always keep in mind that a coin has two sides.

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