Friday, June 21, 2013

Morocco Journal - Part 6: When I Cried in Public ...

So, I had a terrible, terrible day some two days ago, and I ended up crying on the street. The response from Moroccans walking and driving by was ... sweet :) Here's what happened.

I'm frustrated due to certain stuff related to the center where I'm studying (their lack of organization, planning, and communication skills mostly, but some other incompetence on their behalf, too; very disappointed with them, really, but I'll write about that once the program finishes). We were supposed to have a party at 8pm on Wednesday, which we were told about the day of, but no worries - that wasn't too big a deal. The students decided to pray that there be food (the center is extremely stingy when it comes to providing us much, so we knew deep inside this wouldn't be possible, but still, it didn't hurt to hope.) We were told there'd be music and dancing, although, perhaps due to the language barrier, everyone had heard different things, haha.

So most of us just decided to stay at the center, finish our homework, and then join the party when it starts--at 8pm, as we were promised. Come 8pm, the party doesn't start -- but no problem; that's normal ... nothing ever necessarily has to start at the exact time promised, so that was fine. But then come 8:15, the party hasn't started yet. Hm... still wondering what's up. Come 8:20, still no news about what the hell is going on. Come 8:30, still nothing. Come 8:45, come nothing. Finally, some of us decided we'd had enough of the waiting and not being informed about what was going on, so we just left. (I later found out it started around 9 instead. A pity, I swear! It's not like we have time, with the amount of homework they give us and most of us being new at using the transportation system and all. I had a friend whom the taxi driver wouldn't let out of the car last night. Another one was followed and grabbed from the behind while walking home yesterday. And it's not like the center doesn't know how we're dealt with here.)

Anyway, so I left. Being really sick of the management at the center, I was leaving in anger and when a representative of the center saw me leaving and insisted I stay and wait for the party, I told him that I've waited long enough and have wasted enough time already, and he was like, "What do you mean? Just one more minute, and it'll start." He didn't get it that I was frustrated and that expected the party to have begun at least 45 mins later. So I leave in anger, right. It's getting late, and I'm afraid it might get too dark and I might miss my stop or something and I think the last bus leaves at like 10pm, so I don't have much time left anyway. (My roommie had decided not to stay for the party, so I'd be alone on the bus at night.)

I'm standing there waiting for my bus to come. I can take any of the 3 buses that stops by our location, so when the first one came, it was too full. I didn't get on. The second one comes, it's got only one other passenger (a female, but otherwise empty), and the driver opens the door for me and is all excited and grinning. So, na, I wouldn't get on that one either. Finally, the one I take most often comes. Relieved at last, I'm about to hop on the bus ... except, the light turns greet as soon as I'm about to set foot on that damn step, and the bus driver leaves while saying something that sounded like a "Eff you, I'm leaving you." #BIGsadface

Stunned, I just wait there and try to ponder over what the hell just happened. Why would the driver do that to me! I miss America where I could just report the driver if he does that (although that doesn't necessarily mean the problem will necessarily be taken care of), and where the bus drivers, HONESTLY, are much more patient and wait for people to finish getting on the bus before they drive off. Gosh, today, the bus started driving off--with the door open--while I was on the step! Do you know how scary that is with the kind of traffic we see here in Meknes?!

Anyway, so the bus driver's attitude was like the last thing I could take, and so I just ... started crying.  Nothing loud or anything, and not like sobbing or with too much tears. Just some tears on my face started to roll down, you know. I made sure that no one see me cry, though, or so I thought I was making sure, but clearly, people saw me. And their response? It made me smile and took some of the hurt away :) God bless Moroccans! 

Well, this group of young men were walking by, and I thought I'd wiped my tears off and stuff, but about a minute later, one of them walks back towards me and says "Assalamu alaikum" (the Islamic greeting for a "hi"; "peace be upon you" literally), and I return the greeting but with my headphones still in (I was listening to music, which seems to be an odd thing here, although everyone does it in the U.S.), so he points to me to take my headphones off. I do. He goes, "What's wrong?" I go, "What? Nothing." He goes, "You're crying." Meanwhile, I look how far he'd gone and his friends are waiting for him, and I smile. And I go, "No, no, I'm fine. It's just I'm having a bad day." He goes, "What happened? Do you need help?"

I go, "You see, the bus just left me here just because the light turned green. Plus, everything else just seems wrong. I'm frustrated, that's all. I'll be fine, I promise." He goes, "Do you need transportation?" I go, "No, no, another bus will be here, don't worry. Thanks for checking. It's okay." After a long time later, he leaves because I insist I'm fine.

Meanwhile, the bus doesn't show up yet, and it's getting darker. The people (usually men and children and a few women) sitting on the ground and chatting up and stuff have all left. 

So a driver from traffic stops in the middle of the road while the light is green and asks me what's wrong and why I'm crying. DUDE! I'm like oh My God, is it THAT obvious! So I tell him nothing's wrong, but he insists and asks me to get in his car, and I'm like no way, I'm waiting for the bus. After a long while or so, he finally leaves.

A friend comes out of the center and we greet each other and I tell him what just happened about the bus leaving me and stuff, and he tells me it's because I'm waiting too far off. I remind him that all the buses at "this stop" at different places depending on the traffic light and where the most people are standing/waiting. His bus comes, he leaves. 

Some ten, fifteen minutes later, the same driver who'd stopped in the middle of traffic returns and parks his car halfway on the curb where I am standing. I'm like what the heck is going on. 

He gets out of his car, and says to me, "Okay, tell me what's wrong." 
I'm like, "What! Nothing. I'm just waiting for the bus. That's all."
He goes, "You've been waiting too long. You're alone, you're a girl, it's after 9, you're crying - I'm scared for you. I'm really, really scared for you."
I smile and go, "I appreciate your concern, but look, I'm just waiting for the bus. One left me here, so I got upset, that's all."
He goes, "No, I'm scared for you. I'll take you home."
I go, "No, no, thanks, but I'll take the bus."
He insists.
I go, "No, I don't know my way home except on the bus."
He goes, "That's fine. I'll take the bus route. I swear I won't harm you. I'll only take you to your destination." (Aww.)
I insist no. I spot a bus in the distance and tell him that that's prolly my bus; is it [my bus number]? He looks and says, "Ahh, yes, yes it is."
I go, "Excellent! Thank you! God be with you, and much peace be with you! Good night."
He says, "Okay then. Good night. God be with you."

:D :D :D times many more. While I hoped I wasn't raising any concerns with my tears and didn't want anyone to notice what was happening, I sincerely appreciate their concern and their approaching me. I really do. I pray to God to bless them infinitely for their good thoughts.

Also, all of these conversations with these people took place in Arabic! YYYEAHH!! (Fus'ha rather than Darija, but whatevz; the people understand what I be saying to them, and that's all that matters!)

May sound creepy to some, but I did appreciate that some folks stopped and showed concern. I'm sorry I wasted their time.

When I got home, I poured The Heart out to Host Momma H. and Host Sisters M. and N., who all listened attentively and reminded me that it's all over and life is still beautiful :) How I love this family! They'd been waiting for me to come home so we could have dinner. We then had dinner and I finished my homework and went to sleep around 10.

P.S. As for the party, I hear it mostly sucked. There was no food, either, which is a huge disappointment for those who'd been waiting there for hours. A group of friends told me they tried to sneak out to leave the party but kept getting caught and were sent back (LOL!). Another group tells me they enjoyed it. I'm happy I didn't stay along; I wouldn't have enjoyed it.

Okay, that'd be all, folks.

1 comment:

  1. wow, u spoke all of this in Arabic?! im super jealous! masha'allah though. I wish i could yap so much in Arabic!

    Btw, what did you mean by the taxi driver wouldnt let your friend out? :|


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