Thursday, 24 April 2008

The Story of the Olive Trees

The house is surrounded by olives trees. And we are lucky. Because, you see, there was a massacre.

It happened in the 1980s. A terrible drought took place in Morocco. The watermelons, the zucchinis, the wheat that used to grow in the fields couldn’t grow anymore. People began to flee the countryside to live in the cities. Fez, Meknes, and Casablanca, gained tens of thousands of inhabitants. Those who stayed in the country had to find a way to eat. Their fields were dry. No water, no wheat, no watermelons, no zucchinis. So they cut up their trees, to sell the wood. Their nourishing trees, their olives trees. It probably was very sad. The hills, which were covered with trees, became all empty.

But the trees continue to feed the people. From breakfast to dinner, the trees are in the plates. No great meal without the tree in it. It something I had to learn here. Eggs are not good if they aren’t covered by one inch of olive oil. The vegetables in any tajine also have to soak into olive oil. So if you plan to come and see us, you'd better like olives!

So, back to our house. A few trees were left. Survivors of the big drought. Fortunately, there are some by our house. But they are not our own. They belong to the granddaughter of some pasha. Rich people who were never hungry and didn’t have to cut their trees. As you can see, those old trees are really beautiful:

We also planted some olive trees, from old branches. Well, they grew. Now they’re two years old. And there are flowers on them. So, potentially, olives. Except that… weather has been exceptionally windy lately, and it’s not good for the olive trees. Flowers fall on the ground, and there will be fewer olives.

It’s very cute though, it looks like stars in the dirt :

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