I’ve barely traveled the world, but I find it hard-pressed to believe that one would be able to point to a people who are more generous than Moroccans. Hospitality is a crucial component of Moroccan culture. When you enter a home, tea is offered. When you meet a stranger on the street, an invitation to visit his/her home is extended. And when you pass a group of local Berbers picnicking by a beachfront, a full meal is provided. These are all normal occurrences. Well…maybe not that last one, but it did happen to me.
To profit from a full five days off from classes, I ventured into the Souss-Massa-Drâa central region of Morocco with two friends. Agadir, this region’s capital, hosts some of Morocco’s best beaches. A 5km promenade lined with restaurants and hotels, beautiful hike up to the old Kasbah, fishing port, and general friendliness of the locals makes Agadir the perfect beach vacation spot. And that it is, at least for the thousands of Europeans that flock there every year.
But what is even more of an exotic place to visit is a small fishing village a short bus ride north of Agadir called Taghazout. It takes no more than 30 minutes to explore the extent of the town’s center, but its coastline is fairly untouched and moderately frequented by tourists, which makes it the perfect place to go.
An hour or two into our walk along the beach, navigating its boulders and peering below rocks to see small fish, we came upon a local group of guys from Agadir camping out.
“Do you want some tea?” They asked my friend as he passed by.
“No thanks, I don’t have any money.” They laughed at the thought and told him it’s free. So we joined.
From there we talked, exchanged bios, and drank tea. A few minutes later, they offered us bread and fish for lunch, to which we insisted was not necessary.
“We already had four,” they told us. So we dug in.
Together, four Moroccans – a barber, police officer, security officer and carpenter – and three Americans conversed in Arabic and French over an impromptu meal by the seaside. It was one of those experiences of which I could sense the value in the moment.
Their kindness was the epitome of what I have encountered thus far. Generosity, welcoming, hospitality, and the incessant insistence of kul kul kul (eat, eat, eat) are a part of living in Morocco.
As I walked away with a full stomach and a new perspective on giving to others, all I remember myself saying is, “Damn. I am happy to be here.”
“I walk on, wondering how the people who have the least to give are often the ones who give the most.” ~ Mike McIntyre from his recount, The Kindness of Strangers: Penniless Across America
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">My name is Brennan Weiss and I am an aspiring international news reporter from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I am a Journalism major with French and Global Studies minors at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York. Since spending my freshman year of university in Florence, Italy, I’ve grown to love adventure and travel. I hope my work as an international journalist allows me to navigate the world endlessly until every culture, land, and people has been met.</span></p>