Life Beyond the Walls

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received_10205769501895889As I looked up, all I could see were giant white walls. Walls that looked like they could reach up to the heavens. Walls that were built on ancient foundation, containing secrets, stories, and history from hundreds and hundreds of years past. From the outside, the Medina of Tangier looked mysterious; a new, unknown area and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. As we entered into the cobblestone pathway within the thick white walls,received_10205769516856263 life was evident all around us. This sacred, remembered place remains how it has always been – a place of dwelling, a place for living.

We casually hiked up the narrow street, with wide eyes and curious hearts, taking in the precise handmade detail on the walls, doors, and rooftops all around us. Bakeries, fruit stands, and art shops occupy the streets on either side of us, women join together in the middle of the road to wash clothes in a large bucket, and children run around playing with one another. The street is full of people doing life together.

However, our group of fourteen American girls is not hard to miss. Many women stood in the doorway of their homes, leaning against the doorframe, arms crossed, watching us closely as we trampled through their streets. We’re they irritated we were emposing on their space? Was this a daily occurrence for them? Or were they quite possibly watching us just as much as we were watching them? Thoughts flooded my mind, trying to figure out what these women were thinking. I felt like I was intruding on their privacy, treating their home like a museum, yet at the same time I was amazed by this new environment and couldn’t help but look around and take in this simple, refreshing way of life. Life that is so different than what I am used to. Time seems like it has stopped here. Nobody is lost in the screen of their cellphone or rushing around trying to get from one task to the next. People are living in the moment, present to what is right in front of them. This way of life is so different than what I am used to, yet so refreshing to see. In the Medina of Tangier, community is abundant, conversations are natural, life is done together.

As an outsider, as an American, I was amazed by the simplicity found within the mysterious walls of the Medina. I left in wonder and curiosity of how much more there was to know about life inside the old city of Tangier. Life that I only got a glimpse of through my Western eyes.

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