by Shannon Amaadar
The country has gone into a full lockdown. Even with so few reported cases of the virus, the government knows that the system just can't support a situation like what's been seen in Italy.
Spain and France are close. Morocco receives a lot of tourists from these countries, and it's also where a lot of the cases have stemmed from. With rising cases in those countries, closing borders and canceling international travel in and out of Morocco happened swiftly and with little warning.
We've been given official papers that grant us permission to go to our local shops and get groceries, medicine and go to Dr appointments. We're ok to walk through our neighbourhoods, but travel within the city without a good reason will get you arrested.
There are many people who have been arrested already for spreading fake news and conspiracies. This kind of information is detrimental to the efforts being made and the government isn’t tolerating it. YouTubers, journalists and anyone with a platform who is spreading misinformation is arrested, questioned, and either fined or jailed.
Myself, well I've found out that staying home might have been just what I needed. In spite of being confined to my apartment, I actually feel some relief. Anxiety levels have dropped, tension has eased, and cloudy thoughts are beginning to clear. Its great for the time, but it’s only day 4.
When I go for walks around my neighbourhood to get some air and pick up some necessities the streets are eerily silent. The regular noise of kids walking to school and cars honking their horns have all gone silent. Business after business is shuttered up along the once bustling streets. The packs of street dogs are gaining the courage to claim more and more territory now that the people have all gone inside.
Through all the regulation and restriction, people are still trying their best to get on with things as normally as possible, a difficult accomplishment. Those who are still working do so now under restrictions and behind masks and gloves.
The culture here in Morocco is very close. Kisses and handshakes upon meeting someone, even a stranger is normal. Not anymore. Now people must maintain distance, eat from their own plate, refrain from kissing as a greeting, and wash their hands almost non-stop. I can only imagine how cold and isolating that must feel for someone who has grown up used to so much contact.
The environment here seems to be benefiting greatly from our absence as well. I can clearly see defined details on the mountains that surround the city. The haze has lifted from the atmosphere and fresh new air has moved in.
Many of the people here have taken the opportunity to go back to their villages and stay with family. This is more like a holiday than a global pandemic. Moroccans always look for a chance to spent time with family, and being out of work due to closures is just as good a reason as any.
As for myself, for now I’ll just wait for more instruction. Wait until I can sit in cafes again, walk the streets and be in society again. If I use this time wisely, I can emerge fresh on the other side. With new perspectives and maybe taking a few less things for granted.
FB page: Meet Me In Morocco
Teachers Resources: Kings English School