Imagine… Imagine you are poor.Not this poor that you can’t afford going out this weekend or to get a new pair of jeans. I mean really poor. Poor that you can not pay your rent and any other costs of living anymore. So poor that you can’t buy 3 meals a day or even a coffee like ur used to do… Poor like the beggars you see in the streets while your going or coming from work, after your weekly grocery shopping, after meeting your friends for a couple of drinks at the pub…The homeless all of us always try to ignore, the ones we don’t want or let’s say avoid to see and try to make invisible. Yes, the ones usually sitting on brown carton mats, if they are lucky covered in blankets or winter clothes, sometimes a dog next to them and sometimes nothing at all. With a sort of little container or a hat in front of them to collect some coins from people like us who feel sorry for them… The kind of people we always or most of the time judge to be drug or alcohol addicted, lazy and useless.


I see them here in Essaouira every day when I leave the house. A lot of them. The homeless living in the cliffs or out of the old Medinas town walls, very old with humps and their wooden walking sticks, blind people sitting somewhere, people in wheelchairs parked on a main road where all the locals and tourists walk around. I see all this poor souls trying to get some money to survive…


I usually give them a few dirhams but there are so many that I can’t do that always or 10 times a day what makes me to feel very bad and ashamed of myself that me, a European who should have enough to help, is not giving anything. I feel sad about it and try to look to the ground or to walk faster. Sometimes I tell them in Moroccan Arabic that I don’t have coins, just to find an excuse to not say no, but I can’t really look in their faces… 


And than we have the poor people who still live somewhere, somewhere in very simple and sometimes horrible conditions.With up to 12 family members in a 3 to 4 room house or in slums outside of the city… All together under the same roof. Grandparents, parents, wife, siblings and kids. Even a shower isn’t always found and washing  yourself, your kids or your laundry in or out of a plastic bucket is very normal… Oh, and we don’t need to talk about health insurance because thats not existing here… If people get sick than they need to pay directly in the hospital, no money – no doctor which causes the dead of lots of people here every day… Medicine, school supplies, clothes, electrics, toys.. Everything is super expensive if you compare it with Europe, the states or Asia.


I really believe that most of Moroccans living here are poor and working very hard to make money for living… 7 days a week, from morning to night, no day off. Selling, catching and cleaning fish, crabs, seashells or snails, cleaning the streets, selling vegetable and fruits, working in little souvenir or leather shops, cleaning hotels, guesthouses or being street musicians, security or parking guards. Most of them finished school between 8 and 12 just to help bringing money home and the older generation never even had a teacher….


Sometimes when I receive guests at my place who want to buy some nice souvenirs or witness some tourists in the streets trying to get everything totally cheap, super cheap, almost for free, than I feel very embarrassed and sad for the guy who sells it because he probably earned almost nothing or just a few dirhams on it. I understand that many foreigners don’t know the real situation here, they just don’t know it better and people always tell them everywhere that Morocco is a country of negotiating, pushing the prices down is normal, like a game, and yes it is but come on, people need to live also… 


Just think about it: While you walk happy home with ur brand new handmade silver tea set you just bought for 15 euros even though the shop seller told you 300, he just earned 2 euros on that, which is even nothing in Morocco…. So he needs to sell another 4 to buy dinner for his family tonight…


What many foreigners don’t know is that an usual income of a Moroccan worker is normally only between 2000-3000 DH (180-280 euros) monthly and than it’s not always guaranteed that they get their payment on time or at all. People working in shops selling clothes, bags and carpets getting commissions of around 25% for everything they sell and no fixed salary. Sitting in the shop all day… That can explain why they try to call you in and pushing to buy something, which can be very disturbing and annoying after a while, I know, but they just try to make a living…


Imagine now you have to live this way… All your little “problems” you actually have , for example with your partner or that you need a new phone because yours is not up to date anymore, are nothing if you compare it to some other “real” sad  life stories. Nobody is able to choose where he will be born and raised up so we should be happy and more greatful for what we have. A good education, clothes and a stable roof over our heads… And we could maybe pay a euro or 2 more when we travel to another “poor” country ….