Morocco – Lasting Impressions – A Young Man Named Driss

Every now & again, we meet people img_7817who leave a lasting impression on our hearts.   Our lives are richer in some way, just for having met them.

I would be remiss in my recollections of my travels to Morocco if I did not write about the young man who left such a lasting impression on my heart; our guide, Driss.

Perhaps it is because I have a son so close in age, that I looked upon this young man with such admiration for what he has accomplished in his life.  Driss touched my heart deeply, both as a mother & as a friend.

dscn3526Born in a remote village in Morocco, he was one of 9 children.  Losing his father at the age of 11 meant taking on a load of responsibility that no young boy that age should be expected to carry.

Despite the burdens thrust upon him at such a young age, he managed to bear the weight of that responsibility with the maturity of a man way beyond his years.

Recognising the value of education, through hard work & determination, he managed to put himself through school, including university.  No small feat, given the circumstances.

There are 2 university systems in Morocco, one is public & one is private.  The latter is known to be a better education system, but for most Moroccan families, it is not attainable from an economic standpoint.

Attending university would impact Driss in life-changing ways. The opportunity to further his education, to learn English (just one of several languages he has mastered), and form a friendship with another young man, Youssef, who would open up opportunities he had not even considered.

So what was it about this young man that caused me to feel that he was so special?

img_7687

Driss with 2 young boys in Ramlia.

It was upon our meeting Driss on our first day, that we were made aware of what a gentle spirit this young man possessed.

Getting to know each other over a coffee in Chefchaouen, we were approached by a young boy selling a chotsky in the square. We declined his sale, showing disinterest in what he was selling, but Driss engaged in conversation with him.

Speaking softly to the young boy, eventually he reached in to his pocket to make the purchase of a key chain.  We were surprised by this & asked Driss why he agreed to purchase a key chain.  It was the first time he would share with us that he was once that boy, selling what he could, in order to help bring money home to family.

An all too familiar reality for many families in Morocco.

img_7710

Driss spent about 15 minutes with this young boy at the Friends of Nomads school, before finally encouraging him to join him in the alphabet & colouring.

A few days later, we found ourselves driving on a small road when a young boy all but stepped in front of our vehicle.

Instead of expressing anger, Driss rolled down his window & called the young boy over to speak to him.

Once again, he handled this child with such warmth & genuine care.  Recognising that he was simply hungry, Driss offered him food that we had in the vehicle, all the while quietly explaining to him the dangers of his actions & that he should never put himself in harm’s way.

On yet another occasion, when leaving his village after our visit with is mother, he asked Ahmed to pull over to speak to an elderly gentlemen sitting out in front of his house in his  wheelchair.

Grabbing his hand, he engaged in conversation with such loving appreciation & respect for this elderly man.  Although we did not bring it to his attention, we watched as Driss reached into his pocket, to tuck a little something into his palm before leaving.

Time & time again, we would witness Driss handle situations, particularly with children, with a grace & a patience that comes from an understanding of what it meant to be in their place. My respect for him grew with each passing day we spent together, often leaving me speechless as he openly shared his life experiences with us.

To say that we felt Driss went above & beyond, is an understatement.  His kind & thoughtful gestures were endless.  They did not go unnoticed on our behalf.

img_7659

Preparing a surprise lunch for us in the middle of the desert.

Finding a donkey in Ramlia because Fatima expressed she would like to ride one!

img_1450

How many people does it take to get one Canadian woman on a donkey!

Dancing with the Gnawa tribe.

img_1437

Driss, me & Fatima enjoying dancing with the men from the Gnawa tribe

If I were asked to characterize him, I would describe Driss as one of the most exceptional young men I have had the honour of meeting in my life.

He possesses such a gentle spirit and has a heart the size of the universe.  He is soft-spoken, with a calm demeanor.  He is intelligent & wise beyond his years.  He is proud yet he is humble.  He is strong in his beliefs yet open-minded enough to consider alternative ways.  When he laughs, his laughter fills a room.  He is exceptional indeed.

img_7680

One of my absolute favourite shots of Driss & Ahmed with the girls. In the middle of the dessert, stopping the car to take this shot, we almost peed our pants from laughing so hard!

img_7679

Driss appears to be floating on air while Ahmed is doing the missile!

Saying goodbye was a bittersweet, tearful departure, met with lots of mom hugs & bits of advice.

Driss, to reinforce what I said to you on the day we parted ways, never question what a remarkable young man you are.  Seek joy in your life to make you happy, find courage to pursue your dreams, look for opportunities to be all that you can be.

Know that you are always welcome in our home & we would welcome you with open arms.

My heart is fuller for having met you my friend, my Moroccan adopted son.

Sending you love & Mom hugs,

Ayesha,  a.k.a, one of your moms in Canada!

 

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Wanderlust and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Morocco – Lasting Impressions – A Young Man Named Driss

  1. roseanna vachon says:

    Again, thank you for sharing. It brought warmth to my heart, tears to my eyes and a smile to my face. Hugs to you.

    Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the Rogers network.

  2. sueslaght says:

    Oh my Lynn what a wonderful tribute to this young man. he indeed sounds exceptional. Your life all that much richer for having traveled to Morocco and for meeting Driss.

  3. Lynn says:

    I am ever grateful for the opportunity to travel, but am especially grateful for having met this young man. He truly is an exceptional person & one that is so deserving of the praise. Always appreciate your positive comments & perspective:-)

  4. What an exceptionally beautiful experience, but then again, it takes an exceptional eye to have seen it as it was. I love every word of this part of the trip.

    • Lynn says:

      I so appreciate your praise Robyn, given the exceptional writer that you are.

      I have been accused of becoming too invested in people at times, but alas, it is who I am. As I have gotten older & wiser, I seem to be more in tune to those who make a difference in my life.

      Driss is an extraordinary person, a young man so deserving of my accolades. He literally left me speechless some days in witnessing his kindness to others.

  5. restlessjo says:

    Wonderful the impact this young man has made on you, Lynn. He sounds quite remarkable. I’m sure he will have a happy life with the fine spirit he possesses.

    • Lynn says:

      He really is Jo. Life is difficult for many in Morocco, with limited opportunities available. This young man has worked very hard in his short 30 year lifespan & is so deserving of good things coming his way.

      Thanks for stopping by today:-)

  6. joannesisco says:

    What a touching tribute! That was beautifully expressed!

  7. Lynn says:

    Thank you so much Joanne! I truly appreciate your kind words:0)

  8. Pingback: Morocco – The Road Less Travelled! | Life After 50

  9. Lynn what a beautiful post you have written. To have someone like Driss as your guide really would have enriched the experience. Looks like it was a great trip. if I remember rightly I have read another of your posts from this trip and it also reminds me I must explore your blog some more. I love the photos and especially the one of you all jumping in the air.
    I wrote a post about our porter guide which I am happy with the result too.
    https://theyearitouchedmytoes.com/2016/06/12/everest-base-camp-trek-our-porter-guide/
    Louise

    • Lynn says:

      We laughed ourselves silly over that photo Louise. As you can see, Driss has great height in his jump, with very little effort. He is a very special young man & our trip to Morocco was enriched by his company.💛

      I will be sure to check out your post! Thanks for visiting.

  10. Pingback: Morocco – Unwinding by the Sea in Essaouira | Life After 50

Please don't be shy, feel free to get in on the conversation & leave a reply!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s