Our first encounter with Berber hospitality

Asguine Travel Blog

 › entry 7 of 24 › view all entries
The Berber family we stayed with
We took the car on a road out of Marrakech going towards the Southeast to a town called Oukaimeden. Outside of the city we were surpirised by the number of people walking along the road, or just hanging out selling their pottery or other goods. Like people in the US go to the park on a sunny day, the whole community was just sitting outside next to the highway, kids playing and donkeys hauling vegetables. It was crazy basically.
It was almost sunset, so we stopped by the side of the road to take a picture next to some nice cactus plants where there was a great view of a village on the opposite mountain. As soon as we stopped a small Berber boy, Bausi, from a village on the mountain we were climbing with the car came towards us.
Again, from left to right my dad, me, Mina with the baby, Bausi, and Hasna
He offered to show us his "maison". So us, intrigued about how a Berber tribe lived agreed to follow him up a path towards his small village. On the way we were joined by Bausi's cousing Adrousak, they took us through a number of small streets through houses all made of the same earth. Everyone we passed smiled and looked really friendly. We got to his door and went into his house where his father, Monsieur Brahim, welcomed us and brought out a low table and some stools to sit on. As soon as we entered I saw a close similarity with the house of my great grandmother who had lived in a peach growing town in Aragon. A small central outdoor courtyard gave way to two doors, the kitchen/living room, and the bedroom. There was also a small area closed off in the courtyard that I would find out later was the water source/shower/toilet.
View from the house

It was difficult to speak with Bausi and Brahim because neither knew French very well, and we probably knew it even less. The wife Mina came out shortly with the traditional round bread and butter and marmelade. Also Bausi's sister and baby brother came out to sit together while we ate the bread. Then also there was mint tea, which was delicious the first time...
The tea is really good but in a way that is so sweet, that after being offered it after finishing off five portions I couldn't take it anymore. Adrousak's father came into the house looking for his son, and then ate some bread himself before leaving.
After everything had been finished Adrousak wanted to show us his house, so he took us a bit farther up the mountain to his door and showed us in, this one had the same set up with an outdoor main area.
Bausi, Adrousak, and their cousins
he showed us how under the house was a kind of stable where they kept a cow and sheep, the cow had a baby as well which he wanted to show us, so he brought us down to his aunt's house who owned the cow. They also welcomed us in and showed us all the animals. Then they showed us into a place where a table was set up, and brought us some Berber omelette and bread. her husband was the town electrician so he showed us a tv which he had, the only one in the village. And he put on some Berber festival dvd so that we could hear the traditonal music while we ate. After we had finished, the two kids brought us back to Adrousak's house where they fed us again, and the entire family came to eat. All three houses which we had visited were emptied of their occupants as they came to eat with us.
Because the area is dry and good for olive trees, the food was all fried and accompanied by a kind of pita bread. There were no plates and no silverware, we all ate by getting peices of the bread and either putting the food into with our fingers or gripping the food with the bread and forming a sort of sandwich. If we had done this in my house i would probably tell everyone they were being rude and not to touch my food, but for some reason I was not creeped out or weirded out at all and we all ate unitl everything was gone.
Then they brought out melon. I ate a few slices and was compiling a pile of the outer skin of the melon in front of me, but strangely nobody else had any. everyone was eating slices, but there was nothing left after. then we found out that everyone was just throwing the skin of the melon into the stall with the cow after they ate it. but for a moment I was thinking they had all eaten it.
They invited us to stay overnight and because it was dark and we had no reservation, we agreed. We slept in the room that Adrousak's family usually slept in but they wanted to leave the room just for us, we told them they didn't have to go sleep somewhere else so they let Adrousak stay but the parents left, nad probably slept with one of the relatives, but I am not sure.

I loved being able to see how the loacal people in Morocco live, i feel like nowhere else other than the Arbaic world do they have this sort of berber/islamic hospitality. I'm sure if we hadn't insited that we had to go very early the next morning to continue our journey, they would have invited us to live there, which I would have considered.
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
The Berber family we stayed with
The Berber family we stayed with
Again, from left to right my dad, …
Again, from left to right my dad,…
View from the house
View from the house
Bausi, Adrousak, and their cousins
Bausi, Adrousak, and their cousins
Asguine
photo by: Ann_Hells