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Moroccan men and me

posted by Jamila: composing from Florence

Here's a group of vocabulary to which I've never been accustomed...

Man #1: "You are very good and very kind, I promise."

Man #2: "Is he your husband?"
Me: "Yes."
Man #2: "Then goodbye."

Man #3: [to travel companion] "How many camels for your friend?"

Man #4: "What if you my wife."

Man #3: "I'll give you 17 camels for her."

Man #4: "I have big house. Lots of rooms. Garden."

Man #1: "Why Jamila, why..."

Perhaps the only man to see me through a lens unfocused by gender was Man #5, Hassan, a sweet and humble gentleman of middle age, married (clearly happily) and full of good-hearted humor. He drew the below portrait of me. I was charmed.

Jamila is a name I earned from Hassan and his friends. It means "beautiful" in Arabic. But this portrait is hardly the classic beauty of a woman. Morrocan men taught me the most important lesson of all: the value of my worth. Perhaps my exterior beauty can be measured in camels; my interior cannot, nor can it be bought at all.

Thank you, Hassan.

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