22 Aug Moroccan first Impressions
Upon arriving to Marrakech, I was greeted by Hicham, the driver who Andrea & the Abury team arranged for my pickup from the beautiful Marrakech airport. He greeted me as a friend, which he would later explain he felt to be part of his faith, and handed me a bottle of ice cold water. Even at midnight this was very appreciated and felt like a simple luxury in the heat of the night.
My first few days where a blur of new people and places. I have met more fascinating people in five days than I have in the five years before. It is easy to believe that this city attracts only the most creative & ambitious. While there is a sense of mystery and danger around every corner, all the locals who I would now call my friends have been nothing but encouraging, engaging, helpful, and warm.
My first explorations of the Medina streets and markets have been an experience out of any world I have known before, but at the same time so many subtle details feel familiar. Every conversation, every sight seems to provide a new insight into an ancient culture. When I walk through the narrow streets it is easy to find people who want to talk.
Most of the time, they want to sell you something, but every time they are happy to tell you about their city, its culture, and their thoughts & feelings. Listening to the craftsmen, shopkeepers and the little ‘Baker Street Irregulars’ (kidz who will lead you to where you want to go for a ‘generous’ donation) one thing has become clearer to me every day: We are all far more similar than we are different. It seems that no matter what you believe, where you live, how or who you love, or why you do what you do, we all hope for pretty much the same things. This puts a big toothy smile on my face every time.
A craftsman already very familiar to the Abury family is Mr.Omar, who embroiders his craft in the traditional Berber style. Watching him work in his tiny little shop, too short to stand up in and sweltering in the heat of the day, I see a man who is proud of his craft. In his care & attention to detail, one witnesses the sort of love that can only be seen in work that is done because it is loved. That sort of passion is everywhere here. I only have to walk a short distance, from one tiny stall to the next, to find a level of dedication I personally find inspiring.
I am coming to terms with the task laid out in front of me, and with just how challenging the goals I have set out for myself will be to achieve. With the wisdom & dedication of the fantastic team I consider myself lucky to be a part of, and the passion and creativity that seem to swell from every corner of the city, I feel confidant I can succeed. Every call to prayer I hear reminds me of the faith I have in myself, my crew, and my mission.
I am so anxious to begin my work here in Marrakech. My heart races with excitement like an engine on the redline, I’m ready to go.