Jeanette in Morocco: Serendipity

Throughout my time in Morocco, I’ve met some incredible people all by simply being in the right place at the right time.

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Meet Ahmed! I am currently working on a documentary short film about the threats Morocco’s famous tile industry is facing. One day, my print partner and I were planning to visit an artisan school, but our cab driver mistakenly took us to a pottery shop instead. However, the place was beautiful and still related to our topic, so we decided to stay and explore. We stumbled upon Ahmed, a man who has worked for 40 years in the tile industry and owns multiple shops now. He invited us to sit with him and we ended up staying for hours, drinking coffee, listening to his crazy life stories, and laughing really hard. He even showed us pictures from his 20s when he starred in a movie with Sean Connery! We never got to the artisan school that day, but it has been one of my most memorable days so far.

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Meet Rochdi and Azar! The one thing about being on a SIT field-study program is that your program is made up of only Americans so it can be challenging to get to know locals. However, I think befriending locals and doing local things can provide a more authentic abroad experience. My American friend and I met Rochdi and Azar one random morning on the beach. They offered to watch our bags while we went swimming and then we returned the favor. Then, somehow we ended up staying on the beach until sunset, teaching each other lingo, showing each other music, and laughing at stupid things. They’ve become some of my closest friends in Morocco and I honestly can’t imagine this experience without them!

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Meet Driss and his family! Driss (far left) is the main subject of my documentary. I only had three days to film in the tile factory and it was difficult to pick my subject being that they spoke no English and I know very minimal Arabic. I went with my gut and picked Driss because despite the rigorous, physically demanding work he was doing for hours on end, he never stopped smiling. After visiting his family and learning about their story, I’m confident I made the right choice! I was also moved to tears during some of our interviews when the translator shared with me that his whole family is illiterate and Driss dropped out of school at the age of 7 to start working in the tile industry to support his family. To this day, he is their sole stream of income. I’m so honored to know him.

 

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