As you might know, I decided to travel full-time at least for one year. My plan is to stay in Morocco for three months and explore the country. A month passed already. I considered several times to leave the country. I had such nonsense, weird and horrible situations that I had to ask myself: What the hell am I doing here?? I love Morocco as a country and for all the beauty that it has to offer, but Moroccan some men are making my time really difficult. Already after three weeks, I had enough of Morocco. Let me reiterate, the only reason for having enough of Morocco and considering ending my journey in Morocco is nothing else but these Moroccan men I encountered in the past one month. This blog is a descriptive account of how I lived in the first month of traveling in Morocco. This is not only about how I experienced Morocco as a woman but all the issues that were going on. The things that I’m going to talk about are actually things that were difficult to deal with because of the culture (call it western or call it European) I’m coming from and my background.
I started off my journey with volunteering through Workaway in Taghazout. It was my first Workaway experience ever. I was going to stay in Taghazout for a month helping out in a hostel. However, I only stayed for two weeks. During this time, the manager was in charge of the hostel. When I was there, there were other three Workawayers as well. In the first few days, we didn’t understand how meals work. So after a while, I asked it. In the Workaway profile, we were supposed to receive breakfast and dinner. But it turned out we only receive breakfast as we don’t have much work. Fine, it was acceptable. Less work and less food. As the other Workawayers were fasting, they didn’t need any breakfast. I had only leftover bread with some jam and peanut butter available. The manager only bought just enough breakfast that is enough for the guests. The manager had zero consideration for our breakfast. Not what promised, but fine. I was bothered about it for some time. It’s about the principle. Forget it! Principles might not work here! I was going to leave, but at the same time, I wanted to stay. Anyways, bread with Moroccan peanut butter is amazing for breakfast. 🙂 And of course, I could buy my own breakfast.
At the same time, a couple of days after my arrival, the manager said that the owner of the hostel, was going to return from Finland and it’s better if we all leave. Allegedly, they had many Workawayers before, but they all left after two days, as the owner has such horrible behavior. But the funny thing is that there was no review on their Workaway profile. I talked to one Hungarian girl and a Belgian girl, who volunteered in the hostel when the owner was there. They told me as well to leave before he gets back as he treats people horrible. Fantastic!
On top of that, I didn’t have good chemistry with my colleagues and I felt super alone. I was not feeling well. However, I knew it was my own responsibility to feel better. I put extra effort into improving my emotional state. I started to explore Taghazout, I went to Agadir and Awrir in my free time. I traveled to Mirleft and Legzira on the weekend. I got really sick, but I left for Mirleft as I didn’t want to waste my time with only feeling bad. And I’m happy that I was strong enough to leave. My weekend was amazing. I could freely enjoy my time there. Mirleft and Legzira are places which I left with 100 % positive experience. People were kind and helpful there. Of course, my blog on Mirleft and Legzira are coming soon. 🙂
In the second week stuff from my room in Taghazout started missing. In the beginning, I didn’t care as they were small things. Then, one day my expensive headset was missing. And later I noticed that my 10 or 20 Euro (I don’t remember whether it was 10 or 20 Euro) note was missing from my purse that I didn’t open since I arrived. My room was never locked. The manager of the hostel would always say: Here you can trust everybody. We have a poor pocket, but a very rich mind. It was my mistake for sure to trust this statement. I’ve learned my lesson. The camera showed who took my stuff during my absence. Yes, my headset and money were stolen when I was in Agadir. And my other stuff I couldn’t find after my weekend trip to Mirleft and Legzira. It was one local guy who was hanging around in the hostel all the time. I was going to report it at the police as the manager could not deal with the case. I also discussed the issue with the owner, Nourdine. The manager got really mad at me because I talked to the owner and I wanted to report the case to the police. The owner said that everything was going to be fine when he is back and I should stay in the hostel as I’m doing a great job. However, at the same time, the manager asked me to leave the hostel as I put too much pressure on him by discussing the case with the owner and because I wanted to report the theft to the police. He was swearing at me so much. I never met anyone talking to me like this. Even my young Moroccan colleague told me not to care because this way I’m just causing problems. So I was causing problems? At this point, I had to again face the reality: These people have a very different understanding of the world. I was the victim of theft and because I was trying to defend myself, I was the one causing problems. Yes, one thing I learned during traveling solo is standing up for myself when needed. In the end, the owner paid back my loss and asked me to stay. But of course, after the manager swearing at me, I couldn’t stay any longer. This was a good start in Morocco. 🙂 I felt alone with this situation. Nevertheless, I had to be very strong. I packed my stuff and left for Essaouira. I was ready for a new beginning! 😊 I was very positive about my upcoming trips in Morocco and I hoped for the best.
I spent four days in Essaouira. I loved Essaouira. Overall, I had a good time in Essaouira. I had fun! 😊 If I could just have eliminated some of the local men from Essaouira, it would have been perfect. Just like everywhere they cannot stop bothering me. Not everyone, but there are enough guys who keep annoying me and can easily ruin my experience. Nevertheless, it was not that bad like in Agadir. On the beach in Agadir men kept wanting to talk to me which I ignored. Ignoring makes them super angry. They just started to call me all kinds of things because I didn’t want to talk to them. One guy following me in Agadir wanted my number and he didn’t understand why I wouldn’t want to give him my number and he got angry. In Essaouira, only one teenager guy was following me and needless to say that he got really mad at me because I ignored him. I don’t want to know what they have in their mind, but nothing good for sure. Why was it difficult for me to deal with it? Because where I’m from I’m not used it. Please don’t tell me that harassing women because of westernization, because western men never ever bothered me. Nowhere! Never ever.
I tried to take a lot of photos in Essaouira, but it was not easy. In the medina, they were telling me off and showing me their middle finger for taking photos like they own the streets. The economy of Essaouira would collapse, just like the whole economy of Morocco, without foreign tourists. Therefore, I really don’t understand this measure of rudeness coming from Moroccan men. Moroccan men are really disheartening!!! I came to Morocco to show the beauty of Morocco and enjoy it. However, I couldn’t stop feeling frustrated by Moroccan men. I felt weak. Many many Moroccan men cheat, harass me, disrespect me on the street during Ramadan.
The horseback riding was the absolute highlight of my stay in Essaouira. 😊 I loved it so much. I was happy that it went well. At the end of the horse riding session, the old guy who was my guide for the horse riding wanted to take my number. I said I didn’t know my number so I cannot give it to him. In the end, he gave me his number on a piece of paper. I don’t know what he wanted as he was talking to me in French. He may be offered that he would teach me more horseback riding in private. But he is a poor guy. He doesn’t have his own horses. I was like, what is that, just know your place. I want nothing from you. The reason I went to a ranch because I didn’t want to deal with the guys on the beach offering horse and camel rides. All these little experiences started to add up at this point. What is going on in the mind of these people, I don’t know and I don’t want to know.
The same day I left for Marrakesh. I really hoped the best. I was going to stay in Marrakesh three weeks again as a volunteer through Workaway. This one was also a hostel. It’s located in the medina a few minutes from Djemaa El Fna. It had no review either, but I was adventurous enough to give it a try.
On the first day, I was in the hostel and two female travelers rang the bell as they needed help. They were so desperate for help and looked kind of afraid from the illegal tour guides hanging around in the medina. So I went and helped them to find their hostel as I had internet. Some guys next to the hostel started swearing at me. They kept saying fuck off without stop and staring at me in a really aggressive way that I thought they would beat me up on the spot. I didn’t understand why. I tell you later who such guys are. I went to a shop and asked help just in case as it was hard to find the hostel even with Google maps. I asked a woman, then he asked a man to help us. Then, a second man joined us. When we reached the door of the hostel, the girls asked me how much to pay to the guys for the help. I said: No idea. I think they just helped voluntarily, I don’t think it’s for money. Then, one of the girls wanted to ring the bell of their hostel. One of the guys helping us jumped in front of the bell saying: First, give me some money and then you can ring the bell. Then, a woman from the hostel opened the door and I just left. I wanted to disappear from there as I was uncomfortable being close to this second local guy who joined us. I just wanted to be back in the hostel. On the way back, a young foreign girl stopped me for help. She had the same bewildered face like the other two girls. I checked on Google Map where her hostel was and I showed her the way. I told her I could not go with her because I have to be back in my hostel asap. The same guys on the street started swearing at me again. I just run back to my hostel. Later on, I learned from the owner of the hostel that they are illegal guides who are helping tourists. If the police catch them, they are in jail in no time. Now the question! Why were they mad at me? It’s because I was basically stealing their clients. ☹ The issue is that these guys are looking so aggressive that no western tourist would accept help from them. These guys need serious education to understand that. Ramadan, the holy month, is going well so far! I’m really sorry that this is how the tourists have to experience this month. After this, I didn’t even want to leave my hostel because I was scared of the illegal guides. So I only left the hostel for buying food and I had zero interest in exploring Marrakesh.
So like I wrote I started volunteering in Marrakesh in a hostel. I worked with the owner there. The guy’s name is Sam. It’s probably not his real name. He’s 23, from the Atlas Mountains. His dad is an imam. That’s all I knew about him. He was very nice… actually too nice. He was always complimenting whatever I was doing and always asked whether I’m fine with what I have to do. I said, yes, sure, all good. On the second day early in the afternoon I was cooking in the kitchen and came to me like this:
Sam: Can I ask something? I really wanna ask something.
Me: Yes, sure.
Sam: Can I kiss you?
Me: Of course, no! What kind of question is that? We are colleagues and what makes you think that I wanna kiss a 13-year young kid?
Sam: Ok, fine. It was just a question. – said laughing.
Me: Why do you have to put me in this situation? I just came here to volunteer, practice Arabic and see Marrakesh!
Sam: But it’s just a kiss and it’s cute.
Me: No, it’s not appropriate. No one ever out me in such situation.
I’m still disgusted from him. After this experience I had to come to terms of the reality in Morocco: I must be very careful with men here. I have heard from Moroccan ladies that thing is that Moroccan men get away with all the harassment against women. This is why they never stop.
I’m all about breaking prejudices, but my experience proves that prejudices against Moroccan men are sort of true: that they have little respect for women. Anyways, I made a mistake when I trusted this host without review. Yes, you can call me a naive European girl. I lived the last six years in Germany and I got used to trusting people.
I reported both hostels to Workaway. Both hosts were removed from their website.
In Marrakesh, I called my friend in Sale, and I asked whether I can stay at her place for some time. I packed my stuff again and left for Sale. I’ve been staying here for a week now. I’m really happy and feel highly privileged for having the chance to spend time with her family. I can rest here and recover from the events of the past three weeks. This experience is like a whole different world as I can understand things in Morocco from a different perspective which I truly appreciate. During the day I’m home working on my blog. In the evenings we go out a little bit and get prepared for iftar (first meal of the day in the evening after fasting). On the weekend we also went to Rabat and Sale for sightseeing.
I should soon continue my journey, but for the first time in my life, I don’t even want to go anywhere on my own. It never ever happened to me. No wonder why local women here don’t travel on their own here and men want to keep women in the house. However, these are not solutions for core problems. I don’t want to go into details. So I stop this thought here.
Please, don’t tell me that I’m so sorry that I had to experience this. There is nothing to feel sorry about. If you want to feel sorry, feel sorry for women who live in such countries and have to live with such men every single day and who would not even dare to travel by themselves in their own country because of the men of their own country.
I’m a traveler and decided to leave Europe for adventure. If you travel in countries where men and women are not equal, dealing with such situations is part of the journey. Let’s see how it goes. We live to learn…
I will continue my journey with the lessons learned. I’m still thinking about how to continue it. 😊