Moroccans turn every challenge into an opportunity. They are entrepreneurs, but not by choice. In the developed world, people are searching for a true meaning of life, questioning who they are and who they want to be. Yet, we don’t make time to hold someone’s hand, to say sorry or I love you. Our lives are geared by the need for money, just like Moroccans’, with the only difference that our livelihood often does not depend on that. Theirs does.
A tiny figure curled up in the only bit of shade that can be seen for miles. A grey coat hanging on a structure resembling two sticks bound together as a cross, not in the slightest suggesting a living creature underneath. Four wobbly legs carrying the baggage of food which would last many for months. These are only a few scenes you see in the rural parts of Morocco as you pass through the scenery on an air-conditioned bus, AirPods in your ears, warm shower and fresh food waiting at the hotel.
I push aside the temptations to try and save the nation, but the feeling of pity remains. Why is it that I can come back to London on a heated plane, whilst the locals here swallow the dust from the heated ground? This unfairness, inequality in the world drives me mad. But what can I do?
Having seen the struggle first-hand, I chose to cut down on meat. Not only because seeing raw meat makes me feel sick but, more importantly, because I don’t want to steal doesn’t belong to me. The cows, sheep, donkeys and camels are ridiculously skinny here and most of them get killed to be utilised for leather, meat and milk. I don’t judge those who do it, they have no other choice, but I’d feel bad possessing the little resources they have.
Visiting Fez helped open my eyes. Although this trip was partly formed off hunting for the Insta-perfect pictures, it was inspiring to see another way of life. One which I wouldn’t wish to anyone, one which makes me feel ashamed of how comfortable my lifestyle is. Morocco also made me think about why shall I buy leather or eat fish (which I have been struggling to give up for weeks), if people here need it so much more than I do.
Most travellers come here for a day or two to take pictures and then jump on the ultra-cheap cab and leave for the next city where they do the same.
I was outraged by the fact that tourists come to Fez to watch the poor locals dye and cut the leathers, their bare hands and feet exposed to the sun and stink most tourists cannot bare. I was embarrassed by my culture and what it made the locals do. The demand of the developed world is too high for them to say no, to stop. There is no way of ending these people’s exploitation any time soon. Most travellers come here for a day or two to take pictures and then jump on the ultra-cheap cab and leave for the next city where they do exactly the same.
It’s outrageous! However, the only action I can take (other than writing about it) is to make the change within myself. Just like it took some time to cut down on red meat, I am now determined to eliminate fish and buying leather goods. Luckily, I am in a position where I don’t need either. Having seen others struggle in order to achieve my comfort made me realise that I don’t want to contribute to this. You go and buy your new moccasins, I’ll be saving up for my next holidays which will help me change my life (and maybe not just mine) for better.