After a 24 hr trip to arrive, Carmen and the driver were waiting for me as I exited customs. We hit the ground running as we had only a few hours to get up to speed before Carmen had to catch her flight back home. A filmmaker, Raphael Benito had been flown in from Madrid to document the project and he wanted to capture the transition. So we were up until the early hours discussing the technology and the various ups and downs of how things had gone so far.
In the morning I met the local artist, Akram, that Carmen had hired to decorate the donkey cart/mobile media center. We attached some images in vinyl I had brought representing various problems such as “empty shops” and “homelessness”. We asked the artist to envision his interpretation of the American problems we were using and also use symbols that he thought represented “America”. Just as the project does in general, we wanted the cart to reflect the way other cultures see us.
The following day we had hoped to take the donkey cart into Marrakesh but had encountered a number of problems concerning permits. Apparently we needed several — one for the cart, one for videotaping and another for having foreigners inside the cart. So while Samya pursued the permits we instead headed out in the cart into the neighboring village, stopping at various points to talk when people approached us to find out what we were all about.
In addition to these spontaneous discussions from the cart, each day we met with different groups to gather our Moroccan solutions to American problems. One of the most striking conversations was with a group that had heard about our project and requested that we visit them. It took about a half hour drive through small villages and down dirt roads before we found ourselves on the edge of a field next to an olive grove where about fifteen men were waiting for us in a circle of chairs under the trees.
After I introduced the Ghana ThinkTank project and read the problems, one of the men began to quote Nietzsche “ truths are illusions that we have forgotten are illusions.” A very animated discussion ensued that wandered from philosophical to practical. “Were there multiple truths or just one truth?” “Asking your parents advice gives them a sense of being important.” “How do you know there was truth in what Nietzsche said and how do you discern the correct course of action from the Quran when there are different interpretations.?” “Remind young people they will grow old as well.” The session ended with a comment that gave us a good laugh : “You know Sartre said “the other is hell” but for Ghana ThinkTank the other is the solution!”