Countless times after a day of trekking up through the mountains with my girlfriends, we would arrive in a small village, longing for some cool drink or something to eat- anything to refresh us for the journey back. At the beginning of my trip I was always so worried: would there be a village shop or restaurant where we could refill our water bottles and buy food? How about a bathroom? I found that these needs were met every time, and not once on these excursions did we satisfy our hunger and thirst with our own money.
As we would walk into a mountain village, children would be looking down on us from upstairs windows, and then we would hear running and yelling something to the effect of an English, “Mommy, mommy, there are foreigners here! There are foreigners here!” Then said mothers would come to their door way and come out, kissing us on the cheeks, greeting us, “
As the tea would steep, we would talk in broken Arabic, French, and simple hand gestures. When words could not be found, we resorted to smiles. The food would come, and the guests would be served first, sweet mint tea and usually some kind of bread or cookie. More talking, more tea, and more smiles… After many hours, relatives would stop in with their greetings and then more talking and yet more smiles. After spending a whole day conversing and sharing, we would find out that the next door neighbors had prepared a evening meal for us, and so we would say our thanks and goodbyes to our new friends and move on to the next house, where we would sit and talk for another three hours, eating a traditional Moroccan meal. After long goodbyes, the father or older son would travel part of the way back to our village to state his protection over his family’s guests, and to ensure our safety.
This was a common happening in
Oftentimes, Moroccans would ask us to stay the night with them. We were now their family, and they took joy in looking after our safety and welfare. They wanted to know about our families, our work, and our religious beliefs, whether they agreed or not. How often in
Learn from the Moroccans… hospitality is no small thing- it can change lives. It changed mine.