This weekend our family invited us to attend a classical music concert with them at a music conservatory. We were excited that they invited us, especially since classical music is something the family members bond over (our host brother Ziad plays the piano very well!), so after spending the day at the Oudayas and shopping in the medina, Lizzy and I joined our host family in the evening for the piano concert.
While waiting for the concert to begin, we asked our host family about Moroccan perceptions of Americans. Sidi Mohammed answered with one word “kabir” (meaning “big” in Arabic), and Ziad elaborated on his father’s comment by explaining that Americans are generally overweight and wasteful. Lizzy and I agreed with their honest comments that Americans consume a lot in both food and material goods.
Sidi Mohammed and Ziad’s comments reflect what most of us in the group have observed: that Moroccans waste very little and do not generate a lot of trash. Almost none of the food we eat each day is pre-packaged; the ingredients are purchased at the local stores or picked from our host family’s small garden and prepared in our home. After the large meals, our host family’s plates are cleaned of all food. This emphasis on freshly prepared food, not pre-packaged, and the lack of trashcans within the house and on the streets has forced me to reduce the amount of trash I create. I hope the “less wasteful” lifestyle I’ve adopted here in Morocco will be a habit that continues even after returning to the United States.