28.2.09

Abdul Raheem

well i keep meaning to post to this blog, but you know, some stages of your life you feel like gathering information, and at other stages you feel more like debriefing the information. recently I've been in the swallow a waterfall mode, but I think things have settled down enough for me to come up with something brilliantly enlightening, and one step closer to our stated goal.

all right, here goes. no more beating around the bush. this is it. on three.

Abdul Raheem is one of my roommates back in Agadir. I first met him when I returned from a weekend in Tamri, barging into the flat I interrupted his afternoon nap. He twisted around and blinked at me in confusion, then recognition (he knew I was coming soon) and went back to sleep while I plunked down to my two baguettes with jam and oil feast.

He isn't a fast walker per se, but he can practically run laps around the rest of the guys I know in Agadir, who plod along at a frustratingly slow pace. For this reason, and his frankness in discussion, I am fond of taking my evening stroll with him. I have heard his opinions on a wide variety of topics, and observed his reactions to a number of different situations, a few of which I have since found particularly striking.

One day, as Raheem and Hafedh and I sat at a cafe around a pot of tea, a Frenchman approached us, asking for directions to a certain landmark. Hafedh offered him a glass of tea, and a seat. After about ten minutes of friendly conversation, the Frenchman mentioned that he was going to Marrakech. Raheem asked if he could get a ride to the city in exchange for showing him around. The fellow seemed receptive enough, and we agreed to meet back at the same place in a couple hours. We never saw the man again.
As we finally decided to make the long walk back to the apartment, we passed a Moroccan girl, dressed in very western fashion. Raheem clicked his tongue and said something to her in Darija.
"what was that?"
"i think that girl is looking for a man"
"but what did you say to her?"
"lwahda sayeeb, it means being lonely is hard."
"i can't believe you said that!" - incredulous.
"why not?" - laughing.
"because, I mean, isn't that rude?"
"Girls like that, they like to hear these things. But if she stops to talk to you, she might be one who asks for money."
Then we both laughed. And I practiced the phrase.

I can't remember the context at the moment, but Raheem once told me a story about a time he approached some Americans who were visiting his village, hoping to practice his English with them. Before he could say anything the couple immediately snapped, "We don't have any money for you, we don't want anything and we don't have any money for you." I do remember that I had brought up the topic of the uglier side of tourism, he only offered the information as a case to a point I was making.

I find these situations more interesting in retrospect, as I have since had my first thoroughly negative experience with a Moroccan "vulture" as Habib calls them, and I recently read a series of articles discussing sexual harassment of female PCV's in Morocco.

No comments: