Today in Oujda has been the most powerful and disturbing day of our trip as our group encountered the real-life conditions of so many sub-Saharan Africans living in Oujda as immigrants. Our day has challenged us to balance the extremes of life - the extremes of wealth versus poverty, the extremes of having answers verses being filled with questions, the extremes of being filled with great joy versus being filled with great anger.
This morning we began our day at our beautiful hotel in Oujda with a European breakfast outside by the palm-tree lined pool followed by a time of devotion and sharing about our hopes for this day. We then split into two groups in order to visit immigrants who live in areas on the outskirts of the city. It was through these early morning experiences that we encountered real stories about the long-journeys of men, women and children fleeing from their countries because of economic disparity, war, famine and other heart-wrenching testimonies. The reality of our privilege as Americans and as wealthy, white foreigners became quite apparent as we met with these who fight every moment of every day not only for survival, but to be recognized as a fellow human beings worthy of love and mutual respect. Our morning disturbed us into challenging conversations and to begin to imagine how in the world we accompany these who suffer. At the same time we questioned how to challenge the very systems that imprison so many sub-Saharan Africans.
During the afternoon and early evening, our group met with key partners who work with the Oujda CEI team. The OMDH (Moroccan Human Rights Group) and Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) play important roles in helping the basic needs of this Africans in Morocco. Our conversations with them provided more understanding as well as new questions for how we can interact with other partner agencies in Oujda and beyond.
Our day ended with a nice meal for us to debrief and discuss what has weighed so heavy on our minds and hearts today. We are leaning heavily on one another as well as God's spirit to guide us. May we be found faithful with what has been shared with us on this day.