As I was taking a stroll through the desert on my camel today (no seriously, this is not the start to a bad joke) I caught myself smiling mad hard! And when I caught myself, my first instinct was to stop and frown, and then I caught myself again and just let it happen.
Let me start by saying, I didn’t know what to expect when I got here. And quite frankly, my first impressions had be skeptical (mom, you know what I’m talking about). But I came on this trip to get out of my comfort zone and to do something new, so there I was. Anyways, back to the point.
I was smiling because 1) I’m in Africa riding a damn camel (like, come on) and 2) because I recognized how much privilege I have and how good it is to be me (sounds arrogant, but there is a point to this). Here I am, in a country that treats me better than they treat their own women; not that they are treated poorly, but being an American woman holds weight. Likewise, here I am riding a camel through a desert and kids who live in, what we would say, the middle of no where, are running out of their huts made of clay and straw just so they can wave and have the satisfaction of us waving back at them. I gave a little boy a high five and he blew a kiss at me and started to cry. I also met a man, who was missing fingers and the ones he did have were fused together (from a fire). This man tied my head scarf, saddled the camels, and laughed at everything we said even though we couldn’t understand each other have the time. He was unapologetically happy. If that isn’t beautiful, then I don’t know what is.
So I was smiling. I wasn’t thinking about the privilege I don’t have as a black woman in the United States, but instead I chose to be grateful for the moments that I had, the experiences that I have been afforded and afforded to myself, and the pure joy I was able to bring people of another country just by simply being who I am. I also wasn’t thinking about the disadvantages of some of the locals that I noticed, because they were happy.
Now, I understand that different cultures have their shit. There are a million things we could go on about intersectionality, and the treatment of women and black people in various countries…but this post, specifically, is about the enormous gratitude of the moment that I felt in the Moroccan desert that I haven’t felt since I was in Costa Rica (8 years ago). This trip alone has restored my soul three times over, and that is priceless and timeless.
It is important, wherever you are, to take out to be grateful for moments, no matter how small you believe them to be. It’s also important to experience new things, people, and places (you don’t have to country hop like I do). If you don’t know different, you can’t think different. And someone times, often times, a change of mindset is exactly what we need. It’s what’s I needed.
This is my story. This is my journey.
Until next time,