I think it would be safe to say that even after two days in Marrakech I am not the same person I was when I left. I am already a stronger person; and having this trip come at the end of my time abroad and experiencing life in a developing culture, has changed me.
I came to Marrakech without much knowledge or expectations. Honestly though, no amount of articles or Trip Advisor posts could have prepared me for the reality of what I would see. Marrakech, despite being a tourist destination and a major city, is still in a developing country and the poverty you witness proves that. I think that was the hardest part to stomach. Even the poverty in Paris could not prepare me for the quality of life in Marrakech. And learning about the lack of concern for women’s issues was especially disheartening.
As a woman, you should never travel to Marrakech alone. I was thankful to have two friends in the Peace Corps to show me and my two female friends around and essentially protect us. It is amazing the comments that would be said to us simply because we were white, women, and not fully covered. I had never felt more uncomfortable in my own skin before. What it taught me though is to understand the differences between cultures. I was not in America or Paris and I could not expect to be treated as equal. But understanding the gender inequality in Marrakech can also help you change it. Which is exactly what the Peace Corps volunteers in Morocco have been doing.
The poverty and the quality of life I experienced there changed me. Spending time with two men who live, work and battle the cultural differences daily, changed me. The amount of strength and empathy I witnessed while being with Sam and Kyle blew me away. In two days I had more eye opening experiences than my entire life and I can’t even begin to catalogue them. How can someone truly describe a life changing experience? How do you put something into words that shook you to your core? It was something that had to be lived and no words could ever do it justice.
I am stronger than I have ever been. I am growing more and more into the person I have always wanted to be, and it is my experience abroad and my experience in Morocco that I have to thank. I greatly appreciate Sam and Kyle for giving me this experience and welcoming me so completely into their lives. I really don’t have the words to explain my feelings. I am having a multitude of them. All I can say, is if you have the opportunity, and you go with a guide, you’d be amazed how life changing of an experience you will have.
I am who I am because of the experiences I have had.