I know… a lot has happened in the two months since I’ve posted in Rabat. I’ve been busy learning Moroccan Arabic, drinking tea, and itching my flea bites. I’d like to excuse my lack of blog posts on my very dead computer and lack of wifi, but really, I’ve been trying to integrate and enjoy my time during training. I was fully planning on staying off any computer until swearing-in, but current events have made me want to borrow a laptop and get typing.
When the new president was elected, the hundred volunteers were together at a training in Meknes. I heard the news as I was waking up in my hotel room. After yelling a bit and using up a few tissues, I went into the lobby to find someone to talk to. After all, misery loves company. However, words were hard to come by. There were at least thirty of us, sitting in silence, mourning for our futures and the livelihood of our friends back in the States.
I am still having trouble coming to terms with the recent election, but this is what I will say: I am lucky in that when I get back to America, most things won’t change for me. I will still have access to good health care and will feel safe in most neighborhoods. I still won’t ever have to worry about my nationality, my religion, or my race being questioned.
But as a volunteer for Peace Corps Morocco, things have unequivocally changed; my job has just gotten a lot harder. I am here to advocate for friendship and understanding between the Moroccan and American people, but that will not be easy if our president preaches Islamaphobia. To many Moroccans, I represent America, and if all they know about America is what Trump says, not only my job, but my safety could be at risk.
That being said, the Moroccan people have been incredibly kind to me. When I was crying watching the news at my host family’s house, my host mom gave me some tea and let me wear her fuzzy pajamas. I thought she might be disappointed at me for what my nation stands for, but all she cared about was making me feel better.
I think my biggest challenge will not be convincing Moroccans to accept me, but convincing Americans to accept Moroccans. It makes me so sad to think that the kindness and generosity that has been expressed to me by many Moroccans would not be returned if they visited the United States. I wish people could understand that just as Trump doesn’t represent all Americans, extremists don’t represent all Muslims.
I have yet to fully see what this election means for me or my job, but I can say that I am grateful to be here and I am grateful for all the Moroccans who have made me feel better this last week.