My eleventh grade class boarded a plane from Aberdeen, Scotland to Marrakesh, Morocco with one goal, to make an impact on the lives of the locals. Little did I know, how greatly our tour guide Mustafa, would impact my life. "Yellah! Habibi!" Mustafa's voice was so loud that it could be heard throughout the Atlas Mountains the phrase meant, "come on my friend". When he first told us his name, we looked at each other and smiled because in the movie "The Lion King", the lions name was Mustafa. Although this began as a simple coincidence, parallels were quickly drawn between the two. Both were wise, caring, and natural leaders.
Mustafa's wisdom was evident as we trekked through the mountains; he like most of the Moroccan people was extremely loose on time. Imagine if we arrived at a doctor's appointment in the United States anytime we wanted instead of our appointment time? It would be disastrous. I questioned Mustafa about his leniency on promptness. He replied, "If I see that the group is having a good time, I will not take them away from it. We can always make up time". As a student, this sounded ideal. I was imagining telling my teacher, "I didn't do my math homework because I was having a good time" and that being an acceptable excuse. The wisdom of focusing on the experiences that make life worth living, as well as, the tasks that need to be done in order to be successful came to realization for me.
Next, I was struck by how caring Mustafa was. He took us to many villages high in the Atlas Mountains where everyone lives happily in poverty. Soccer is the most popular sport, but there are no soccer fields. We brought along a soccer ball to play with the local children on a mountain where there was a plateau and rocks were used for goals. It was extremely humbling to see how happy the children were even though they have so little. Realization of how much I take for granted began to sink in. When we asked Mustafa how they survive on so little, his reply was that they share. Since leaving Morocco, I have been more thankful for the blessings in my life and for Mustafa for helping point that out to me.
Lastly, leadership skills are very important for a tour guide, and when hiking many miles a day in the mountains, teamwork is vital. Mustafa was constantly encouraging my classmates and I to help those who were falling behind, and to share what we had if needed for the good of the whole. In my school, I started a club where musicians can come to collaborate with one another and practice for upcoming concerts. As the president, I try to mimic Mustafa's leadership and will continue to do so in my future endeavors.
I am thankful for Mustafa's wisdom, his caring attitude, and strong leadership. These attributes are ones that I have been striving to improve upon since returning from Morocco and I am looking forward to taking them to university and developing them further.