Taking a cab to the beach in Tangier, imagine my excitement when both my son and I had the opportunity to ride horses on a Moroccan beach in Tangier. Both of us were scared at the beginning but enjoyed every minute! Thirty minutes of pure joy and fun for less than four Euros!
As a child, I used to love animals, especially tigers. I used to dream of having a tiger as a pet…Children’s imagination is such a beautiful thing, and it is too bad we lose this as we grow older.
So horses became my second favorite animals in real life. Horse riding remained a childhood dream never pursued until much later in life when I became an independent woman and could afford horse riding lessons.
I was not born with a golden spoon despite what others may think. I experienced living minimalist at a very young age, remembering biking in the rain and picking strawberries in the mud at the age of twelve, from 7 am in the morning until late in the afternoon. So I could buy my own cool stuff and belong in high school as the fear of continuing to stand out was paralyzing.
Who knew I would thrive on standing out years later!
Horse-riding in Europe is very different than horse riding in North Africa, in this case, Morocco. For one, the horses reflect the poverty of their owners and often suffer from malnutrition. As an empath, I suffer when I see animals in need, and I always fight with the owners who are confused.
Why is this woman more concerned if the horse is being fed while I don’t even know if I can feed myself and my family tonight?
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that about 815 million people of the 7.6 billion people in the world, or 10.7%, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2016. Almost all the hungry people live in lower-middle-income countries. There are 11 million people undernourished in developed countries. Malnutrition is the cause of 3.1 million child deaths annually or 45 percent of all child deaths. This Hunger fact sheet will give you some insight on how millions of people struggle to survive because their primary needs for nutrition is not met.
My reflections on a Moroccan beach
This day I reflected a lot on poverty and why some are blessed and so many are not. I remembered the times during my childhood when I felt poor in The Netherlands and rich during a vacation in Morocco.
Everything is relative when we measure wealth in terms of material possessions.
I reflected on the time in the United States as part of my GMF Fellowship where I experienced enormous gaps between rich and poor in a country that is supposed to be a leading hegemony on the global stage.
I reflected on families, like my mother now, who is living off my father’s pension and still has to provide for my brother and his son. All, for less than 800 euros per month. Still, she could not be more grateful for all that she has. Peace of mind is all that she desires.
I reflected on families with children who too live off less than 800 Euros per month and struggle to provide for their offspring in the digital age. And these are the families who live on the same continent and even the same country and city as you and me.
I reflected on families who have no income and who depend on agriculture for income; agriculture often defined by the laws of nature. Many go by with little or none during periods of droughts with starvation as a result.
I reflected on refugees in camps who lived a wealthy and fulfilled life, just like you and I. Until hell broke loose and everything they knew to be true vanished in a blink of an eye. Now, many struggle and fight for survival. Mothers who are unable to feed their little ones, a feeling I am unable to comprehend and pray I will never have to feel.
I reflected on those seemingly wealthy on the outside but broke and dead on the inside. Those who lost everything and are too proud to share or ask for help. Until desperation kicks in and we read about it in the newspapers.
I reflected on those who have everything they can desire, yet darkness overshadows their entire being. Depression and illness prevail as people lose their sense of belonging and profound connectedness with humanity in the digital age.
I reflected that many people across the globe are poor in some way or the other, whether financially or spiritually. Many people live out of touch with who they truly are. Many people die not having lived or worse: having lived according to society’s expectations.
When we look at all that we lack, we will never have enough. When we are grateful and content with what is, that’s when we attract more. There is nothing wrong with seeking or wanting more. Just use a mindset of abundance and contentment when you do.
Train your mind to think in terms of gratitude for what is. Train your mind to separate thoughts from your reality.
When tsunamis of life overwhelm you or when you hide behind algorithms of technology, remember that you are breathing and you are alive. And as long as you are alive, you are greatness ready to shine in a world of darkness.
Stay tuned for Day four where I will share my experience of witnessing modern slavery first hand when I disconnected with screens of addiction.
Stories from the heart
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