Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Like the Devil on Christmas Morning…

When Ramadan ends, it goes out in style… and all of those who have participated in Ramadan (which is everyone due to the fact that it’s a state mandated time of fasting) celebrate it with great baking, gorging, friends and family…

Early in the morning we arose like kids on Christmas morning awaiting the day to come, knowing only partly what was in store… In preparation of exchanging cookies, the day before I made three batches of homemade chocolate chip cookies… so that morning I wrapped up six different bags of cookies to give to friends of our and those without a home… after packing up we headed over to Moha’s home and were welcomed for breakfast which included chocolate rolls, cookies, tea, etc. After a short time there we spoke our code words to hint at leaving, “The camel flies south at noon” and escaped with only a slightly full stomach. Directly after we dropped in on up some women friends in a near-by town, some American friends in town, and Moha’s next door neighbors… All of whom gave and fed graciously and abundantly…

At mid-afternoon Hyatt came over for some hot chocolate and cookies… With a short visit under the belt both Hyatt and I headed off to some other friend’s homes whom I had met in the past and were greatly welcomed and fed by…

Now let’s count this up… That’s seven homes * one to two glasses of tea and/or coffee * three to six cookies = so countless cookies, numerous glasses of sugar inducing coma, and plentiful conversations that I didn’t have a clue about (except a few select words here and there).

How did the American chocolate chip cookies go over? Like a lead balloon. I’ve been told many times that Moroccans like Moroccan food. Period. This is true, with the exception of a few children. Many whose home we went to took a few bits and let it sit in front of them on the table, waiting for us to leave so they could toss them I’m sure. Even Hyatt wouldn’t take our cookies, “Because we might have guests over later who we would need to give cookies to.”

Who did appreciate them? Americans, children, and those without a home or place to celebrate the end of Ramadan… minus the Americans, isn’t it interesting that those who Jesus talks about loving the most are those who were most grateful and accepted our menial gifts with the most gratitude…

Learning all the time…

My life as an Amazighian Woman

Following our days of celebration Hyatt and I set off to her home out in the “country” where her immediate family owns an apple orchard and her maternal side of the family lives. Upon arrival we spent many hours drinking tea and eating apples, studying each other language and in some form, telling each other our life-stories…

After a quick tour and a show of their new tractor we headed into town where what awaited me was beyond my American comprehension of “a day in the life of an Amazighian woman (Amazigh is the proper term for Berber)…

As we entered the house we were warmly greeted by many woman (all of whom are Aunts and/or cousins) cooking, sitting, and talking over tea. As a guest they escorted me to the women’s room (to my understanding and experience, when guests are present – the women and men eat and mingle apart from each other) where we were gifted with tea, cookies, peanuts, and various other sweets… To make a long story short, following is the play by play of the following day with Hyatt and her family:

2:00 – 3:00 tea, cookies, etc. while chatting
3:00 – 4:00 lunch (which includes tajine, bread, fruit, and tea)
4:00 – 5:30 nap
5:30 – 7:00 escape to visit her uncle milking co-op (pretty impressive) which included milk tasting, sitting, and visiting.
7:00 – 8:00 tea, cookies, etc.
8:00 – 8:30 prayer (in which I was privileged to be in a room with 12 women praying)
8:30 – 10:30 men, women, and children all gather in the main room for laughter, talking, English & Arab learning, and you guessed it… tea and cookies…
10:30 – 11:30 dinner (same as lunch but different tajine)
11:30 – 1:00 talk
1:00am bedtime
7:00am I’m up and ready to go
10:30ish everyone else is up and ready to go
11:00 – 12:00 breakfast (bread, jam, honey, etc. etc.) & visiting
12:00pm head home to Midelt

I’m not met to be Amazigh, but I do love and appreciate who they are and the constant work that the women do to keep their homes and families in order and running. P.S. In Hyatt’s grandma’s home there lives her grandparents and five sets of Aunts & Uncles + children…

Wow… I just got exhausted again writing it…

5 comments:

Gil said...

Hi guys! Wow, endless cookies and milk tasting, too! Sounds kind of like Christmas in Mount Pleasant!! Mm-mm!
Great update, Jess, we'll keep reading and praying for you two!
Gil (and Sarah)

Indian Lake Papa said...

Sounds like you are being a testimony where you are. You are both in our prayers. Any celebration of Halloween over there?

Indian Lake Papa

Anonymous said...

But Jessica... did the cookies have FIBER?

Guess who? :)

Jake and Jessica said...

Sadly - no halloween celebration... but never-the-less, we are most likely see as the infidels who would celebrate such a holiday! Fiber = I WISH!

Lauren said...

Jess - Thank you for the stories and view into your life right now. Andrea and I sat and talked over tajine and I'm sure other american attempts at moroccan food and talked about how we can not wait to visit you two! Jake - I miss your cooking! And talking while cooking, and while eatting and after eatting :)
I just wanted to say I think of you two often and thank you for your stories!
MuchLove - L