Friday, January 25, 2013

Finally our first couchsurfing experience in a village in middle Morocco

After being given an ad-hoc host in an unfinished concrete block in outskirt Marrakech and bombarded with trip itinerary, we were hesitant about enthusiastic hosts who accepted our request too quickly and expected us coming sooner than we planned. It may mean another chance of a host using couchsurfing for tourist business. We were glad to meet a real couchsurfer hosting us in a village for two nights.

It is called Sidi-Flah, ten kilometres from Skoura.When we asked for host in Ouarzazate, Lachine invited us to Skoura. Thinking that it was just 30km from Ouarzazate, along the direction to the east and Tineghir, we went. He was very enthusiastic about our coming and texting us about the time for bus. It is hard to reject the enthusiasm. When the bus was full, we paid triple the fare to take shared taxi to Skoura. Then we met him and were told that his village is another 10km further from Skoura. His cousin and him took us in their motorcycle to there. It was an adventure to carry the heavy backpack and the back of the motorcycle and ride along rough terrain. It was mostly rocky dessert; the early evening sky was purple and the rocks were red and purple.

We were greeted by many curious look from the villagers when we arrived, guessed we were the first Asian they saw in the village. It was already dinner time when we arrived. Lachine’s mother made a good targine and we were well-fed. Although we had told him that we would prepare dinner that night as we had some rice, onion and carrot, with eggs we can make a good fried rice, with her good heart and targine we left our cooking for the next night. While eating, he was checking the TV signal for the African cup match in which Moroccan team were playing, but in the village there was no signal, so did our mobile phone, we missed the game. We still had conversations to share. We talked and did not realize that the living room we had dinner and watched TV was also the sleeping space for the mother, who has been waiting if we felt tired and ready to go to bed. She was careful not to tell us that she wanted the room and to sleep early. Lacchine’s father also appeared but by practice the father does not enter at the middle of a dinner in family and he had dinner by himself after praying in mosque. Lacchine told us there would be some work to do and we were eager to help out. We had an early night of sleep and expected a village life the next day.

On the next day we woke up at 7:30am and found that the mother had prepared breakfast for us. There were bread, jam, honey and olive oil. We were so enjoying the natural products, especially the olive oil and the honey, and ignored the French-branded cheese. Expecting some work to do, we went with Lachine to the nearby hillside to see the shepard with the sheep and goats. It was not easy to let the adult sheep off, leave the lamb behind for better feeding, because the latter always wanted to go out with the adults. I had some hard time chasing after the lambs around the hillside and catching them back. We saw how the shepard, who escorted sheep of several families for grass, did his good job: keeping different groups of sheep apart, throwing a stone at the right position to scare a sheep out of boundary back to the group, going gently near a lamb and pick it up without effort (remember I was chasing one around the hill), and feeding the two well-grown sheep for the coming selling while scaring other hungry sheep away. I think of Jesus my Shepard doing similar.

Finally Lachine took us to work, we walked around the fields and saw how different areas take turn in different seasons on growing lawn, maze, vegetable etc. Then we also went to the river with non-biodegradable rubbish on both banks : baby diapers and plastic bags. Latter we realized that he meant to take us for a walk (not work). It is a good experience to see local life and the effect of modernization to this part of the world. For the rest of the day we just lazed around at home, because it was a festival on the birth of Mohammad and there was not much transport going out and most shops in the town should be closed. It was a good chance for us to rest. Maria tried a very local hammen. I finished some blogs. At that night we made some fried rice and it was this family’s first time to try some chinese food. We are glad that they enjoy that, especially the mother. Later the family brought us to a pre-wedding party of a neighbour where Maria finally had her first henna and I enjoyed the local music and percussion.

The last day the mother seemed to miss us and gave mother a stone as gift (we cannot take that because of heavy luggage) and a headcloth (which she used for wedding, it was so precious that we should not take it either). Therefore we took pictures. We left the village with a local collective van and Lachine accompanied us to take the bus to Tineghir. We missed the simple quiet life in the village and only because of couchsurfing we can enjoy that. We thank Lachine's family so much for their generosity and hospitality, we really hoped that Lachine could visit us one day.

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