Later on, Day 1...
This is "our" town, Tattowin. A small village of just over 50 people, engulfed within the Mid-Altas mountains, found deep within a valley of gardens and hard working, proud Berber families. With one fresh water running faucet, no electricity, and smart gardens surrounding their property that worked within the existing environment, Jake and I realized once again, together, that this is the life we desire. A life of true community. During our time spent there we became more aware of what a "life together" means.
We discovered that a "life together" means sharing the responsibility of baking bread together every morning. "Life together" means welcoming strangers in for tea and enjoying one dish of Tajine between 13 people, made from the fruits and vegetables that were picked by the women of the community, together. "Life together" means supporting one another and holding one another accountable in how they best utilize their resources, for in Tattowin, resources = life. No resources are wasted. "Life together" means sharing without expectation; gathering wood together to sell or to use; raising kids together; advocating for one another; and most of all helping one another. This is Tattowin. This is our hope.
After our arrival we spent some time with Mary and were encouraged by her to truly experience the beauty of the Mid-Atlas, so we took her up on her offer and set off climbing... and climbing we did... Discovering fossils, scary big bugs, and affleunet Moroccan minerals we climbed a nearby ridge to take in the beauty of the valley, our gift from the mountains. This view is from the top of the first ridge.
This is Mary. I anticipate writing a more comprehensive log about our time spent with her, but for now will simply share with you about Mary, herself. Sister Mary grew up in Ireland and later moved with her family to Argentina where she spent a number of years. During her time in Argentina she spent time with the nuns who were involved in the Liberation movement and at one time lived with them for a short period, experiencing their lives as they lived with the indigenous community. Soon after she gained employment with Westing House but shared that she could not shake the impression that the nuns in Argentina had made on her and decided to give a relationship with God a chance to grow. At the age of 36 she decided that God was asking her to give of her life for His service. And as she shared, "I have never regreted that decision." A life of voluntary service, live together, and love is her desire and is evidenced by her relationship with God, nature, and her neighbors.
During our time with Mary, God confirmed and reaffirmed the life which Jake and I desire to live. I life of simplicity, community, love, peace, and good-works. Through our many conversations God used Mary, her story, and her life as tangible ways to show us what a life with Him is like. At one point in our conversation Mary began sharing with us about a family's wedding celebration a few years back. She shared that as tradition dictates, on the day of marriage between a woman and a man, the man buys what he can and sends these goods with his family to "fetch" his soon to be wife. For this particular marriage, the man bought 25 kilos. of flour, a goat, and a dress for his bride. Because the brides family lives very simply, as a result of extreme poverty, when they received this valuable gift from the grooms family they went to work. That day the brides mother and the women of the community made all the bread 25 kilos. of flour can make. The brides father butchered the goat and that night they celebrated the marriage in high style, with all the meat and bread that one village could eat.
Two weeks following this beautiful celebration Mary took a two week vacation and attended a wedding between a very affluent Spanish woman and a very well known Moroccan man. With men on horse-back to greet the guests at the door, an extravagant, well-designed wedding, and a multi-course meal to follow - Mary shared that shortly after her arrival to the wedding reception, she had to leave.
As an ever seeking desire to make reconcilation in my heart between so many issues I deal with, I asked her, "How do you renconcile that?" Her reply, "You can't. You don't." This was one of the first times I have felt peace regarding my inability to reconcile what I know in my heart is true and what I battle with understanding and accepting... As shared before, more reflections of our time with Mary are soon to come.
Until then... To be continued...