We drove down interstate 80 across Illinois, Iowa and clear flat across Nebraska. Down along the rocky hills of Colorado we were greeted by rows of sunflowers waving in the evening sun, welcoming Mountain Song home. North of Jicarita, surrounded by the sunshine valley, we made it. This is Native country. To us, escapees of the industrial reservation, this felt like home.

Being part of the love of my life's reunion with her culture and the ancient ways was the greatest gift I could have received before leaving this vast continent. Seeing the mountains while she danced with the pueblo was like the milky way glittering in the night sky. Our laughs were never so deep, our smiles never so wide, the sage and kota, the rivers, and family so warm and sweet.

As I'm now 5,300 miles away from this place and Chaunè, Mountain Song, tears swim in my eyes. They don't fall, they only tease my eyelids. Sitting in my host, and new friend, Khalil's room in Casablanca the world and the people come slowly into focus. Ive now been in Casablanca 5 days. I will be here at least until the weekend. Longer than I thought I would, but when you meet good people, like my host, you stick around. Likeminded badass people are hard to come by in this world.

I read online that Casablanca is a cosmopolitan city. A taxi driver will quickly tell you that the biggest mall in Africa is located here in Casa. On the train from the airport you are greeted immediately with the consequences of this so-called cosmopolitanism, the bidonville. Little bodies standing upon heaps of refuse, children and old men sit and run through what back home would be called a garbage dump. Debris and homes are almost indistinguishable to my American eyes. You pass through this until it evolves into small farm-like settlements, then you reach the rows of hundreds of 5-10 story buildings and small shacks that line the edge of the railway. It is an industrial city, a port city, with its sea dotted with cargo and cranes. The fishermen are of a different stock. Khalil brings me to one of his favorite spots in the city, it is along the port. Fishermen toss and box the catch from their boats swaying in polluted water, we flick cheap cigarettes into the gutter. It is as close as I have been to nature in these 5 days.   

I could tell you about the grandness of the Hassan II mosque, or the taste of tanjine, the narrow streets of the old medina with its rooftop cafes. I could tell you of the rows of men sipping coffee and tea along almost any street within the city, the suffocating streets shared with shivering horses, the commute of the young and old- 7 to an old mercedes benz. Maybe I would describe to you the smell of the sea, shit, and exhaust, the businessmen and the countless women begging accompanied by pitiful children. I might describe to you the bustle of the streets on saturday night, streets filled with stalls of goods and families, the beachwalk on the upscale side of the coast, or perhaps the scenes of unloading trucks and their keepers at 6pm on a weekday, the dirty colonial buildings that rise above those waiting in line for the grey-taxi to take them on the 30 minute drive to Sbata, or other working class neighborhoods.

But I would prefer to tell of the dreams of the courageous young men and women I have met. The dreams of leaving, of questioning, of being different. Of being free. To be around such energy, especially creative energy is uncomparable. When you can talk with one who fights for their sanity in song and expression, when you meet people with passion strong enough to go against many odds, you stick around. When it is against the guns of the state that you are who you are the soul shines like the north star, a guiding light to those lost. Your drawn in, reminded of something deep within the will of those who are cast aside. It reminds me of my students back in the US. Beautiful black and brown students that continue to shine in despite of it all.

So I'll be sticking around longer than I thought. I read online that people leave casa as quickly as they can when they come to Morocco. It's not what they were looking for. But I've found why I left on this crazy fellowship within the first day. I laugh with my luck. My only regret is that the brilliant minds I've come to be inspired by can't leave with such ease as I. But without a doubt, as sure as the sun rises, the type of soul I've witnessed with my new found friends  comes through. We, those of the haluci nation know that for damn sure. And you should google that if you don't know.


IAM because we are