When in Morocco, I’m not sure how many minutes – – or hours in a day go by when I don’t speak, except to say ‘bonjour’ or ‘Salaam’ to someone, usually a man. Since women are usually working at the office or at home, I generally come in contact with only men. Knowing enough English to ask if I am fine or how my family is doing, that’s the extent of their direct conversations with me. And my virtual lack of French and Arabic limit me to even less to initiate with them. I rely on interpretation. Which is draining on the interpreter.
And anyone who knows me, language is my thing. Ok, talking is my thing! I’m real good at it.
During business dealings, of which I’ve had many lately since I am in the middle of buying a riad/home in Marrakech, paragraphs or pages are spoken without my interjection. I stare out the window practically ignoring what’s happening around me, until my interpreter tells me what’s discussed.
On my last visit I went to a restaurant with friends (who speak French predominately), the proprietor was able to eek out a phrase in English (he too, is French): ‘There are Americans in the bar. Like home.’ What? There are Americans in the bar!? I NEVER see Americans in Morocco.
More beautiful words n’er were spoken!
The group walked by our table, happily chattering away in Midwestern- and Eastern-accents and I was thrilled! “I’m from the US,” I blurted out. “Ooooh, we are tooooo!” they screeched! And then began our conversation in fast-English! Washington State, Wisconsin, New Jersey…they were from all over. Eventually all 16 of the tour group was gathered at my table telling me about their experiences in Morocco. It was so fun and energizing. But alas, they were gone and I was left to daydream while the others at my table chatted on.
Below is my friend Raschida. She works at the Goodyear tire store in Guillez, Marrakech, Morocco.