Morocco, Interrupted

To Our Real Heroes!

As I reflect on my shortened experience in Tangier, I wish I could have said a proper goodbye to all the good people I met.  Even those experiences I didn’t entirely enjoy at the moment, I would go back and reexperience in a heartbeat. For example, I feel the need to somehow give back to the nurses at Croissant Rouge, especially during a global pandemic.

When I first began volunteering at the Croissant Rouge, I didn’t want to be there because it was so hard to communicate with people with no English words in their vocabulary. There were so many questions I wanted to ask but couldn’t because of that language barrier.

Each day, my goal was to try and learn a few more words in French and attempt to apply that to the nurses and patients. One of the phrases I taught myself was, “L’infirmière doit être de retour bientôt,” which translates as “the nurse should return to you shortly.” The phrase came in handy because I would usually find myself in a white physician’s coat sitting behind the nurse’s station. Visitors naturally assumed I worked there and would ask my questions I couldn’t answer.

Over time, I found myself in the rooms of patients. I didn’t get to do a lot physically since I was mainly there to observe, but it was still interesting to see the different cases doctors and nurses deal with every day. There were even a couple of times that I got to help move a patient onto their bed or take their blood pressure.

The minute I found myself beginning to enjoy my time there, it was all ripped away from me. I didn’t even get the chance to say goodbye because, due to the sudden outbreak of the COVID-19 global pandemic, I found myself leaving Tangier. An experience that was just beginning to become something special was taken away forever.

I would like to wrap up this note by addressing all the nurses there by saying “Shukran” for all the work you’ve been doing through this global pandemic. Although Tangier itself doesn’t have many known cases so far, I’m sure that the clinicians and nurses are seeing more and more people every day who assume they have contracted the virus.

I still find it sad that I couldn’t say a proper goodbye to the nurses at Croissant Rouge or my pharmacist, but someday I’ll come back to say my proper farewell. For now, I would simply like to give a shout out to all the doctors and nurses around the world by saying, “YOU ARE OUR REAL HEROES!”

Anthony Chase is a Medical Biology (Medical Sciences) major at the University of New England.

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