Like other eight years old Moroccan children, I was playing soccer with all the kids from my neighborhood in the street. It was 4pm on a hot summer day when the event that changed the course of my life occurred. We were despised for blocking intersection, yelling hysterically and running barefoot everywhere, but still, my curious little eyes never missed the glances of hope we were given by the oldest people, the hope that someday we will be somebody, the hope that someday we will achieve what they never could.
I come from
, a place where all the paradoxes meet. A place where 5% of the six million people who constitute the population own 95% of the wealth. Casablanca, Morocco
Growing up in that city built up all kinds of emotions, strengths, and weaknesses in me, but it mostly embellished my pride and my ego.
My father was the mayor of a little town near
called Benslimane. The town is known for its farmers and its exceptional contribution to the Moroccan economy due to its outstanding agricultural production. Casablanca
My father who once was also a farmer was one of the rare countryside who got to not only live in the city, but also in the world since he went to
to pursue his education. Paris
When he came back home, he held the title of the “visionary”. Progressively, he worked his way up to the top, leading him into becoming Mayor of Benslimane. But it is well known that men are vicious in their nature, and power leads to harm.
My father quickly robbed the treasury of the town and asked for political exile in the U.S, leaving my mother, my three year old sister, and my two year old self behind.
I do not remember much, but the first years were the toughest, from what I heard.
My grandfather embodied the role of a father, and I never felt like I was missing paternity. He was my father, and this was the absolute truth to me.
Today, with retrospect, I am well acquainted with the fact that he wanted integrity, pride, kindness, responsibility, leadership and family because he feared that day in which he would have to leave me. He feared death as strongly as he knew it was inevitable.
“You are a man son. A man never abandons his family. Now its tougher for you…you’re dealing with women. You will find out that they like to over think and complicate everything but they are precious. They are as precious as life, you are a man and a man is no quitter-How old are you?”
He smiled tenderly run his fingers through my curly hair. “Now, go kick that ball as far as you can”
This was not the only piece of advice he ever gave me, but it is the first thing I think of when I retrace my life. This was the last advice he gave me before a heart attack took him away.
I realized that day that maybe I was promised to a great future. Maybe I would be somebody. Maybe I would honor the great man who raised me, maybe…Maybe? No! I will. I have supported three women in everyway I could for the past ten years.
I am their protector because it is my duty. Because my grandfather’s last breath gave life to my manhood. It is my legacy.
Today, I am applying to schools for engineering. My values, my thinking, my past and an education in something I am passionate about are a combination likely to brighten my future so I can actually kick that ball. Not as far as I can kick it, but as far as it could go.
Me? I am limitless. There are no boundaries to a mind fed by values, principles, pride, love and passion…I am limitless.