1. Pictured are some local young people (Shabaab in Arabic (شباب playing soccer in a parking lot of Rabat. I have gotten to meet the coolest people while just playing a quick game of pickup soccer while also building my colloquial Arabic skills. By meeting these younger generations of Moroccans, I am able to have conversations about deeper subjects that may not be as acceptable with the older generations. These topics can range from LGBTQ+ topics, to attitudes towards immigrants in Morocco, to perceptions of Islam, or gender issues in the country. It is extremely enlightening to have these conversations with young locals because I feel like my perception of MENA countries has been warped by western media. I experienced one instance this week where my family sent me a text talking about what I need to be worried about while in Morocco, but many of these “precautions” only consisted of ignorant preconceived notions. The country and people I have met so far are much more progressive and welcoming than Americans think.
2. This picture was taken while some friends and I took a walk through the medina of Rabat. An interesting thing that I have learned while walking throughout the medina is the distinguishable line between the upper and lower class. Pictured is a side street in the medina that occupies middle to upper middle-class Moroccans. These types of houses often include beautiful furnishings, décor, and natural light. One thing that took me by surprise while visiting my friends’ houses is the Moroccan bathrooms. Though there are a few western style bathrooms, many of them solely consist of one room with a toilet that doubles as a shower. I have also discovered that people generally do not shower on a daily basis like they do in America. I am not sure if this is a way to conserve resources or to save money, but people often just shower once or twice a week at home while visiting the community “hamam” biweekly. A hamam is a place where people come together to relax, bathe, and sometimes socialize.