Morocco’s Royale Gendarmerie helped us after being mistreated, harassed, and falsely accused of having COVID-19.
My husband and I are Americans who traveled to Southern Morocco to spend part of April and the month of May at a tranquil escape by the beach after finding ourselves stuck here due to COVID-19, with no place to go after arriving at the beginning of March. The quarantine period within Morocco was supposed to be over the 20th of April which was precisely when we planned this trip, but this week they extended it for another month. We reserved the house several weeks’ prior, obtained the necessary authorization from the government to leave – papers that were stamped and signed, and packed up all of our belongings, before setting out on a 6-hour car journey from Casablanca to a complex of villas located between Aglou and Mirleft called Club Evasion.
Immediately upon arriving, we were faced with unexpected and unprecedented difficulties. We had picked up the keys to enter the house from the owner and drove to the entrance of the club. At the entrance, my husband spoke with several local men working there, all of whom were not willing to let us inside. For two hours, we patiently waited for them, as my husband showed them our authorization documents, but still, they paid no attention to us. Instead, they left us waiting there, exhausted and distraught, and wondering if we would even have a place to sleep for the night. They gave us no reason as to why they wouldn’t let us in, except for the fact that we are Americans, and that they are scared of the United States because it currently has the most cases of COVID-19 infections in the world. However, we were planning on continuing to practice social distancing while here. Not to mention the villas are located 20 meters from one another and we have been in Morocco for almost a month and a half since leaving the United States.
While waiting to enter the club, the employees working at the entrance went and spoke with the man that built this complex– who is in fact not the boss. This French man built the complex and sold it several years ago, but he is still living there and running a gang of workers that are harassing people. He exhibited prejudice and racism against us. This is an example of the toxic mentality that is still alive to this day. There is a strong sense of perceived superiority that still exists, and it is very upsetting to see. We have every right to enter and stay at this house, according to the law. We reserved and fully paid for this villa from the owner himself and we prepared all of the necessary documentation for our stay. We also received news that he published a false article about us in eljadidanews.com, claiming that we have COVID-19, with absolutely no proof or evidence. That evening, we were finally able to contact a very kind family friend who owns the restaurant Mimid Club, located on the property. He let us inside from his entrance so we were able to enter the house we rented, several hours later.
The next morning, we woke up to yet to another unexpected surprise, the water was cut. Especially in this present day with COVID-19, we need water to wash our hands more than ever. It is completely inhumane to take away such a basic need from human beings. We couldn’t wash our hands, use the restroom, or cook. This is very unsettling, especially in this time period with a global pandemic ravaging the world, that people were making huge efforts to harass us, first being refused entry and then taking away a basic human right. Moreover, being treated in such a way, especially during this time period when we need to stick together, is extremely disheartening. The only positive aspect of this situation was the kindness that the Moroccan Royale Gendarmerie showed us. When they arrived at our house, we told them all that we had gone through and they were so kind and comforting. They immediately helped us and turned the water on. It greatly comforted us that at this time when we were desperate and extremely upset, that they were able to step in and provide not only assistance but compassion while doing their job.