Meknes

by

The hospitality that I received in Meknes was unlike any other. The first day we met Mouhsin he took us on a small tour of the city. As soon as we took our first step out of the hotel with him. A small, orange, and white cat, one that would reside outside on the hotels rug, greeted us. He would constantly be chased out by the staff who worked there and we were unable to pet or touch any of the animals, which put a strain on my heart. We walked around the corner and were introduced to small grocery stores and a smoothie shop, it would become a place where my friends and I frequented often. He walked fast, and spoke loud for all of us to hear. We would move to one side of the walkway to stay out of everyone’s way, yet as hard as we tried, our efforts were futile. Mouhsin would often put his arm around someone and spark up conversation, he would smile and ask questions like, “how do you like my city? It’s beautiful isn’t it?”. He was proud of where he was from, and who were we to blame him. The city was alive and well, as were the people who lived there. We all struggled to keep up with the man who seemed as though he sprinted for a living, Luckily it was nighttime and we weren’t all dripping sweat in struggles to catch up with him. At first I found it odd that one person would touch another while engaging in conversation, but as my affection grew for Meknes, I realized that it was the way they communicated. It wasn’t just verbally, but physically. Before we knew it we were back at the hotel after a brief tour of the town. He smiled and we headed off to sleep. That next week I learned all about how people in Morocco talked, how friendly they were and how relaxed they made everyone feel. Meeting with everyone who was associated with ISA was wonderful; they made me feel like I was part of their family. Each and everyone of them were concerned about our safety and how we felt, and if one of us wanted to head home early, one of them would volunteer to walk us back to the hotel just to make sure we were ok.

It was refreshing to know that there were really great people in the world, people who gave and didn’t expect anything in return. That is what I figured out I should focus on more, being good to others and not expecting a reward or some kind of compliment. I can only hope to have their welcoming spirit for those who come to visit my country, instead of looking at them through a filtered lens like many normally do. By the time I left Meknes I felt as though I belonged there, and I didn’t want to leave. I had made so many friends that it was difficult for me to leave to Madrid. There is no other city like Meknes, and I know that one day I will return.

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