One of the perks of being in the AIFS program is that all students get one week off from school to travel. I decided to go to Casablanca, Morocco for four days. People might be wondering what inspired me to visit Morocco? I am a student at one of the best historically black colleges in the United States, Howard University. This is where I have learned about Black Studies, Black identity, African studies and American studies. For me Africa is known as the ‘Motherland;’ it is the birthplace of all human life. Normally, when we think of Africa we think of poverty and wild animals because of an ignorance of how complex and diverse Africa is. I can say that I was shocked at the fact that the flight from Nice to Casablanca was only about two hours. I stayed with a friend in Casablanca who is a professional basketball player there. I had the time of my life. It was a little difficult to communicate because the first language in Morocco is Arabic followed by French. But, I would like to give myself a pat on the back because I communicated in French in a foreign country for four days.
I had the pleasure of visiting monuments such as the Hassan II Mosque, Venezia Ice, and many more cafes and restaurants. One thing that was a true shock for me was the fact that the women typically are covered at all times. I had on a tank top and the men asked me to use my scarf to cover my arms in order to enter into certain places. It is also normal to engage in prayer more than once a day and there are different places for men and women to pray. Everything is cheap in Morocco. One euro is equal to eleven Moroccan Dirhams. I ate seafood pasta, pizza, chicken, mint tea, ice cream, and coffee. I also had the possibility to go to and get my nails and feet done. It only cost me about 100 dirhims to get my nails done which is only about ten euros! If I could suggest a place to eat I would suggest that everyone visit Venezia Ice in Casablanca. I ordered a cappuccino and the server fixed it with an intricate face on the top. This was the most creative artwork that I have ever seen with ice cream and coffee!
What did I learn while in Casablanca? I learned that not everyone in Africa is black or has dark skin. I also learned that life can be lived in a simple manner. I did not see children with tablets, gameboys, or anything that takes up most of our time. I also learned that the best way to have an opinion about something or someone is to have a personal experience. I can say that most of the stereotypes that I’ve had about Africa are no longer there. The only animals running wild are cats in the street. There are cars and local apartments. There is no such thing as ebola in Casablanca. Most importantly, it is important to recognize Africa as the diverse continent that it is. Just because something is normal in one country does not make it applicable throughout the entire continent. Also, Casablanca is not as dangerous as people may make it out to be. So , I guess you can say that the Motherland was welcoming and an unforgettable experience for me. I spent alot of money getting to and from Morocco, but I am glad that I made the decision to experience a portion of Africa for myself.