Day 1 in Morocco has been a beautiful struggle! As I land in Casablanca and take the train to a strangers house (2 hours away in Rabat) and the train in front of it broke down. Waited 3 hours before it moved again with no AC. Half way there had to change trains and it looked like it wasn’t coming. Got my host to come get me which took another 2 hours then an hour ride back to his place (over 9 hours of travel including the flight.)
Once I get there (4am) my right eye gets infected. Nasty style, with things coming out of it.
We took a one hour nap then from Rabat drove to Ouarzazate which was a 9 hour drive. Then on the drive my other eye gets infected. Now I have two infected eyes, which I can bearly see out of.
Abdelilah Elijillali and his family had me and 4 other strangers sleep on their floor as they opened their hearts and homes and shared their lives with us. The family has had over 2,000 strangers stay with them within the last 3 years. I asked them how do the kids feel about this? They love it and learn so much from strangers, as the 9 year daughter speaks 4 different languages.
It is one thing to see a place. Another to experience it. Truly experiencing, in my opinion, requires meeting people who live there and learning about their culture, lives, and philosophies. This can be a challenge – we in our “otherness” may not engage or be engaged with by others – but when it happens, it creates understanding and a sense of connection to that person and that place that makes the world that much smaller, friendlier, and like home no matter where you go.