The Road To Morocco – My Diary, Part 6

Last night I was in bed just after night fall at 8.30pm and awake this morning well before sunrise at 7.00am.  Because of the flatness of the land round here these two events are spectacular affairs with the sun disappearing in the west and springing to life in the east both to cloudless skies.  The Atlas Mountains in the south appear a different colour on each occasion.

Dhobi done in 15 minutes and thrown over the parapet wall of the upstairs patio.  Down stairs and a cup of coffee and a continuation of my in depth expose of Moroccan colonial life which I was talking about last night.  All I can say is that if nine people get some uplift from this English family’s lifestyle then the system must be good.  Therefore I should be blaming the country and its economy rather than the generous employers of nine people.

Food basics are incredibly cheap, white goods and wine are proportionaly very expensive.  The gap between the many uneducated poor and the few educated rich is massive.  We are out in the country east of Marakech, the nearest village two kilometres away, where the kids beg off the few passing cars and the many shops specialise in two or three different commodities.  These shops are nothing more than kiosks and lots of them serve the few houses.  Another few kilometres on is the Route de Fez, the main road linking Marakech to the historic town of Fez, 480 kilometres  away and there in the middle of nowhere is a brand new Jaguar/Land Rover dealership, glistening in the daily sunshine.  Marakech’s urban sprawl will take a few years to catch up to it and who their clients are is a mystery.

But I am rambling and I revert back to the present.  The kids are noisily eating their breakfast, the teachers are about to congregate.  The ladies are well on with their conveyor belt of a day, the men have yet to appear.  The swimming pool only summarily inspected looks pristine and begging for the Atlas Mountain snow melted water and Day 7 awaits us, hot sun, bluer sky, no cloud but a pleasant temperature of about 15C at 9.00am.

So another day and another breakfast, this time fresh fruit salad instead of orange juice but the omelette, olives, flatbread and cheese make another appearance with coffee to wash it all down.  The ladies again busy putting the house to rights, the gardener Ibrahim gardening, Khalid the gardien putting up the curtains and the other Khalid, the Tai Kwondo instructor putting the kids through their paces, a necessary part of their education.  Khalid was the Moroccan champion at this activity and is from the local village.  His time is now taken up teaching the kids of the village the moves of this martial art.  A Korean invention and he does it especially to give the young girls confidence in their abilities.  Muslim girls are overshadowed by the boys and it is to get out of that cycle he aims.  Better confidence leads to advancement in education and education is definitely the key which should pull this country  out of its doldrums and the education of women is so important.

There is an old African proverb that says “If you educate a boy, you educate an individual.  If you educate a girl you educate a community” and that surely applies.  At the moment education is very basic, 10 is the normal school leaving age.  Intelligence however is not in short supply.  Look at Nordine the piano teacher, Fatimzara the head lady and Khalid the Tai Kwondo man, all speak three or four languages and Khalid weighs in with Korean as well as English, French, Arabic and Spanish.  This little community boasts more linguists than the whole of North Roscommon where I live.  This gift is untapped and is a pity.  For Fatimzara who speaks good French and Arabic, it is of little use because she cannot hold a pen, never mind write and her reading skills are zilch.  We in western Europe do not realise how lucky we are with our much derided education system but to be able to read and write is without doubt immeasurable.

A lazy couple of hours outside chewing the cud and waiting for our lunch at 1.30pm.  Today it is barbecued koftes and salad and lentils followed by an excellent spicy vegetable quiche all ate to the tinkling of water as the pool becomes inexorably filled but it will be tonight at the earliest before final topping out.  By heck that meal was good and this lot want to go out to a restaurant before we take our leave.  I don’t.

A quick siesta and up to the squeals of kids, they cannot wait for the pump to fill the pool, in in their school clothes with hideous delight.  The ladies have gone home for the day, the adults out shopping.  Just myself and two teachers holding the fort, each with an eye on the kids.  It is 4.10pm and a temperature of29C, a pleasant enough day and not at all uncomfortable.  I help myself to a large Ricard and everything is good.  Ibrahim has just brought a lovely bunch of flowers from the garden to put on the table.  These Moroccans have class.

Another evening of little snacks, a glass of wine and conversation while everybody under 50 dipped into their I phones every few minutes.  To me it is an annoying and quite amazing anti-social habit that the world has gotten into.  Tip tapping away on a piece of plastic whilst questions remain unanswered but hey ho I will be home in two days.  It is 9.15 and time for bed.

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