Archive for July 1st, 2009

Thoughts on Morocco

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

When I [david] think of Morocco I first think of the Showalters. Wednesday afternoon we arrived in Morocco and the others played ultimate frisbee, but I did not due to the lingering effects of my broken leg and torn ankle ligaments. Instead, I went back to the Showalter’s house and after Dawn came home she made supper, and I went into the kitchen and talked with her and snatched some of the food she was preparing. I thought about how I do the same thing with Mom back home, and I realized that staying with the Showalter family is as close to having a family as I will have on the trip. Our families were good friends when they lived in Ohio and it was really good to reconnect with them, and it was especially refreshing to interact with them two months into the trip. We have been living, eating, and sleeping in the car for so long it was great to have a family unit with whom we could interact, a house to sleep in regularly, and delicious food numerous times per day. It felt like home…at least a little like home (we don’t get so many people selling fish in the streets of Rosedale), and it allowed us to recharge our batteries (literally and figuratively) and interact with other people. It was especially enjoyable to discuss the hardships and rewards of living and working in Morocco, and their willingness to take us around the Medina buying us local foods and explaining things to us. We are very grateful for all the time, space, food, fellowship, and everything else they gave us during our week in northern Africa.

When I think of Morocco I also think about our night on the roof of the Showalter’s pastor’s house in the middle of the Medina. Thursday night the four of us and Seth slept in the heart of the Old City. We reached the rooftop just in time for the mosques in the Medina to start their Call to Prayer. This echoed throughout the city for about five minutes before the mosque right next to us started its call. This call was very loud and was especially poignant for me. At this time the entire city is supposed to come to a stop and pray to Allah. On one hand I thought how good it would be for Christians to to bow their heads in mass and pray; how powerful a force we could be. But at the same time I also was thankful for the freedom that we have in Christ. Our salvation is not tied to whether or not we pray in the correct way at the correct times.
I woke up the next morning in time to catch the last few minutes of the sunrise over the Medina. It was beautiful, almost breath-taking. Such an old city with its houses packed together in the early morning light. I noticed numerous satellite dishes on top of almost every house glinting in the early morning sun. These houses are hundreds of years old and are defiled with these eyesores. How sad. What would the original builders of these buildings think?

I really enjoyed our stay in Morocco and would like to thank the Showlaters one more time for everything they did for us.

Morocco: Something Different

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Morocco is sure to stand out from every other country on this trip, simply because it is fundamentally different from the western culture that under pines all the european countries I have visited thus far. The difference was particularly striking because, unlike the other guys who saw eastern Europe, I had seen nothing but well developed nations. Though the western influence on Morocco is undeniable, the foundation of its culture is fundamentally different. Instead of Europe’s Christian (Though buried deeply) roots, Morocco’s culture is Muslim. Instead of secular, Morocco’s society is deeply religious. Instead of democratic, Morocco’s government is a monarchy. Instead of a large middle class and smaller upper and lower classes, Morocco has a very large lower class with smaller middle and very small upper classes.

It was interesting that the strong religious emphasis resulted in very few beggars. People either survived from the giving of alms or did any small job they could find to make a few Dirham. People tended to be more honest and trustworthy. The Muslim influence pervaded all areas of life from the call to prayer to women walking the streets with their faces covered. I was struck by how well Satan manufactured the lie of Islam. It is so close to the truth in so many ways. It teaches doing what is right and just and caring for the less fortunate and being hospitable and kind to everyone, including strangers. I personally met several exceptionally friendly and caring Muslims who I knew I would enjoy having as friends. But Islam also emphasizes a blind dedication to the faith. When this dogmatism is mixed with a doctrine that has just enough truth to be recognized by the seeking human soul, the bondage of sin becomes almost unbreakable.