I arrived in Morocco defensive and closed off, walking with first clenched, standing tall, eyes down, trust no one, but little by little I softened and opened up and judged morocco by my own experience, my own real life evidence and the more I softened and opened up, the more morocco gave me. I was shown such kindness and generosity and curiosity and also an education for my own ignorance and naivety. A reminder of my privilege. I’ll land on my feet, no matter what. I’m white I rule the world, awareness of this is important. I cringe at white tourist rudeness. Yes you get hassled, we have so much money, even the poor student traveler is rich. For those in the tourist industry, we are their livelihood, they are trying to get by. The majority will not have the opportunity, the privilege to travel. I regret arriving with prejudice already in me and for not waiting to judge myself. A good lesson. The world is your oyster when you’re a white Australian.
On one of my meanderings through Sidi Kaouki, a small surf town south of Essouria, I stopped to chat with the horse-men who were selling horse rides to tourists on the beach. I had noticed how healthy and happy the horses looked. They who offered the chance to see the ranch where all the horse were kept, along with other birds and donkeys etc. I met Oussama the next day at sunset. I don’t know if he was there because he was waiting for me specifically, but after I arrived he helped me on to one of his beautiufl horses and we rode to the ranch. While riding the moon hung low, ahead of us, bright and yellow and I felt like I could weep because of the beauty of it all. Oussama, who can’t be much more than 18, introduced me to his Uncle, who owns the ranch, and all the animals who live there. We shared tea and laughed at my bad Arabic pronunciations.
The next morning I met Aziz and he asked me to photograph him riding in exchange for photos and a horse ride.
Shooting these horses, Aziz and Oussama, riding circles around me, for me to shoot. I was buzzing, lost in the moment, feet wet in the surf, shooting frame after frame until the horses needed rest. Oussama and Aziz both invited me for Tagine to say thank you. Oussama got in first and I was glad, he’s sweet and gentle and smiles a lot. Aziz, although nice enough is harder, harder too with his horse and I caught him looking me up and down as if I were a horse.
Later I hitched back to town and Oussama was waiting for me. He put me on his grey horse and we cantered/galloped on the beach and back to the ranch. The grey horse a dream to ride and I felt safe riding along with Oussama. Dinner came a little late and I was tired, but touched by the hospitality of Oussama and his uncle.