After we decided to leave Fès, we soon packed our stuff, finished work, and in June 2005 the three of us (me, husband and son) arrived in the happy valley, a lorry loaded with our personal things, some fear but also a lot of excitement.
My husband’s family welcomed us very nicely and we got a room right in the middle of them.
The house was very simple and old: electricity had just arrived, there was no fluent water yet, no glass in the windows, the kitchen still very simple and sparsely furnished, and the bathroom was in the basement, near to the cattle stables, with only a whole in the ground and a simple water tap in the wall.
It was a life back to the basics and it was exactly what I yearned for.
I wanted to test myself and try the simple life; I wanted to prove myself that I am able to live independently from modern things; I wanted to know how the Berbers live and how my husband grew up; I wanted to really be in nature; I wanted to challenge my western habits washing laundry by hand, fetching water from the well, cooking from scratch with the locally available things, living with animals, in the midst of a rough nature, scheduled by the sun and the seasons and without the slightest usual luxury…
And subhanallah, I really found what I longed for:
a slowed down pace, inner peace, satisfaction and fulfillment, a newly gained spirituality in this pure and natural environment.
Step by step, going through several mixed feelings of being lonely and being an outsider, I also found a community that gave me the feeling of being accepted as who I am, despite all the differences between us (I once will write about all the challenges in detail, inchaallah).
My husband worked a lot as a tour leader in the whole country and I was alone with his family a lot. I continued to work from home in the tourism with him, to offer, plan and book his travels. Internet did not reach the valley yet, so I had to take a public taxi every week and drive two hours to the next town to access internet to send and receive mails. This was quiet tiring but also good for me to breath from time to time a bit of the city life I was still used to.
We organized travels for tourists, managed a film with ARTE, a rammed earth and community project with my former university and we planned our future home, which we soon began to build with the money we earned.
Our son was happy with all of it, in the midst of the big family, being cuddled and spoiled by everybody and having the positive attention of so many lovely people.
Life was good, Alhamdulillah.
[to be continued…]