chief of gendarmes in Smimou

Posted in Uncategorized by Diana on November 29, 2011

The genderame chief in Smimou is one of the local officials who I notify when I travel and encounter problems (thankfully, not much of the latter).

He’s the one who came to check on me last year before and after the anniversary of 9/11. In the beginning, he’s the one who would constantly remind me – or have one of his subordinates do so – about travel notifications. Over time, I’ve gotten used to notifying the gendarmes whenever I leave and return to my site. In fact, he makes it easy for me – I send him a text message directly instead of texting a (random) gendarme. I text him my itinerary in English and he has one of this subordinates translate for him.

He and I don’t share a common language. I speak Tashleheit and English, some Spanish and Chinese. He speaks Arabic and French. Whenever we have to communicate, he grabs a subordinate gendarme or a random guy (who’s often startled) off the street to translate just to make sure the message is delivered and clear.

He’s all about business with me (lHamdullah) and I appreciate that.  For the most part, I try to keep out of his way when I don’t need anything specific. I’ll greet him on the street in Smimou or souk in Imi nTlit when I see him around Sometimes he even gives me a ride to the Smimou souk area from the gendarme office. Granted, it’s not very far – really, like a three-minute walk – but I definitely appreciate the gesture. It’s pretty awesome to roll up to a vegetable stand and step out from the chief gendarme’s car. Everyone knows I’m looked out for.

Oh, he also gives me very hearty pats on the shoulder. It’s like I’m one of the fellas, haha.

Chief, this post is my shout out to you. Thank you for looking out for me.


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