Morocco, Here I Come
by Adam Goodwin | 2013
In just three sleeps I get to return to Africa! This will be my second time traveling to one of the planet’s most diverse, fastest growing (in terms of economy, social justice, and educationally), and fascinating continents.
When I reflect on my last trip to an African country, I am greatly looking forward to Morocco. The food. The religion. The children playing and laughing in the streets. The people. The manners. The social network and support. The respect for others. The willingness to unselfishly help a neighbour, and expect or want nothing in return.
First World People
Listening to the media (and I’m not putting the sole blame on them for this), one would think of Africa as a ‘third’ world. Economically, they may not be as strong as countries such as Canada (exciting, Africa is the fastest growing area of the world right now). However, when it comes to values and principles, and how to treat others, from my 20+ years of living in Canada and regularly speaking my parents currently living in Africa, the people of Africa are definitely ‘first’ world and Canadians ‘third’ world.
This is what I am excited about. To once again experience members of the human nation living by the Golden Rule. Not just saying they want to, or they think they do, or they will start tomorrow. To actually see people living by the Golden Rule. To actually see communities respecting their elders, neighbours, and children with their actions, instead of using a graph in a fancy annual report to say they may or may not be treating employees by the Golden Rule that investors may or may not even read. To actually witness first hand how the African people treat themselves, treat others, treat their animals, treat their property and belongings, and treat “outsiders.” And I don’t use the term outsiders just to describe people from outside their immediate social network and family. How they treat others with different religions, values, language, skin colour, and beliefs.
I am excited to see how a country that is under the strict rule of a King is fighting for freedoms. How a young man or woman, who in just 2011, was participating in Morocco’s Arab Spring, and how they go about their day-to-day lives. To ask them why they want “freedom” and if they want the same type of freedom as Canada.
I use “freedom” in quotes, as I’m not sure who is more free. Me, the Canadian, who walks around like a zombie with his eyes attached to some type of screen 24/7 (news flash, the zombie apocalypse is already here people – when’s the last time you had a conversation with eye contact), who has huge brand loyalty because I have been bombarded with advertising since I was 5 years old (do I buy Nike because I really think it is that much better than everything else or due to the genius abilities of Nike’s marketing staff – come to think of it, I’ve never actually done any sort of reasonable comparison), and who has been programmed by TV shows and movies to have one goal in life: to make money and become a CEO because it’s a good title and you get lots of power (you can be happy first and then these voids will be filled with even more wonderful things? Really?). Now, the Arab Spring is a movement for fundamental freedoms: freedom from the fear of death, fear of political prosecution. This is what I’m excited about. Once Arab and African transition to more democratic systems, what type of freedoms do they want.
I look forwarding to a magnificent week of learning. A week of broadening my mind and perspective. A week of sitting in a hot, un-air conditioned, cramped train that likely didn’t even meet Western countries’ safety standards when it was brand new, and being expected to share my snacks and food with those I sit around (not because I am white and “rich,” but because those sitting around me would be the first to offer to break a piece of their bread with me if they had some).
What do I hope to get out of this trip? I hope I get told I have a funny and weird accent. I hope I’m told to take my money and get out of their country. I hope I get told how my country is ruining their country (for every $1 Africa receives from financially stable countries, they have to pay back $12-13 – so Africa is actually financing Canada. For those with government jobs, remember, an African country could very well be paying your salary.).
That’s what I hope to get out of this trip. Be the first to ask Africa, when you surpass current G8 and G20 countries financially, economically, educationally, socially, health-wise, will you treat us the African-way or how we are currently treating you?
These are one person’s thoughts and opinions. I welcome and strive to get your feedback and own thoughts. Feel free to comment below or connect with me via social media.
Adam Goodwin is a Canadian working in the United Kingdom, and is a proud shameless idealist. His parents currently work in Cairo, Egypt. He has siblings and distant family in Canada and around the rainbow nation’s only home. Follow his year+ overseas on Twitter (@adam13goodwin) and on this blog.</strong