English novelist Anthony Trollope wrote: ” What on earth could be more luxurious than a sofa, a book, and a cup of coffee?…Was ever anything so civil?”
Some say that he is quite right according to the standards of the Victorian Era in which he lived. Some others, myself included, think that he is quite right even according the standards of the 21th century.
If you’re reading this article, you’re definitely one of the luckiest people in the history of human existence. Since you have the luxury to be sitting comfortably at your home reading this article on the internet. We usually don’t get to realize how lucky we are and how stupid we are to take all of the above mentioned luxury for granted. We forget that there are people, somewhere in the forgotten world, who suffer in silence. Who fight and struggle on a daily basis not so that they can earn more money, or so they can have more possessions. No! They struggle against the harshness of the natural world just to survive!
Tiflet Young Leaders Association has decided to go to one of those forgotten places, which is a mountain village in Morocco called Douar Oulad Ali, and to offer a hand of help to those people who are in utter need. We have decided to collect clothes, covers, school supplies and anything that would reduce the harshness of their living situation.
We were quite surprised at the amount of clothes we have managed to collect from the huge number of generous people who were willing to help and who were actually searching for these types of humanistic initiatives. We have parted into teams, and every neighborhood had a team, and every team had a supervisor. We worked in a very organized and structured manner. At the end of the fundraise, we managed to wash all the clothes and to separate them according to some specific criteria, such as age, gender, size..etc. And then we packed everything up and we were ready to visit the other side of Morocco.
The trip started at around 4am on Saturday. We arrived at around 2pm. We were welcomed enthusiastically by the people of the village, who have already prepared for us a traditional lunch that was incredibly delicious. We ate and then we hit the road again to the school, in which we will meet the people who will benefit from the fundraise, which was far away from the village by 7km or so.
The weather was freezing cold. And yet, kids and adults alike weren’t wearing enough clothes. Their skin was quite damaged with the harshness of the temperature. Their faces were quite pale, and the marks of their daily struggle and suffering was quite clear. They were thin, clearly not well fed, and one can see through their momentary smiles a sense of despair in their eyes. That’s how the other face of Morocco looks like.
Work started, and we have parted again into 3 teams. The first one entertained the children, the second one distributed the clothes to women and their kids, and the third team to men. We couldn’t organize them very well, they were uncontrollable. But nobody can blame them for their behavior. They were all in utter need. But we nonetheless managed to succeed with great difficulty in the distribution of the clothes.
Throughout this experience I had some mixed feelings about what I already know on the appalling situation of lots of people in Morocco. And how they are forgotten without clothes, covers and some of the most basic needs of a decent life. What I saw in this place is not as worse as what I have seen on Television or on the Internet of course. But when one witnesses something horrible in real life, the impact becomes huge and far more powerful.
When you see small kids wearing plastic sandals in one of the coldest places in Morocco, and how damaged their little feets and hands have become because of said weather, you can’t help but feel more disgust towards the authorities and people who are in charge of this country. You can’t help but feel immense sadness towards these people as well as many others who live in the same downhearted situation… or even worse! You can’t help but feel deep sorrow when you think about the bleak future of these kids and how it won’t be any different than the current situation of their parents. And then you remind yourself with the fact that the only thing that makes you different from these people, socially or intellectually, is sheer luck. Because if I was born there, I would be begging for clothes and covers, too. And I would thank the supreme Leader, or the King, or the President…etc, Instead of thanking people who actually helped me. And then again, I reminded myself with the irony of the Moroccan regime that sends huge humanitarians aids to Palestine, Niger…etc!
But at least, we have unleashed the libertarian spirit in us and we’ve tried to help these people as much as we could. We have planted joy in their hearts for a few moments, and we have given them something that would reduce their daily hardship. It was indeed a character building experience, and we are quite proud that we have succeeded in one of the biggest humanitarian events we have ever done.
But, the best is yet to come. Stay tuned!