Being a Translator For a Crisis In Another Country

When traveling in a foreign country, there will always be dangers, but it is possible to enjoy travel and minimize the risk by never walking in a less populated area alone. This is an excerpt from my travel journal while living as a translator in Fez, Morocco in North Africa. Along with the translator, there should be carrying of the hearing aid to other country. The selection should be based on hearing aid reviews.  The charges of the product should be under the budget of the travelers.

“Last Thursday, I was in my room and the front door buzzed. (I have one of those cool phones that lets you talk to the person at the door, but you have to go downstairs to unlock the door) My roommate came back upstairs and said, “They need a translator, Shelly’s been mugged and stabbed”. The adrenaline kicked in and so did my French. She had left the school to come visit us for the afternoon tea and a young man rode past her on his bike, stopping in front of her and pushing her down with the bike. She fought him as he went for her large bag and he pulled out a knife and sliced her hand and grazed her arm. The pharmacy below our apartment immediately began wrapping her hand and calling a car to pull over and drive us to the private hospital where her mother was a surgeon. I stayed all night while struggling to understand words such as “tetanus” and explain everything that was going to happen. Since then, I’ve made every acquaintance at the pharmacy below who wrapped her hand that was slashed, the hospital where her severed tendon was reattached, the police station where we filed the case, and the commissariat where we identified her robber.

The line up was not explained to us and we were expecting the room with the height chart and the one-way window. Instead, they brought 7 men with blindfolds on in to our room. They ask Shelly if she could pick out the attacker. She explained that she saw the man’s eyes and that she wouldn’t be able to pick him out if his eyes were covered. We felt very uncomfortable because it was a small room and they would see us. We also knew that they gathered these men from our neighborhood. That meant that they would see our face and remember us when we passed them in the cafe, grocery store, chicken market, etc. I turned my body since a translator doesn’t need to see necessarily. The Moroccan police searched nonstop to find this guy and his trial is tomorrow. I have learned many interesting things being in the middle of all this: this place (city of Fez) works like a network where everyone knows everyone and where to go, undercover cops are everywhere and they are now our “friends”. The chief of police gave me his cell phone number and told me to consider him as his brother. I called him this morning to explain that it is not our understanding that suspect line-ups happen outside the door of our house after the police came to Shelly’s door with a new guy held forcibly in the back of the police van. He said it wouldn’t happen again. Shelly is a young American from Texas who had only been here 2 weeks and was mugged when she was walking through a field alone because it was the fastest route between the school and our apartment. We have all learned an important lesson.

The interesting thing is, I expect for the police to show up at a hospital after an operation for an attack, but some guys from the Bureau of Tourism showed up too – they’re very afraid that an American being slashed will affect their tourism. They went as far to say that this was not a Moroccan who attacked her, but a black man from down South – Moroccans wouldn’t do this, they insist, even though Shelly was saying it was a young Moroccan man. I explained that this could happen anywhere, even in Texas – to which they agreed. I said, there are bad people everywhere, even here in Morocco, but there are even more good people and they all helped us today and we feel even more safe here knowing our neighbors- they understood and stopped insisting it was a black man.

So, all is calm once again – the police are searching the suspect’s house for any of the things that were stolen from Shelly (purse, passport, driver’s license), and we are adjusting certain habits of ours such as not carrying our passport, and wrapping a scarf around our shoulders that might hide any object we might be carrying anyway.”



Julia Arostegi lives in California USA. She took Developmental Communication at the University of California and finished her studies in 2012. She is currently the managing director of California Magazine. She is also a blogger, content enthusiast and a photographer.