It wasn’t the impressive architecture or the rich history of Morocco that resonated with my friend Mindy the most during her recent trip to Morocco (although she certainly appreciated both) rather, it was the people she met and their infinite hospitality and seemingly unfaltering smiles. “Everyone is just so happy,” Mindy said, “they’re not busy or rushed. The men all hold hands or walk arm in arm unhurried down the street. A lot of the time you see the men sitting at coffee shops or standing in groups talking to one another and right down the street you see a group of women doing the same thing. They all seem totally laid back.”
One night in particular Mindy was shown the true extent of Moroccan hospitality when she and her cousin were picked up by a Moroccan friend at the train station a few towns away from their hotel in Marrakech. The friend took them back to his and his mother’s house and insisted that they stay there the night rather than look for a hotel. He then told them that his family had already eaten but his mother could make something for them if they were hungry. “His mother came out of the kitchen with a huge chicken, a Moroccan salad of chopped tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, onion, cumin, and lemon or lime juice, and this huge loaf of bread, all of this for just the two of us!” Mindy said, “They had obviously been planning to feed us.”
Mindy remembers that they sat in the family’s living room on couches that lined the walls; traditionally Moroccans share their home and meals with their extended families so they need a lot of space and seats to make room.
“They don’t use silverware and I wasn’t really sure how to eat the chicken,” Mindy said. She learned that the big round loaf of bread that they were served is used instead of silverware to sop up all of the juices from the meal.
After the meal was cleared away cups of the traditional sweet mint tea were served and the night ended with great food, delicious tea, and even better company.
The pictures below are of the living where Mindy ate her dinner and of the courtyard in the middle of her friend’s house which is quite common in Morocco.