On Wednesday, my friends and I decided to hop in a cab and head to the McDonald’s by the beach. In the taxi, we passed a small amusement park, which lit up the whole street. People hooted and shouted as a small Ferris wheel took them round and round. Across the street on the beach, I saw families laughing and kids chasing each other in circles. The festive scene made Tangier seem like the city of my dreams.
We arrived, said shukraan to the taxi driver, and headed towards the Golden Arches. Everyone ordered her meal, ate, and with full stomachs, we wandered over to an ice cream stand outside McDonalds. As I stood in line to order ice cream, two young boys in tattered clothing and beautiful eyes came up to me and motioned for money and food by putting their fingers up to their mouths. My body went weak and my heart sank; it was a feeling I will never forget.
For a second or two, I looked at the boys and saw in them my younger brother. What would I do if he was forced to live on the streets? I can’t even begin to imagine that. I reached into my purse and gave the boys each a few dirhams; like gentlemen, both shook my hand. Isn’t this why I was put on this Earth? I thought. To try and help others.
That night I lay awake in bed staring at the ceiling and thinking about the homeless in Tangier and even Maine, and what I could do to help. I picked up Mountains Beyond Mountains, the book we’ve been reading in English class about Paul Farmer and his journey as a doctor to cure the sick in the slums of the world. I may not be Paul Farmer, but I can strive to help people as much as I can. So I vowed to become a frequent volunteer at a local church in Tangier that works with migrants. In this beautiful world of ours, everyone can make a difference no matter how big or small, we just have to put our hearts into it and start somewhere.