Other than the food (which is always one of my favorite things to do throughout the day), I really enjoyed talking with the young farmer today and touring his farm. An identity that stood out to me today within Moroccon culture was their support for the community. As he shared his experience as a younger farmer and businessman, it became noticeable how important serving others in the community and helping where you can lend a hand comes as a result of being a part of that community. Helping plant seeds for a woman who can’t do it for herself or using your own equipment to plow a neighbor’s field while they are sick are just things that they do and a few examples given today. The farmer also illustrated how important it is to him that he gains feedback from his “customers” to ensure that their baskets are the quality and quantity that they would like.
Bentaleb (2013), a writer for Morocco World News and a private school teacher in Kenitra, explains Morocco’s sense of community as a means to keep and further their desire for national unity and connectedness. This also goes with several aspects of Moroccan culture that we have reviewed in ALDR4610 – relationship-oriented, indirect style of communication, emotional restraint culture, collectivism culture, hierarchy culture, and polychronic orientation. It’s the little things that I’ve noticed Moroccan people do (that American people do not do) that show their “deeply-rooted cultural identity with a sense of community that has existed in people’s cultural thinking for generations” (Bentaleb, 2013). The farmer mentioned spending time with his workers by getting to know them while they eat. I have also noticed how every location and farmer that we’ve visited has consisted of taking the time to sit and be present with that person (demonstrated in the second picture), rather than being ready to go to the next thing (as is common in our Western culture). Spending time with others and valuing relationships is a major aspect of Moroccan culture and I also for good and effective leadership.
Although this aspect of Moroccan culture may cause them to be less connected to outsiders/strangers, I’ve enjoyed learning about this aspect of Moroccan culture because it’s not really something we experience in the States. I know my neighbors but I wouldn’t say that I have a personal relationship with them where I would rather go to them and ask for something than go to the store. This trip thus far has taught me the importance of showing others that you value them and conversations with them by sitting down to dialogue (to listen and respond, not just one or the other). I think I do a good job in the listening aspect, but I would like to work on sharing my experiences and communicating on a deeper level with people. To have community involves being open to dialogue and vulnerability so those are things that I would like to work on for the remainder of this trip and beyond.