Thursday, July 9, 2009

Morocco Makes Me Smile

At our Inter-Service Training in Marrakech, one of my training mates Joy came up with a great idea to keep us all focused on the positive. She posted a sheet of paper for us to collect those things that make us smile in Morocco. Following is a list of what was gathered, along with some additional ones of my own......

Arriving at the taxi stand to find 5 people waiting on one more to leave, old men walking hand in hand down the street, Moroccan greetings, sitting at the corner café, 4DH Harira, ymkn, lunch w/the Coop women, roosters, bubbly water from Oulmes, hiking to the source, gnaoua, free nails from the druggeri, transit drivers who hold the van when they see you coming, women doing “sport” in headscarves, spring wildflowers, Ham-du-li-lah, kids who understand our Arabic, merhababikum, finding a western toilet and tp in a bathroom, 25DH to sleep on the roof of the Cascade in the Fes medina, the gorge between Sefrou and El Menzel, 4DH ns ns, miluwi, Skype, fresh ripe veggie selection at souk, donkeys, clementine oranges, watermen, being invited in for tea, women in pjs and slippers with headscarf and apron walking hand in hand down the road, pomegranates, getting locals' prices, Moroccan women when they dance, finding mozzarella cheese, storks nesting on mosque minarets, view of the zlul, Moroccan generosity, the smells of souk, peanuts, Inshallah, sugar, turtle blankets, zllij, poppies, fresh unrefined olive oil, puppies, riada mornings, free food, internet in my house, unexpected friendly conversations, soccer with the boys, the snowtopped Atlas Mountains, care packages from home, young guy in sleeveless jellaba and pink slippers at the café, fresh ripe fruit, rooftop parties, rotisserie chicken and French fries, figuring out old time/new time, intricate geometric designs, did I mention Skype, sheep, a warm shower, Fatima working her magic to fix the looms, gtng Arabic txt msgs fm mccn bffs usng engl txt, and last but not least, Joy makes me smile.

I told one of my training mates I’d post the website he created for the artisan he’s working with. As I write this she’s exhibiting at the International Folk Art Festival in Santa Fe New Mexico. You might also recognize her as the dynamo who helped us in Beni Mcoud as the new Cooperative took shape. Check it out at

Just off Skype w/Joanne-so glad we had a chance to talk. You amaze me with your strength and character.

And as I am posting this, I’ve just finished packing my bags for a quick vacation-4 days in Tangier visiting my friend Samira and her husband. She grew up here and I know her from LA. She and her husband have a new condo in Tangier and are visiting family there. I’m very excited to see her and see Tangier thru a native’s eyes. Up early to catch transit to Fes to catch the 4 ½ hr train to Tangier.

The sun has just set-just heard the call to prayer-twilight on the horizon, nice breeze coming in thru the open windows-where I can look out to kids jumping off bricks downstairs next to a lot where a flock of sheep are grazing. My Morocco. Merhaba.

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