I ran away from Casablanca yesterday, traveling through the night to the south of Morocco. It shouldn’t have been hard to leave, but it was. Feelings of failure and that I was simply giving up made the trip to the bus station longer that it was, a nervous sweat poured down my forehead accumulating particles of pollution that floated from the streets, and I kept turning my head to look behind me for a sign of what to do. Waiting in line to buy my ticket seemed like an eternity and I continued the round-about process of self-questioning followed by unsatisfying answers until someone tapped me on the shoulder to let me know that I was next in line. This actually surprised me, because most any other Casablancan would have simply cut you in line if you weren’t paying enough attention to realize that you were next, or at least this is what I would have expected from my experience in the city thus far. Yet despite this random act of kindness at the queue, I didn’t change the affirmative decision I had recently made, and I pursued my purchase of a ticket for an 11 hour night bus ride towards the southern coast.
Mansour was his name, and I invited him to tea after I got out of the water (only because I wanted to stay near the ocean to watch the sunset, otherwise I would have returned to the hotel to get rid of him). The complaints about whatever illness he had invented had slowly faded and we began to share stories of Senegal and Califonria, making me think, obviously a bit to optimistically, that he had left the antibiotic story behind and in the sand where it belongs. But when we returned to the centre of town and were walking down the streets towards my hostel, he began with that same story, the same side-holding and head shaking stance followed by an I need 300 Dirhams, please. This on top of all the other begging I had experienced drove me momentarily crazy, not that crazy, but I did yell and curse enough for him to look scared and walk away. I haven’t seen him since.
I came to the decision that my project must be an expression of my immediate goals, but always taking into account the fact that I have already paved a path in life to become a doctor. Thus for my project to have true meaning and value, for me to feel like through it I am living a good life, I either need to be doing something that benefits the community around me (and the swim didn’t seem to have any purpose in Casablanca), or I must be cultivating my individual potential for this later purpose. So I’ve decided to return to Mirleft, where the ocean seems to be a healing force for my body and spirit; the beach here is one of the most beautiful that I have ever seen and the waves are perfect for body surfing.