By Renee Schleicher, 6-time traveler from Evanston, IL
En route from Rabat to Fez, our tour bus stopped at a meager farm stand alongside the road. It had just a basket of eggs, some fresh-cut herbs, and a couple of tethered turkeys. Our guide, in Arabic, offered to buy all the eggs and herbs if someone would make our group an omelet.
The farmer invited us into his home, where we met his 68-year-old mother. She was tiny, and looked older than my own 90-year-old mom, but her eyes glinted with warmth and energy. She told us, through our guide, that she had been married at 14 to a 40-year-old man with nine children. She was expected to take care of them, cook for them, and clean. She gave birth to a couple of her own children, as well; one was the farmer we had met, who now helped take care of her.
Her home was adobe, had meager furnishings and a dirt floor, but it was immaculate. She asked for help making the omelet, and I offered. She—with minimal help; she really didn’t need it—cooked a light and golden omelet with the fresh eggs and herbs on a two-burner camp stove. Obviously, she didn’t have plates and forks for all of us, so she served the omelet on a single plate with a large serving spoon. Alongside the omelet, she served a large, round, flat bread she had made that morning in a jerry-rigged oven constructed of scraps of metal. Each of us broke off a chunk of the warm bread, opened it, and spooned in some omelet. It was fresh and delicious.
This sweet woman showed such pride in being asked to serve a dozen Americans. I was impressed by her generosity of spirit and openness. We experienced similar warmth from nomads who invited us into their tents for tea, but no one as candid and generous of spirit as this lovely Moroccan lady. To me, she demonstrates the unique and special role of travel in my life—and the exceptional people I was able to meet in Morocco.
What memories will you make with locals in your travels? Find out during O.A.T’s Morocco Sahara Odyssey adventure.