diagnosis: everything doesn’t work in Morocco

Posted in Uncategorized by Diana on March 8, 2011

On my morning walk from the taxi station to the office, I was stopped by a young African man. Once he confirmed that I speak English, he said to me, “I must take the train to Casablanca. I am a student in Rabat. Can you give me some money?”

I wanted to reply, “I am a Volunteer. How about you give me some money?” Instead, I said no and walked away. Honestly, I’m very surprised with how nonchalantly people are about asking me for money here, particularly those who are clearly going about their day otherwise. I don’t know how many times I’ve witnessed a Moroccan or other African person stop abruptly in front of me and ask for money. Once I say no, be it in Moroccan Arabic or English, s/he simply picks up where s/he left off and resumes the day’s activity. How often does this actually work?

The dermatologist determined the fungal infection on my two big toes are a result of wearing tight shoes and exercising. Strange because 1) I mostly wear open-toed footwear in site and 2) I haven’t exercised since arriving in country. What little exercise I’ve done has involved me barefoot and a pilates mat.

She prescribed two cremes, one for the morning and one for the evening, for me to apply to my toes for three months after which I should go see her again.

After my appointment, I accompanied the new medical assistant, Hanane, as she picked up another volunteer’s eyeglasses from an optometrist. We waited for ten minutes as the workers tried to get the credit card machine to work. When we couldn’t wait any longer – the driver had to pick up the doctor and another volunteer and drive them to another appointment – we stood up. This move indicated to the staff that we really were ready to leave.

Hurriedly, one of the salesladies approaches with a hand-written receipt. Why couldn’t this have been done before, I wondered to myself. As the saleslady slips the receipt into an envelope, she apologizes again, saying, “I’m sorry, the credit card machine wasn’t working.”

I give up to Hanane for she gave the most appropriate response: “Everything doesn’t work here [in Morocco].” She said it with humor and I couldn’t help but laugh as the saleslady stood there, not knowing how to respond because she, as everyone, knows this is a fact in Morocco. It’s a broken system.


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