Yesterday we had a small snafu when starting the day’s programming. A Lankey rep was supposed to come pick me up but they had a personal emergency so I ended up taking the tram with my host sister to the Addictest center. Once we got there, it was beach time!
Miryiam’s mother drove us in the Addictest car to a beach called Skirat. It was near Casablanca. The weather today was kinda cloudy, so maybe it wasn’t stereotypically perfect beach weather, but it was gorgeous all the same.
We ate sandwiches, bought some snacks, and relaxed for a couple hours. There was one snack I bought though, that really drew my attention. It was a bag of mixed, assorted nuts. It was packaged in Spain, but all my alarm bells went off.
You know, it’s one thing to know that anti-Blackness is global, to study it in class and watch it manifest as Colorism, but it’s definitely another thing to experience it. When I saw this and took a photo of it, it ended up sparking a conversation with two of the high schoolers who were at the beach with us. They’d never noticed that part of the wrapping before. They feel that Morocco is a country that’s really welcoming and accepting because tourism is such a huge part of the country’s economy, which is why one of them was quick to point out that this snack was manufactured in Spain. I hope that their perception of things are true.
I guess that at the very least I’m happy that this iconography is no longer found in America this blatantly. We definitely have our issues, but this sort of thing would immediately go viral back in the States.
We stayed on the beach for another hour or so after eating, and I got some nice shots of some volleyball players.
I have more photos of the beach, but I forgot to ask permission from the other people there if I could put their photos here, so I’m gonna leave the photos in my private folders until then.
I fell asleep on the ride home. The beach is one of my favorite places, and I always know I’m going to sleep really well after visiting one. There’s something about it that just makes me go right to sleep as if I was a child again. We ended up back at the Addictest center eventually (which I’m just now realizing I should probably take a picture of, since I’ll be mentioning it often). I met up with Aïda there (my host sister) and we went to meet up with her mom, who coincidentally works at the Royal Palace as a secretary for an official there. I got to walk around the royal grounds.
We hung out, Aïda, her mother, and I, at a series of compounds built for workers at the palace. Aïda has family who live there, but it was interesting for me. Almost none of the family we visited spoke French or English. I sat there, eating a bunch of snacks, listening to the conversation flow around me. They were really kind, but my miscommunications definitely became small jokes for the conversation going on around me. The family we visited had a housekeeper, and at one point someone said something in Arabic to her along the lines of, “Show her your English.” She knew how to say, “My name is [her name].” It was sweet to witness.
There was one family member I met there who spoke French. He was an older gentleman, maybe in his mid-fifties. At first, when he offered his hand and I shook it, I froze up because I didn’t know if he was bilingual or not, I was trying to remember the Arabic word for hello, and my brain goes really slow sometimes when I have to switch between languages.
It became a joke. Aïda’s mother asked me in French if he was handsome, and not wanting to be rude but also trying to sidestep more jokes about marriage, I said, “Bien sûr!” which means “Of course!” and the room burst into friendly laughter.
After that, we stayed for a little while longer, but when we finally made it back home, I crashed on my bed and went straight to sleep. (The effects of the beach on my system). I’m awake now, at 7am, because of the roosters in the neighborhood.
I have my French placement exam today and my first classes. Wish me luck!