Friday, February 16, 2007

3 of 3 - few more village pics

One day, I took a walk with the two 18ish year old nieces. We walked to the main road at Aksri. We walked through the olive grove. We walked through the village communal garden plots. We walked up the main road and took in this view. Then we walked to the bottom. Yeah, see those buildings down there? We walked down THERE. Not completely via roads, mind you. I learned quickly that Fatima is part mountain goat. I nearly tumbled down the mountain. She was doing okay, even though she had just broken a strap on her sandal. Yeah, SANDALS. Then, as it goes, we had to walk back UP the mountain. Paradise Valley, my ass.
Here are Hassan and his mother, Keltouma, in the foyer area of her current house. In a traditional Moroccan house, all of the rooms (most of them multipurpose) open off of one central area. This one is open to the sky.
Another view from the roof of the old house. The current house is in the foreground. The one with blue shutters to the right.

And there's the fire out back for baking the bread.
Ok! I finally figured out my problem. Apparently I have the camera set to take pictures with the resolution used to take zoom spy photography. Nice pictures, but big. Denise helped me to resize them, and now this process is much faster.

I'll have to find an older picture of the exterior of Hassan's mother's old house. Didn't have one in this batch. This is the house that Hassan family lived in when he was born. It's up the hill from the house where his mother lives now. This one looks into the open interior from the viewpoint of standing on the roof. There are a couple of rooms up there on the roof/third floor as well. The green door opens to the exterior and I think would have been used as the front door.

This is the view from the roof of the old house toward the village proper (Hassan's mom's house is before you actually get to most of the village... Thank God! Those village roads are not always kind. More about the roads later).

In the kitchen of the current house. The couscous is steaming back there on the stove. The bread has been made. We were all just perched on stools and pillows... alternating between cooking and waiting. I got up to get the camera because it reminded me a lot of my family. 20 people standing around talking in the kitchen while someone is trying to cook for a holiday. Normal, right?
Me pretending to have cooked the couscous. Total fabrication there. Hassan's sister Zahara did it. I watched and tried to learn. I must mention here that Moroccan's don't think it's couscous unless you spend an hour steaming and stirring. Very involved process. Denise makes hers in 5 minutes on the stovetop, and the boys laugh in her general direction.

On Aid, or Eid, however you spell it... we went out visiting. Several sisters and nieces and friends of the family... and the white girl... set out walking through the palm grove. We stopped at several different houses along the way to talk and have tea, and eat some tidbits, and talk, and kiss, and ask about the families, and eat, and drink. Wow. At this house, we happened by at the same time as another group of women. The hostess blessed us all with fragrant oil.

A view from that house (which happened to be built into a mountain) across the palm grove toward the village. I'm kicking myself that I didn't get a picture of this house. It was multi-level. Built into the mountain, like I said. Even had a little room outside the front door for the donkey. Ah, next time.

Niece Fatima at the well in Aksri. Aksri is a small village where you turn off of the main road to go to Hassan's village, Tisgui. We walked up to Aksri several times during my stay. His family doesn't really use this well. There are far less impressive one nearer the house. Fatima was just showing this one off to me. The water bucket was sewn of tire rubber.

This is a restaurant and store in Aksri. It's the landmark for the place to turn to get to Tisgui. This general area of Morocco is known as Paradise Valley. Lots of palm groves in mountain vallies. Beautiful. It's a small tourist destination, so there are neat places like this, and a cool small hotel near this where Hassan's sister Aicha cleans.

Playtime is over. Time to go teach the children. More later.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Pictures from the village

I'm trying to get some pictures up. Still having some troubles. Perhaps I'll have to make it two per post.

For now... there's me with my henna. It was still wet there. When it dried, we scraped it off. The design left on my skin was a reddish orange color. Lasted maybe a week and a half-ish. One of the cousins came over to Hassan's mother's house to do it for me, one of his neices (Fatima) got her hands done as well.

This is two of Hassan's neices, Nadiya and Fatima, on the road leading away from his mother's house.