Saturday, June 27, 2009

My Friend in Meknes

During our tour of Meknes, I met a gentleman at the Roman Ruins of Volubilis. As he tried to sell me postcards while the group heard information on the various structures, I tactfully shifted the conversation away from the postcards. I was more interested in his knowledge of Moroccan emigration to France. Although my French is rusty, we were able to have a productive conversation. My friend Kereem has not been to France but he has many friends and relatives that live and lived there.

I was informed that because of the current economic situation, many Moroccans are fleeing. The number of jobs have declined in France. Kereem also mentioned that the undocumented are the hardest hit by the recession. He told me that there are government campaigns aimed at deporting undocumented Moroccans. Sound familiar? And, the legal Moroccan immigrants are losing jobs. That is forcing many Moroccans to leave France and ride the recession.

That, however, is having a negative impact for some Moroccans returning from Spain. Since the educational system is in French, these Spanish Moroccans are at a disadvantage since their French is poor and their Arabic is no better. Plus, many of the youth are not used to live in Morocco. They are are confortable of their European livelihood.

Morocco already has a 15 % to 20 % unemployment rate. Jobs are scarce and with the growing migrant population of sub Saharan Africans immigrating to Morocco; the job market will not be able to handle the surging demand.

Kereem is not an educated man but he works selling postcards trying to make ends meet. The good thing is that Kereem works in a tourist location. He has busloads of tourists come through Volubilis daily.

I hope to learn more about the growing number of immigrants coming from sub Saharan African. I want to know more about their trek to Morocco and their struggles to get here. When we go to Tangiers, I intend to interview immigrants waiting to try their luck to enter the EU.

Volubilis was wonderful, but I want to focus on my research question as much as I can.

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