People of Marrakech #03 [en]

Having tea with friends

This moring, shortly after sunrise. Half an hour from Marrakech, the Atlas mountains on the horizon, closed to the dried out “Oued Tensift” river. There is a smell of chicken shit in the air and somebody burns plastics nearby. This f…cking hotel really is in the back of beyond.

I step outside. Follow the road towards the village. There is something which looks like a dump but it is a enclosure for turkeys, made of old tires.

An old man in a log robe stands on the edge, he is looking towards the city of Marrakech. I greet him. ‘Bonjour’ he responds.

Then a woman in a red headscarf appears in a door and calls something in our direction. I think they know each other, but she waves me over to her. Her son appears. I enter the door.

Is this the stable? Or a backyard, is it a hall, a workshop? All around are upholstery, it branches off another room that she wants to show me. There are sheep and goats in it. Little Aziz proudly shows me a lamb. She calls her husband. That’s when I realize I’m standing in her living room. To the left is the kitchen, the room to the right is the stable.

We go under a curtain and into the kitchen, drink tea, and there is bread that we dip in olive oil. We try to talk for a while. Aziz, I estimate him to be 8 years old, pick up his toys. There are two pistols.

The roles are well rehearsed. Their hospitality is overwealming. Communication is only possible in fragments. The contrast between the hotel’s rooftop lounge and the farmer’s kitchen could not be greater.

The son draws my attention to the fact that it is now my turn. The man is ill and he needs expensive pills. I do not know what he says, but I understand what it means, “you are rich, we are poor, you are our ATM.” Which is right. In some way.

Mohamed and his family let me share their lifes without any reserve. They ask if I will come back tomorrow. I don’t know what to say without giving a promise I will not hold . Maybe I gave them too much money. Maybe not enough. I go back to the hotel and then I drive to the city. To buy books. And colorful pens. For Aziz.

[back to my series #peopleofmarrakech]

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