Jeff Smith noon, March 8
- Community Blog
How I ended up in Marrakech Part 2
I decided I would return in 2011 and participate in the Caravane. On my 60th birthday in 2010, I set a box in the corner of my party, asking my friends to contribute to my voyage, if they wished. I had printed out copies of the Reflections article written by Francoise and people at my party were reading it. When the party was over, I discovered that my friends had donated almost $800 US dollars towards my trip. I had told them that I would use ½ for my airfare, and the other ½ I would give to Jamila for her use in operating the caravane.
As the year progressed, I began having pain in my right hip, and was afraid I would not be able to physically take part in the Caravane. I got an email from Jamila that her sister Bouchara was coming to visit their childhood friend near my home. On Thanksgiving Day 2010, I went to meet her and their friend Souda, and gave her the money intended for Jamila so that she would still have it for the 2011 Caravane as I planned. At the beginning of 2010 my hip was not getting better and I decided that I should not make the trip that year. After medical advice, it was determined that this pain was something that I would have to live with and tolerate—I could not have surgery, but could take shots or pain medication to relieve the symptoms- which I chose not to do. I was happy that Bouchara had visited so I had fulfilled my plan to help with funding.
I began to focus on the Caravane for 2012. I began contributing to a retirement fund out of my paycheck, and tried to live on less money and a budget for the first time in my life. I was afraid that I would not be able to afford to go back to Morocco. At the beginning of the year, I decided I was definitely going to go no matter what, and booked and paid for almost everything I could control, outside of food and some ground transportation. I told Jamila via email that I was coming. In February I wired the money for the Caravane to Francoise, and began planning my trip.