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Reflecting on First Impressions and Things Learned

As we prepared for the trip to Morocco, I did not know what to expect.  I have been to other countries, but none of them have been on the other side of the world.  My family members questioned why I was going to Morocco and repeatedly told me how dangerous it was.  After that, I was a little nervous on how the trip would turn out.  Once I got here, my worries faded away.  Even though there are language barriers and I have to be conscious of what I’m expressing, I find myself at peace and comfortable here.  The first few days were a little difficult to adjust in the home because often times it was just me, my roommate, and our host mother.  But we’ve been able to warm up to each other and show each other pictures.  Now, I feel very comfortable at our host family’s home, walking to and from Sacal, and really anywhere we go.  After our lectures on Islam and the Moroccan culture, I realized that the fear I had before coming on this trip was just because I was ignorant and kept questioning whether or not my family was right.  As Dr. Rddad explained how fear and even hatred comes from the evil within one’s soul, I realized that it was my own lack of knowledge that was causing me to be fearful.  I grew up with a full on Christian dad, a devoted Catholic mom, and even one of my older brothers is a preacher.  My parents were always very cautious around cultures and religions that they did not understand.  So, for a long time, I was the same way.  It was hard for me to even begin to open up to learning about other religions and cultures because growing up, my parents made it seem like I didn’t need to open my mind and expand my knowledge.   The visits to the various mosques and synagogues, made it clearer to me that I really didn’t know much about these religions and their impact on the world.  Also, the visits to the places where craftsmen work like the pottery, the wood shop, the tiles, the tannery, and the carpets all made me appreciate craftsmanship a lot more.  I was in awe watching these people create things with their own hands.  I have always been consumed in this world where I don’t stop and think about how things are made and who makes them.  After our wood shop class, I appreciate artisans and craftspeople so much more.  I’m glad I didn’t let my fear and worries get in the way of learning all of these wonderful things.

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