Morocco, Interrupted

To Omar

Dear Omar,

I hope you and your family are doing well.  Along with the guidelines being put in place for the United States, I have been making sure to follow the direction of the Moroccan government.  Just like us, you guys seem to still be quarantined inside.  I am sure it is odd for you to not open up your shop every day.  However, after almost 50 years of working in your magical shop, you can finally spend some quality time with your loved ones.

Morocco seemed to act on this pandemic all at once.  One minute there was only one case that had come in from Italy to Casablanca.  The next minute the country’s borders were being closed and all transport in and out of the country were being canceled.  At first, we assumed this would only last a few weeks and it would be safe to stay on the UNE abroad campus.

Just as we were finally getting used to the idea of settling in for a while, we had one last meeting.  At this final meeting, we were told we had two hours to pack our things before a bus would be picking us up to head to Marrakesh for the first leg of the trip home.  A six-hour drive to Marrakesh was followed by a five-hour flight to Sweden where we slept overnight at the airport.  The following day was a nine-hour flight to Newark before finally heading home with an hour flight to Portland, Maine.  It was a long journey, but with little time to think.

With all of this in mind, I owe you a sincere apology.  In all the chaos and mess, I was unable to say goodbye to most of the people I would have wanted to.  For a month I had been telling you I would be back to your shop to buy this and that.  I had planned many more conversations, bringing even more friends and enjoying a few more cups of your delicious mint tea.   Maybe I could sneak out for one last run and buy as much as I could.  Clearly, it did not work out how I had hoped.

By now I am sure you do not even know we have left, still stuck inside every day.  Maybe the silly kids that came to visit your shop every week have completely slipped from your mind in the midst of all of this.  But I can tell you we certainly have not forgotten about you.

Thank you for your kindness and for welcoming us to your country.  We appreciate the time you spent with us and the conversations we have had with you.  Hopefully, one day soon, we will be able to return for one last goodbye.

Thank you for everything,


Kendra Murray is a Secondary Education major at the University of New England.

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