Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Life in Ouled Mgatel: 4 mariages and a convalescent

We waited the end of the heatwave to go back to Ouled Mgatel. There, we found our house very clean (thank you Fouad). We haven't begun the work yet; all the mudbricks are waiting for us in the garden. It's little weird to be there, in our mudbrick home, after all those months of living in the city. The beauty of the place is always a good surprise, but the empty shelves, the mould on our books and the kitchen, that haven't been used in 8 months now - except for the mint tea Bachir and Fouad drink everyday -, all of this makes me a little sad.


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We were there on the day after Turia's wedding. Turia is one of Mohammed's daughters. This year, 4 of Mohammed's children get married. That's a little strange, given that it costs a lot of money - for the party (it lasts 2 days) and for the dowries. And it was a little strange, this day after the big party, when the bride is still in her family - and hasn't been in a room alone with her husband . On that night, she was going to her new home. For the first time, she was going to spend the night in a strange house. She was leaving to live forever with her new family - and a husband that, of course, her father chose for her.


But Turia seemed OK. She was dressed like a city girl - a light veil on her hair, pants matching her t-shirt, and heels. In one of the rooms of the house, there was everything she owned - the gifts, and what her father bought for her with the dowry: a bed, "farash" (Moroccan couches), a mirror, glasses and dishes, a blender, and lots, lots of tablecloths and blankets. There was also her luggage, full of clothes I had never seen her wear.

Her four sisters, the one that is already married, the one that is getting married in a month, the one that is getting married in a few years, and the one that will never get married, were inspecting the gifts and packing the luggage. Dunya, who will be married in one month, and who is much younger than Turia, was very chic too. She'll become soon a city girl, since her soon-to-be husband is living in Fès. Huria, the youngest of the 5 sisters, loses 2 sisters at the same time, but she gains two sisters-in-lawn, next month.

Abdelali seemed to be doing perfectly well. Life's smiling at him right now: the politics, a new tractor, and the land. And at the end of Ramadan, he's getting married with a girl from Fez - a striking symbol of his success, since usually the girls that grew up in the city don't marry guys from the country.


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And what about our convalescent? It's Bachir, of course. He just had some tests done in Rabat - hmm, quite superficial I'm afraid - but apparently everything's fine. He still can't work, but he's getting better and better.


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Ouled Emgatel

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If somebody knows the name of that tree, which grew up very very fast, and is apparently in love with the earth of Ouled Mgatel - hmm, the same cannot be said of the other trees we planted - , I'm interested. Fred put a few seeds in a small container with some wet cotton, but somehow I doubt it's going to work...

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I believe that is a carob tree, ask your neighbors and if so the pods and beans are edible. Have heard someone say he used to pick them off the tree and eat them as-is. Pat

Marie said...

Pat,
Thank you for the suggestion ! It isn't a carob tree (I wish it was!), because the leaves are different. Plus, we brought that tree from Meknes, and I don't think that species comes from Northern Africa.

d_hornor said...

Its great to see other young people buying an old farm in the country to try to live sustainably, we are several hundred kilometers N. of you in Portugal. We will be building our home of mud and earthbags, not unlike yours.
-Derek

Pam said...

The tree looks like either an acadia or royal poinciana. I'm looking forward to visiting Morocco for the first time this November (from Minnesota) -Pam