In previous blogs we talked about the hospitality of the Moroccan population. The meeting we had in Jaffar was very special.
On the way to Azrou we decide to take a piste, the Cirque de Jaffar. The piste is quite heavy and leads us through a remote area in the High Atlas. We realize that it will be a challenge to find a good place to spend the night. After a few hours we see a young man walking and he introduces himself to us. Mohammid appears to be a young shepherd who lives near the place where we are at that moment. He speaks a few words of French and talks about “maison, maison .. thé, thé“. We understand from this that he invites us to come to his house to drink tea. We are now used to this from other encounters.
Mohammid leads the way and after a few hundred meters four Berber houses appear. I have already wondered several times what such a house looks like inside and how people live there. Now we just get the chance to experience this.
Mohammid climbs the front of the car to show us the way to his house. Bump the bump we arrive at the house, surrounded by chickens. His mother has just arrived home, sitting on a mule, loaded with food for the animals. She will make tea for us and we are invited inside the house. First we make our way past the chickens and arrive in the living room, a room of about 10 m2, rugs on the floor, a wood stove on which the teapot is simmering and a sort of kitchen corner with some pans and cups.
With our few words of Berber (or Amazigh) that we have learned in the meantime, we show that we like the tea. After tea we apologize and go back to our car. Mohammid tells us that we can stay there to spend the night. We feel safe and therefore decide to do this.
Mohammid leaves us alone and goes to find his sheep and goats to let them spend the night at home in the corral. We see a huge herd passing by a little later and it is indeed going into the corral next to the house.
It is now 7 pm and getting a bit colder. Our pile of wood on top of the car comes in handy here and we make a nice fire near the car. Mohammid joins us and makes it clear to us that we must “dine” with him. In fact, we have no intention of doing this at all, but we cannot get away with it.
There we are with Mohammid, his brother, his mother and a girl next door in the smoke-filled room, waiting for dinner. The neighbor girl comes with a jug of water to wash our hands and then the food is served. A stew (tajine) is presented in a kind of large, iron plate: carrot, beans, potato, onions and mutton. As a vegetarian, I want to thank for the food, but I am constantly reminded: mange .. mange … To avoid being rude, I say that I am not allowed to eat meat for my health. The word “doctor” and pointing to my stomach help me and I get away with eating the homemade bread. Eating obviously happens with the hands. Water is poured from a large plastic bottle into 1 cup that we share together. When the vegetables have been eaten, mother takes the meat out of the dish and divides it into as many portions as there are people, I thank, of course, and my portion is again divided. Gert Jan eats tastefully from the meat with an indefinite origin.
Around 10 p.m. we can go back to the car and enjoy the immense starry sky that we often see in Morocco.
In the morning we are invited again by Mohammid for breakfast. Tea, pancakes and scrambled eggs are waiting for us. Actually this is way too much food for us but the hospitality is unprecedented….
When we leave, we leave some presents behind, a cauliflower, a bar of chocolate and something they are really happy about, our solar lamp that they need more than we do.
We will not soon forget this special encounter!