Volunteer Morocco Day 4 (New Year’s in the Atlas Mountains)

Saturday, December 31st 2016

Today was a travel day more or less and it was the day when we packed our little backpacks again and drive high into the atlas mountains! I was so fortunate to be able to sit in the front passenger’s seat and you bet I took advantage of it!

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Before we went into the mountains, we made a small stop at an old provincial town which is now renovated and turned into a resort. Shame on me for not remembering the name of it. The whole town had huge walls surrounding it protecting it from war and intruders. This area used to be a hustle and bustle town square way back in the day and even though the area is now a resort, the people did an amazing job preserving it. I can just trace the outlining of the used-to-be streets and street buildings. Overall, it was a nice sweet history lesson and awesome to see that places like this that had been once deserted, have been given a new life and meaning for the people.

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Everywhere we went, whether it was in a small stall at a souk or at a resort like this, mint tea was always served! Hot, sweet, mint tea which was actually was quite refreshing!

After we went back to our vans and on our way we went!

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Words cannot describe the scenery I witness driving into and up the mountains. At one point I felt like I was in a movie and it was so hard to believe that everything was mother nature. We traveled about 20,000 meters high! The higher we went, the narrower the road got and if I looked out the window, I couldn’t even see the edge! It was insane but I didn’t feel scared because we had a skilled driver with us. I took more videos than pictures because I wanted to re-live the moment whenever I wanted to so no picture here.

About two hours later, we arrived at the village and the sun was already setting. We were told to stay in a room for warmth (it does get cold at night) and wait for dinner. We waited for about 3 hours in the room, but that was alright because we needed that rest and it also gave us an opportunity to bond together as a group and tell stories, play games and laugh together.

Finally dinner! My first traditional Moroccan-Berber meal and it was beef tagine and couscous with a peanut butter sauce.

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At night time, since it was New Year’s Eve, the people of the village was so kind and put on a show for us to celebrate! Again, all I took were videos so I don’t have any pictures to insert here 😦 It was mainly the men and boys who danced and sang and it was a wonderful time watching them outside underneath the fully lit sky full of stars. During the middle of the performance, we ended up joining them and learned (me failing) how to dance together in a circle. Everybody was so welcoming and kind to us and it made me feel like family already. We danced and sang until midnight (New Year’s!). By the time we got back to our room, it was past 1am and we went to bed and got some rest before our big clinic day tomorrow!

This way probably my best New Year’s Eve ever!

 

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