It's already April in Morocco (and everywhere else by now) and the god-awful rain has finally stopped. Temperatures are steadily rising and afternoons are sunny. For awhile, I thought for sure we'd all be washed away in the downpours and subsequent flooding. One night, in fact, the rain was so intense and didn't stop for hours and I was sure my house would simply dissolve before morning. A friend who lives in a chic new place in one of the newer subdivisions told me she laid awake worrying about the same thing! But, we survived and all is well.
In my last posts I was writing about the many angles of sexual harrassment here in Morocco and the various ways it takes place. No doubt many people have heard that once upon a time when a man saw an interesting woman in the street, he would try to find out who she was and where she lived in order to contact her parents, if his intentions were honorable. I have a young daughter who lived with me for awhile, so we actually experienced this in a couple of different ways.
One night we were out and met this kooky old man on the street. Stuck at a red light, we were unable to get away from him until the light turned and we could cross to the other side. He gave us a paper with his phone number and asked us to call him to hang out at his place. Yeah, right, a total and crazy stranger. Will do. However, a couple of months later at work, I look up from my desk and there he is standing in front of me. He started out by telling me he wanted to give me some paper he had written about the United Stages foreign policy or something, which he thought I should distribute for him since I am American, then he got down to business. He wanted to marry my daughter. I didn't know if I wanted to laugh or start calling for help. He was politely escorted out of the building but I was freaked for the day.
A couple of times in the medina, men followed my daughter home from the store, too. Right to the door of the house. That is a bit scarier because they are too close for comfort, and yes, they know where you live. Once one of them invited us to his house for lunch and to meet his mother. Now, I would not find it normal if one of my sons showed up at lunch with a couple of foreign women he had picked up on the street. I would wonder why they, too, were interested in lunch at my house. Now, I know tourists want to meet Moroccans and see the homes here, experience the food and family life, and that's okay. I get it. But, I am not about to leave my house with my daughter in tow to meet total strangers, one of whom is stalking us. I don't think a Moroccan woman would do that; in fact, I know she wouldn't and I am taking my cue from that.
In closing, I am sorry to say that a new acquaintance of mine recently fell for this romantic encounter on vacation approach that I discussed in another article. She didn't have time to meet me because she was so wrapped up in this unexpected whirlwind of a rush with a younger man who just swept her right off her feet, so quickly and so unexpectedly, she didn't know what was happening to her. His family welcomed her so warmly and it all just spiraled from there. And so it goes...