Back in September, I had a wonderful two weeks in sunny, warm Morocco. I spent a lot of time taking pictures, which I shared with others through my personal Facebook page and the Gate 1 Solo Traveler Facebook page. It was a wonderful trip filled with fun adventures like riding camels in the Sahara, staying at beautiful, exotic hotels, eating wonderful local cuisine, and (last but not least) seeing goats in trees! It truly seemed that we were well on our way to putting COVID-19 behind us.

Based on my photos and commentary on the Gate 1 Solo Traveler Facebook page, one of the members booked a  trip to Morocco in November. After eagerly anticipating his trip, he departed Nov. 26 and arrived in Morocco on the 27th. His guide met Tony and eight other travelers at the airport and they were whisked away to their hotel in Rabat, which was an hour and a half away.

Upon arrival at their hotel in Rabat, they settled into their rooms and Tony went out to take an afternoon walk in Rabat before dinner and orientation that evening. When the group gathered for their orientation meeting, they were informed that Morocco was closing its borders to all foreigners, and they were being flown home first thing the next morning. Imagine the disappointment they experienced having flown for 24 hours, only to be told they had to turn around and leave. COVID-19’s Omicron variant has sent us back into “lockdown” mode in many countries, as governments struggle to control the spread of this new variant.

I felt so badly for Tony who had so looked forward to his adventure in Morocco, only to have his experience consist of one afternoon’s walk in Rabat. The harsh reality that the COVID-19 virus still holds sway over many of our hopes and plans.

More importantly, I thought about how the border closing in Morocco would affect our wonderful guide, Moha. Tourism sustains well over 80% of Moroccans; no tourists, no income. There is no safety network there, so the closing of the borders imperils the well-being of most Moroccan families. A group from my tour in September banded together and sent a monetary love gift to Moha, our guide. The message I sent him to tell him that help was on the way simply said, “We are all here to love God and love one another. This is the ‘love one another’ part.”

Look around, count your blessings, offer help and encouragement wherever you can in these trying times.

                                                                                In Christ,

Pastor Sharon