A Quiet Presence


Walking through the market in Marrakech can be overwhelming. The smells of fresh leather (much different than when you walk into Wilson’s Leather in the US), cats running around and vendors calling you into their shops and asking if you want bags, shoes or a pretty necklace for a “romantic price”. At one point I am waiting for one of my friends to buy a leather wallet and am looking at the rest of the leather goods on the table. I get to the end of the table and look down, there is an elderly woman sitting on the ground selling beautifully embroidered napkins. I greet her with “salaam” she smiles up at me and replies with a “salaam alaikum”. She gestures at the napkins asking if I am interested in buying them. Unfortunately, I don’t really need napkins so I regretfully shake my head. Our interaction isn’t long and I don’t even know anything about her, but I will remember the smile and welcome she gave me in a crowded, overwhelming atmosphere.

Walking around the markets I didn’t notice the women sellers at first, you almost have to be looking for them. They were not normally the people coming up and trying to sell you their goods or welcoming you to Morocco. The ones I noticed were usually sitting quietly  on the ground waiting to be interacted with rather than ushering you to their goods. It is true that they have come a long way from when not so long ago there weren’t any women selling in the market. They are present, but their presence is different than the men’s.


One Response to “A Quiet Presence”

  1. Bobbi jo Says:

    I loved your concluding statement: “They (women) are present, but their presence is different than the men’s.”

    Not less, not more, but “different”. A valuable contribution. This is an important concept to embrace in life. I personally feel, as a woman, I don’t need to be in competition with men but to work side by side with each other embracing and respecting these differences.

    Bobbi jo

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