Near the large bus station in Rabat against a stone wall above which the railway has been built, a small tent camp has developed over the past few years, where mainly sub-Saharan immigrants such as Senegal, Ghana, Gambia and Ivory Coast try to survive. I would say more a tolerance zone than a tent camp. Here they gather in the evening after they have been fanned out in the morning over the streets and intersections of Rabat. The growth of this place keeps pace with the growing number of immigrants entering Morocco and increasingly wanting to try their luck here. Partly because the gate to Europe is more hermetically closed than expected and partly because people think they can have it better here than at home. In addition, there is also a large group of Syrian refugees. I notice that it is often women with children. Along the side of the road they hold up papers with Arabic texts on which their Syrian catastrophe is undoubtedly expressed at the same time waving their Syrian passports. With the aim to give me and other road users the feeling that giving gets more urgency. I believe that the novelty of their presence along the edges of the road is finished, as witnessed by the same indifference with which they are now being treated by motorists. Does that sound cynical? Dulled? Maybe that sounds like that, yet I never get used to it even though it is the daily reality in a daily street scene on almost every street corner.
Over the course of the years I have given less to the beggars who shuffle past my car window. It is the constant flow of this army of beggars that make me powerless. Who do you give and who do you skip? Until after a while you notice that you have to do what you like. So give in belting, not well thought out. In short: they depend on my capriciousness: Do I feel like giving or not. That’s how it works for me. I can not make my own inability more beautiful. And so many get nothing and a few are the lucky ones. It must feel like a lottery for them. I have often wondered when driving home where they go home with at the end of the day and so made a calculation: If you are at a busy intersection where cars need to stop every five minutes for a traffic light and you get at every stop of just one car one dirham then you pick up 10 -12 dirham in one hour and almost 100 dirhams in 8 hours. And Friday afternoon you’ll be standing near a main road to the mosque, so that you can spawn the mosque-goer, favored by prayer, at their most soft moment. That is a bonus on the week earnings, I think. Statistics sometimes turn rosier than it really is. And often they are with four or five at a busy intersection, which makes the rinse thinner. Statistics makes life no less harsh or terrible. A small child of five selling tissues between those big cars feels really different than figures on paper.
In conversations with friends, They paint me picture that, with my calculations, I assume a minimal scenario. “Begging is a profession to many and can be lucrative.” It remains difficult to let these words sink in. The begging has shadowy aspects: the abuse or the deception. Stories go around. Brokers who rent children to beggars because begging with children simply yields more. Simulating wounds or disabilities without there being anything. Even people who beg while they do not need it (anymore). Recently I spoke to someone who told me: ‘Look why do some people always walk in the same area? Because they have subdivided the district. They beg and the boss who oversees the neighborhood gives them a basic income. I’m not naive but sometimes I do not want to know. Simple: At the front end giving without all those thoughts. If I already give. The back end is too harrowing.
A Syrian friend of mine here in Morocco wanted to help Syrian refugees.
“I’ll get you a job.” They were reluctant.
“We need milk for the baby.”
‘Fine, come and buy together in the Marjane.’
“No, that’s okay.”
“Then why do you ask for milk? And where do you live? ”
“In the mosque.”
‘Which one then ? Let me know then we will look for a place to live. ‘
‘No that is not necessary. We will soon be moving to a house. ” He notices that two of the women speak Moroccan very well. They also speak Syrian, but Moroccan among them. They now run away whenever he goes shopping at the Marjane supermarket. He came too close.
I know a disabled Moroccan man. Literally picked out of the gutter by the director of the project where I work as a volunteer. He now has a job at the foundation and a small income with which he can maintain his family. He had begged before. “Now I think he still occasionally begs on the street. It provides him with extra money and he can use it well. “Without a trace of cynicism and with the fullest understanding of what it means, the director of the foundation says this. And why not? If I impregnate my naive attitude with a hint of cynicism, or as others would say with realism, then I would just help in 50% of the cases that I give someone. From such a thought, naive or not, I collect hope.