Chapter 3: Morocco

When you think of Morocco, what comes to mind? Everyone has their inclinations. If you’ve seen movies or know a little about the country, you may feel like you have an idea. The three short days that I spent there, I realized two things: that everything I thought before was very wrong, and that I felt very displaced. Not an uncomfortable displacement, but one that made me feel small in the world. It changed my view on daily life, and on purpose. I saw people living daily lives that were polar opposites from my own. I can tell you that my experience in Africa was both enlightening and humbling.

Chefchaouen - the Blue Pearl, a popular and beautiful city in Morocco.
Chefchaouen – the Blue Pearl, a popular and beautiful city in Morocco.

I could sit and write about the exotic things that our tour group had us experience. I did get to ride camels. I did get to bargain with street vendors. I did get to experience their culture in unforgettable ways. But if I were to write a little touristy blog about “how cool” the beach was, I would have missed the deeper meaning of the entire trip.

Between the spices, the food, the music and landscape, Morocco will forever leave an impression on me; but it was the smallest of moments that left the most impact. I remember vividly driving down the countryside in a bus. There were sprawling mountains and lush green pastures with singular and lonely houses embedded into the side.

I could see a farmer and his mule hiking up a path, carrying something towards what appeared to be his house. A herd of sheep crossing slowed our bus to a stop. From there, I could sit and observe the old farmer. He slowly made his way up the mountain path, taking his time. Then he stopped for a minute and sat on a stump. He stared at the bus for a little while and then looked out towards the countryside, resting. I couldn’t take my eyes off this man. I couldn’t help but wonder his daily life. Everything he knows. Everything he doesn’t know. It fascinated me to try and put myself in his shoes, even if for a moment. It made me feel very small.

Maghrebi mint tea - a cultural staple in Morocco. Very hot and very sweet.
Maghrebi mint tea – a cultural staple in Morocco. Very hot and very sweet.

After a minute or two the bus continued on. While almost everyone else was on their phones or asleep, I was trying to take in every second of the view. During my three days in Morocco, it amazed me how most other students could spend most of their time taking pictures “For the Gram”, but never stopped and looked around at the diverse and unique culture. It was almost as if they were never there at all.

This weekend, and this entire semester so far has taught me a very important lesson: live in the moment. You’re only young once. You’re only in Spain once. You’re only in Morocco once. Why spend your entire time looking ahead at the future or looking down at your phone? The beauty to be seen is right here and now, and I refuse to miss any of it.

Here is a video of my weekend in Morocco!

Published by Andrew Schenkel

Class of 2021 CIEE Sevilla, Spain Business w/ minor in Economics, Spanish

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