I am brave enough to travel ever since when I first hit the road from backpacking to luxurious travel of my life. Living in the most conservative country in the world, traveling to Africa is something I wanted to do two years ago.
You would always hear about security issues of Morocco, feedbacks about how is it safe to travel for a female or even us. Planning my second trip to North Africa is something different. This time, I wanted to live with a Moroccan family I had arranged with Homestay
I stopped. ” Am I sure to do this plan?” A plan will not always be going to happen. At least, now I am going to prove- it will happen.
I arrived in the city of Marrakesh with a 5-hour travel from the city of Casablanca by train. I can barely sleep in a long hour flight from Jeddah to Cairo but I started to like the city. The Gare De Marrakesh (Marrakesh train station) is a modern type station of the city, police officers were everywhere with their patrol cars, travelers waited for their next train to arrive.
“God, my phone is dead. This is the reality of travel”. I asked the policeman but I can’t understand their Arabic. Again, a barrier. My Middle East Arabic was useless.
Thanks for the little French I had. ”
” Bonjour!, Comment est-ce que je vas au Derb Il Imam?” (“How do I get to Derb Il Imam ?’.) Derb Il Imam is the home address I was told to stay. The police officer told me to ride a taxi cab with his amazing French language. Alright, I got it. I looked down the right, while three drivers came to me, offered the most excellent service to ride in their taxis.
Derb Il Imam is the home address I was told to stay. The police officer told me to ride a taxi cab with his amazing French language. Alright, I got it. I saw a man standing outside the entrance, and approached him. Surprisingly, he is an Indian waiting for someone to pick him up. Few minutes, his fellow arrived and it was the right time for me to borrow a phone so I could call my Moroccan host.
“Assalamu Alaykum“. ‘The first greeting I heard. I began speaking in English telling him that I finally arrived in Marrakesh. I was full of excitement but at the same time- a little bit of anxiety.
His English is limited. I wish I could do a hand gesture over the phone. I was forced to speak Arabic(Saudi Arabian), told him that I was on the train, borrowed a mobile, and so if he could go to the place where I was. He finally understood what I wanted to say.
After 15 minutes, a man smiled while going to my direction, pointed his finger unsure if I was the one who called him. He seems nice and a happy guy.
That was just the beginning.
“Tournez à droite et c’est la première rue à votre gauche”. He said in French again. He provided me a direction to turn right, and it’s the first street on the left to get home. I felt a different world that I was about to live.
It was a simple, clean, and the room was on the rooftop. Without any idea of how is it to live with a Moroccan family, I never felt different and outcasted. Abdou Saddiq, the youngest son of the family with three sisters and two brothers lived with his mother whom I met. They offered me a traditional tea, introduced myself and so they were, and while the Arabic language was my savior!
Understanding A Moroccan Family
I felt a little bit of intrusive during my first two days. Living in Saudi Arabia helps me to understand and respect the culture and family values. However, living with a Moroccan family gave me a very straight to the point, no bullshit words to describe. A girl member of the family would cover a scarf around their neck whenever I was visible in a guest room. As soon as she saw you, she would cover their head, neck or even mouth when talking.
I would even limit to talk with a girl member of the family except for their mother who is very friendly and encouraged me to feel at home.
Cleanliness and Cooking
Aisha, Abdou’s mother was in charge of cooking and laundry. The house is more organized and everything is in place. When I needed a food, they asked me what food I wanted to eat, offered Moroccan cuisine and the best of it all- hospitality. Cleaning is a big factor for them.
The interaction in the house always took during the dinner, where everyone was present, around to share their family stories with me. I started to amazed on how they value their families and country.
Women control the house and men will do most of the hardest jobs for their family. In Abdou’s case, he was jobless for 2 years when his brother left Morocco for France. He was asked to manage the house and so the entire family member.
Moroccan Men in the Public Place
I walked down the streets of Rabat and Marrakesh when these three words came to my mind: Aggressive, loud, and attitude. I saw men were aggressively talking in the middle of the street for a traffic fight, no physical fight but just mouth. My Moroccan friends shared one thing: If you don’t agree, everything will be a mess.
On the other side, Moroccan men as the head of the family and as a father is a caring one. Hassan is the eldest brother of Abdou. He was 52 years old, works in a farm and a lovely father and brother to all.
My Morrocan homestay is one of the best experiences I had. I built a relationship with Saddiq family and it was hard to say goodbye but I will definitely come back.
Have you tried to stay with a family? Share your experience below.