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Location: Aarhus, Denmark

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Leid Sghir... happy moments

My new site mate, Mona and I spent the first holiday morning of Leid Sghir - celebrating the end of a month of Ramadan fasting (we weren't, they were ;) - by touring the neighbors' houses. If a it's possible to get drunk on mint tea and cookies ... we did. By the end we were groaning and looking at each other with these eyes, "no more, please, no more... ?"

My good friend, M'barak, from the campground ... happy to be home for once and pouring tea to a literal stream of visitors. The entire time we sat in the Bue Omar home, we held a cookie or cup of tea in one hand, and performed various greeting rituals of kissing shoulders, kissing hands, kissing cheeks, tapping our hearts, and gushing "Labas, Bixer, Mabruk Ahawashik, Laya bark fik! Mabruk Leid, Laya Bark fik! Labas? Bixer? Humdullah!" (Translated: I'm well, I'm fine, happy holiday! Happy Leid! Thank you and God bring blessings on you too, you are fine? You are well? Thanks be to God!) to dozens of strangers and acquaintances. Often when we moved on to the next house, we'd find ourselves greeting the same persons again.

Fatiha and Mona

(Mona is my new site mate. If she looks Moroccan, it might have something to do with the fact that she's half Guyanese and half Egyptian. Martin, my other pseudo-site mate is full Guyanese. What are the chances? Poor Mona is often mistaken for a Moroccan, meaning people might shove her around quicker than me and go on about her Arab blood and how she should fast ... but they also might accept her quicker than I.)

Little Hamza.. he's grown up in the two years I've lived here. He was so proud of his fancy new outfit.

Nawal ... she's been a good friend to me. Though if I ever want to visit her, I know I have to head over to her family's kitchen where she will be slaving away preparing every meal for six to a dozen people at any given time. In her spare time she goes to harvest feed in their palm plot for their new cow and donkey, or cleans house. That is her life as the remaining unmarried daughter (in a household of probably twelve children).

Fatiha's father makes us bamboo furniture (shelves, baskets..). She is twenty and still has two or three years left of high school but hopefully plans to finish. And then get married.

We wrapped up with a long, lazy lunch at our host family's house.. it's fun to have another "sister" in the family now.

My wonderful family (except Iman, Ikram and Baba Houssane): L to R: Soumia, Nzha, Me, Si Mohammed (Nadia's husband), Nadia, Mama Kbira (it's her real name and literally means "big"), Nawal (engaged to a French guy now), baby Rahab (Nadia's), and Mona.

Including Mona, Mama Kbira has eight daughters now!

Me with the adorable (albeit spoiled rotten) little munchkin, Rahab. We couldn't get her to smile for photos unless I tickled her tummy.

The Little Princess and her mama's cell phone


Anonymous mohamed said...

Happy eid to you.

12:31 PM  
Blogger Hisham said...

Hi there! very touching photos.
How have you come to adopt morocco, a priori a very distinct country from yours. Is there a religious drive? sorry if you feel I'm a bit too indiscreet... or may be I should just mind my business?

3:15 PM  
Blogger Marie-Aude said...

Hi Rachel, hope you're doing fine.
Don't forget to drop by Ouarzazate if you have time :)

11:48 AM  

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