Thursday, 15 May 2008

An Oasis in Ouled Mgatel

When we built the water treatment ponds, we didn’t expect so many visitors.

First there were the huge frogs, that dived into the tanks and desperately tried to get out.

It wasn’t long before the dogs also found this unexpected spring, them who are always hungry and often very thirsty too.

A lot of birds came and enjoyed the water and the insects. There are field larks of course, but also a lot of other species, that fly away so fast that we can’t get to know them.

Hundreds of pacific bees colonized the wet sand of the tanks. I said, pacific.

But our last visitors are the most surprising ones. It’s a family of turkeys, with the mom and its dozen of babies. They came regularly and slosh in the water. We don’t know where they are from, but we don’t ask them any question, and we let them go away in the fields when they want.

Monday, 12 May 2008


Well, it has been fun to live surrounded by all that wheat.

Remember, it was in March.

And three weeks ago.

But it's over now.

On Mohammed's farm and at the top of the hill the piles of haystacks get bigger every day.

The animals are finally allowed to eat what is left in the fields.

At our house, sunflowers took over and the haystack have been put in the courtyard, maybe waiting for, who knows, become houses some day.

Saturday, 3 May 2008

A House in Ouled Mgatel and No Car

Why were we deprived of our car? Oh, yes, right, the Customs. It’s been a real problem for us since we moved in Morocco. I’ll spare you the details, as it is very complicated. The bottom line is, we had to leave our car home, and were not authorized to use it.

Well, by an amazing stroke of luck the problem was fixed on last Tuesday – a miracle really, since Fred left the day after to play in a festival in Poland, and that he couldn’t have left Morocco if the situation hadn’t been resolved. So now we can keep our car until July

Living in Ouled Mgatel without a car can seem difficult. And it was a little. For us. Because here nobody’s got a car. And when people have money, they usually buy tractors, not cars.

People here don’t travel that much. Every week, they go to the market to sell their crop or to buy food. They also have to get their electricity cards in a nearby town – yes, it’s the way it works here: it works with electricity like it does with cell phones. I guess the electric company doesn’t trust the people to pay their bills – and they’re probably right. Every once in a while, people visit family in Fez, or go see the doctor. But that’s all. Young men without a wife travel more often that the others; women rarely leaves their village, and young girls never do. The daughter of our neighbor, Houria, 14, has never even seen the road – she only knows Ouled Mgatel and Ouled Tahar, which is 1 kilometer away, and the dirt road between the 2 villages.

For three weeks we weren’t allowed to use our car, but we didn’t actually leave it at home all the time. The dirt roads here aren’t exactly considered as police territory – for many reasons, hum, I’ll explain why another time. So we drove to the main road, to Lotar Hmouchi (the Mouchi plain), where we hitchhiked.

As you can see, there are no trees. It makes for really hot wait for a cab, believe me !

I thought it would be very unpleasant, but, apart from the fact that we had to travel light and that we couldn’t bring as many things we wanted from Fez, it was not. We rarely waited for more than 10 minutes before somebody stopped. There are a lot of taxis on this road. Some of them are clandestine taxis, and it can be an adventure to take one of them - like 4 people in the front seat (3 is the norm for taxis). Sometimes, people just stop and give you a lift, like this local politician with a big car that drove us to Fez last week.

Feels better like this !