Mission Update:واحد) ١ – one) 


Mission Status: In Progress

Skill: Religious and Musical Comprehension

Status: Accquired

When coming to Morocco, I was fully prepared for the presence of the Islamic faith to be prevalent in my daily life. This couldn’t be more true when on my first night I was woken up at 4:30 am after some serious jetlag to the sound of the first prayer call of the day. I can now say I have become accustomed to the prayer calls but I still pause in awe whenever I hear the sound coming from multiples mosques (الجوامع) within a very short distance. 

Although I expected to be surrounded by the Islamic faith, I have been surprised by Morocco’s beautiful blend of ethnicities and religious influences. One of the now many routes to school in the morning sees my roommate and I walk pass a big Jewish cemetery in the heart of the city. Additionally, I was fortunate enough this past weekend to attend the Gnaoua Festival in Casablanca. The Gnaoua music stems from a mixture of Islamic Sufism and sub-Saharan, pre-Islamic African tradition. Legend claims that the Gnaoua music is so potent that it takes over the body and causes spontaneous religious dancing. While I myself did not experience the magic of spontaneous dance, I was enraptured with the beautiful blend of traditional instruments and the call and response verses. 

Skill: Colloquial Daily Greetings

Status: In Progress

The very first thing I learned in Morocco was the importance of greetings. How you address someone, what you say, how you situate your body or gesture with your hands make a very big impression about yourself before you even know a person. When I first met my host mom (امي) and my host sister (عائشة), I have enraptured into a hug and a series of cheek kisses that established my place in the family sturcture and secured my place in the intimate feminine relations of my household. Furthermore, when I met my language partner, a university student who I meet with every week to learn more about Meknes, the colloquial Arabic (Darija), and other Arabic related topics, I was put to the test with my greeting skills when I was forced to navigate a series of cheek kisses and greetings. Now, I can safely say the greeting people has become one of my favorite parts of my day because it allows me to interact with the local people in a warm and welcoming manner. Despite learning the various greetings, there are still many greetings and conversational elements that I am still trying to grasp. The biggest skill I have yet to master is the many ways to response to thank you. Before my travels to and around Morocco, the only you’re welcome I knew was عفوا, but now I have been exposed to more sayings: لا شكرا على واجب (no thanks it’s [my] duty), مرحبا and  اهلا (both common greetings – equivalent to welcome). These are only a few examples of an upcoming study that I will conduct in hopes of developing a master list of the possible responses to thank you for all situations. إن شاء الله! (God willing)