What to do?

      Denise and I meandered toward the center of town this morning about eleven o’clock.  We were practicing the more relaxed schedule I mentioned earlier in the week.  After having taken a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, a little later Denise wanted to complete her shopping in an area where several of her more favored shops are located.  We walked past a cafe where we had breakfast yesterday, had enjoyed our time eating at a sidewalk table, and decided we could appreciate the cool breeze blowing in off the Atlantic just a few blocks away by sitting down and having a glass of orange juice.
      Soon after we placed our order, a young Moroccan couple sat down at the next table.  Not more than a couple of minutes later a very strange event occurred.  There was no traffic on the street next to where we were seated, it being one of many streets closed to traffic due to the construction of a tram-way system in the central part of Casablanca.  All at once a young woman, maybe mid-twenties, collapsed right in the middle of the street directly in front of where we sat, and appeared to be unconcious.  We sat for a few seconds and Denise stood up to go check on her, but the couple nearby and another person all moved to stop her, and told her that the woman was not really ill.  We sat for another minute or so when a man and woman arrived from the other direction, saw her, and the woman quickly knelt to help the woman who had ostensibly fainted.
      The woman noticed a drug aspirator conveniently located a couple of feet in front of where the person had fallen.  The woman who wanted to help took the aspirator, inserted it in the fallen woman’s mouth, and administered a couple of doses of the medication.  Almost immediately, the woman seemed to be quite alert, and within a minute or so regained her ability to stand, and walked toward a store on the other side of the street with the Good Samaritan couple.
      The couple seated near us in the cafe chuckled, reporting they heard the woman who fell ask the couple who helped her if they could give her some money to buy medicine since the aspirator was nearly empty.  “You see,” the man said in rather broken English, “that is her work.”  After another couple of minutes, the woman emerged from the store at a very fast pace, seeming being pursued by the owner of the store.  She had made a remarkable recovery.
      Denise and I talked about what had happened and if we had responded correctly.  We had to admit that perhaps the other folks at the cafe understood the situation better than had we.  Moreover, my immediate assessment of their uncaring attitude seemed to have been quite wrong as I discovered before they left.
      From time to time while in a cafe, I will see a street person either ask a person who is finishing a coffee or tea if they can have the last swallow or two left in a glass or cup, or as is more likely the case, they simply wait until the person leaves and drink whatever is left before the table is cleared by the waiter.  The couple next to us was approached by such a person and I saw the man hand him his glass which held a little bit of coffee.  Then I saw him pick up a couple of croissants and a petit pain left from their breakfast and hand them to the street person as well.  I suppose they were not as uncaring as I had first imagined.  It’s difficult sometimes to know what to do!
       We got up to leave and I asked the waiter how much I owed him.  He said 24 dirhams, the same amount I had paid yesterday when we had not only orange juice, but coffee and a croissant as well.  What to do?  I told him that’s more than I paid yesterday as I handed him the twenty dirhams I had in my hand, thinking that would be plenty.  That’s O.K. he said, and settled for the twenty.  Had I paid him less than I actually owed?
       As we crossed the next street we were confronted by a mother sitting on the sidewalk with a sleeping baby in her arm.  She extended her hand in the begging position.  The presence of a baby always makes it more difficult; I gave her a couple of dirhams and remarked to Denise that maybe I received partial redemption if I had beaten the waiter out of four dirhams I actually owed.
       We discussed a little more what had transpired in the previous hour or so and admitted that although we know quite a bit about this country, we often have not a clue in certain situations about what would be the best action to take.  What to do, indeed!

Fred

One thought on “What to do?

  1. It is great story… You may want to take some video/photos of these events as they happen… and post part of you blog post… it will make your blog come live with these story…

    Have a good trip… how many more days you have left?

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