Let me begin this month of stories from my time in Morocco with a little explanation of my preparation. You see, when I decided it was time to visit again, to serve the street children in some way, one of the main concerns was my safety. We made sure I found a safe place to stay, that people had all my contact information, and that they knew when I was leaving and returning, as well as a tentative schedule and plan of my time there.
As I prepared to leave, I was reminded of the importance of arming myself. And as a single woman, traveling alone, working in the streets of Tangier, I needed armor.
But I didn’t go with a heavy shield. I didn’t go with a defensive weapon. I didn’t go with armor that didn’t fit me. Instead I went with open arms, and two simple necklaces that adorned my neck reminding me of my purpose and of the joy and love within me.
With this armor, I walked with confidence.
The first necklace was a gift from my dear friend, Shanda. It was made up of three simple silver circles with three powerful words engraved on each ring – Mother, Daughter, Friend. She wrote that the word “Mother” was a reminder of the mother’s love I have for these children, the way I care for them and go after them. The word “Daughter” was a reminder that I am a daughter of the King and no matter what the men said to me or how they treated me while I was out in the streets, to remember that I am a daughter of the King, and nothing can change that. The word “Friend” was a reminder of the friends who are praying for me and the children there.
Who would have thought that such a delicate chain would hold such weight. It provided strength.
It wasn’t until after I arrived that I received the second piece of armor. I remember that moment I stepped off the ferry, smiling and full of joy to have returned. I made my way to where I was staying and within that first 30 minutes I was quickly reminded of the way the hissing noises, kissing sounds, and disrespectful glares and comments made by several men just hit me with a punch of disgust. I felt the weight of the reality of what I was doing. But as I neared my hotel, I heard the peaceful voice of a gentleman calling out to me from his shop. His voice calmed my spirit and I smiled and laughed as we talked. He just wanted to thank me for the joy that I had. He said that there was something different in me and just thanked me for bringing that there. He then asked me to come with him into his shop and I figured he was going to try to sell me something. But instead, he brought out a necklace and gave it to me just as a thank you and then helped me check into my hotel.
This simple interaction reminded me of my purpose, the joy and love I have and want to give as I play futbol or share food…or just walk the streets. I was there to Love…
I placed these two precious necklaces around my neck, each day, as I made my way through the city with my food and futbol. This was the armor that fit me just right. For it wasn’t too big, and it didn’t hinder me from the personal interaction I desired to have with the people of this community. Instead it allowed me to open my arms and allow the real me to be seen.
And this is just the start of all that took place…