Fill Your Mind and Heart
I was standing outside of a cinema, peering in at the different posters advertising movies that I assumed were playing inside, who knows, they could have been old. A man standing near the entrance who probably noticed my curiosity said, “It’s a cinema, you can come in, have a look”. He had a phone box in his hand, but I still went ahead because I was genuinely curious about what kinds of movies would be advertised, and he hadn’t completely jumped towards me to sell his products. After I had looked around, I went outside and stood next to the man. He told me said that his name was Moses and he was from Senegal. I told him that I had heard of the country, but I did not know where it was exactly. This brought a twinge of guilt within me, but I quickly told myself, "Hey, Africa has so many different countries, and you're just starting to get exposed, it's okay." He brought up the phone box, pointing to a picture of one of the apps. “See this, this is Maroc (Morocco in French), down is Mauritania, and then Senegal. Only one in between”. “Why did you come to Maroc?”, I asked. “I am a drummer”, he said while taking his hand and wiping his forehead, with drops of sweat falling towards the ground. “There is more work in Maroc, especially during the night when the city square is filled”.
We stood there in the dry heat next to the city square in Marrakech. The sounds of flute-like instruments used to charm snakes and the occasional kick up of dust filled the air, as people passed through the road, selling watches and sunglasses. I had been checking the weather in Celsius instead of Fahrenheit to become accustomed to the unit of measure, and it was 42 degrees, which is roughly 107 degrees Fahrenheit. Moses turned towards me. He told me, "In this life, you fill your mind, and your heart. I come from Senegal, and I am filled with what I know there. I meet people, and whatever I bring is of my mind and heart, and for them, the same. We share, and now part of them is me, and part of me is them. You fill up your mind with experiences here, go back to the United States, and tell them”. “Marroc is different than Senegal”, he said. “I bring my mind here and interact with others".
We had been standing in silence for about a minute, when a small boy with a bucket of nuts came up to me and said “Madam, merci”, and tried to hand me a nut. “Laa, shukran (No thank you)” I said. I suppose since he talked to me in French it would have been better for me to respond in French, but I had been excited to use some of my Arabic, and was on autopilot with what had been working so far. He looked at me with big sad eyes and put on a pouting face, and proceeded to stand there and beg. Moses said something to the boy and the boy went away after a couple of minutes. “See this is not a good life for the boy. Not good for his mind. But I think it is his parents, this situation. Listen, see? His parents save the money send him to school, where he can get an education. This, see this? This is no way to live.” I asked if it was similar in Senegal. Moses said, “This, this is similar across Africa”. I did take a humbleness and a pensive nature from that talk with Moses. I carry pieces of Moses's heart and mind, along with the influences that he has been exposed to, and the spirals of exposures that have collided within every life. A blended patchwork of individuality, is what I am, carrying myself and the products of my environment, folded onto itself.
I really love the way you explain this interaction. You can tell it was a powerful experience for you (and probably him, too)
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Thank you for visiting! This is my personal blog, where I write about social justice, geography, culture, and my own encounters and reflections from around the world.