When I was in the U.S. over the summer, I got a lot of questions about my life in Morocco. Here are some things I wish more people knew about where I live.
1. Morocco is not just desert; it also has ocean, forest, and mountains.
2. Casablanca the city is nothing like Casablanca the movie. Rick’s café was actually filmed in Hollywood. I’ve showed the Casablanca trailer in several of my English classes, and every one of my students has been surprised that there is a movie about their city.
3. Morocco is a developing country, but you can still find outrageous displays of wealth.
Morocco Mall: one stop shopping for all the designer brands
4. Morocco is very peaceful. When there are protests, they mostly consist of men sitting on old cardboard boxes in front of parliament.
5. Morocco has a more generous maternity leave than the U.S. (which isn’t hard, since the U.S. has no paid maternity leave). Of course, jobs are harder to find in Morocco, and more women work at home.
6. There is a Christian minority in Morocco, and a large network of churches. Most of the churches were started by French people during colonization, but now most of the members are African.
Rabat’s Catholic Church
7. Moroccans are extremely welcoming and hospitable – but that doesn’t mean that racism doesn’t exist here. Finding work and getting documentation can be close to impossible for a lot of African migrants, despite recent government reforms. I myself am having trouble getting the basic documents from my employer to apply for my residency card, so imagine how difficult it can be for someone who doesn’t hold an American passport or have the special status of being a native English speaker.
8. The fruits and vegetables (and eggs and olive oil) taste quite a bit better here. Everything is organic, and food comes more directly from the farm. I swear, even the carrots are slightly sweeter in Morocco.