my last day in site: surprise party

Posted in Uncategorized by Diana on March 29, 2012

I spent my last day hanging out with my most cherished ladies (and a handful of fellas in the process):

  • Lunch #1 with my host family: Fadma, Fatima, Khadija, Mina, Rkiya, Hayat, Hussain, the still untitled older woman who is generally in a sour mood but always sweet with me (and later Aicha at Tamounte). Fadma’s pregnant belly is getting bigger. I surprised them with a photo album filled with pictures I took of/with the family. In return, the girls gifted me a bottle of amlou.
  • Lunch #2 with Fabulous Fatima and her daughter. I learned from Fatima that she and Aicha Hussain (my host grandmother) are no longer on speaking terms. (Whaa?? They were such good friends when I was living with the host family!) Besides that piece of news, I learned more about Fatima’s family.
  • Tea with Spicy Aicha. I haven’t seen her in such a long time! I know, it’s largely my fault. I’m so happy I saw her today. I had just left Fabulous Fatima’s and was heading to my house when, having walked past the path up to her house, I turned around and made myself go to her house. Honestly, I am SO happy I did! I would’ve been really bummed if I hadn’t. I learned that her husband passed away about a month and a half ago. Her youngest granddaughter is so big now. Spicy Aicha…you have such a spirit about you. Aicha was dressed in white colors, indicative of a wife in mourning. Her husband had been ill for a long time. Since Aicha was still in the 4-month mourning period, I wasn’t able to get a picture with her. Instead, I took pictures with her granddaughters.
  • The women of Tamounte Cooperative – all the ladies (there are too many to list, so many that I don’t even know their names by heart!), girls (i.e., Latifa and Khadija), and, of course, Taarabt and Rachida. I spent some time chatting with Aicha, my host grandmother, helping the women sort argan, and a bit more time chatting with the girls, Taarabt and Rachida. I learned that there are new products – soap made with local herbs and natural scents! I also learned that the cooperative has a website up – that I want to check out! When I left, Rachida and Taarabt gifted me with three 30-ml bottles of cosmetic argan oil and a bar of argan soap. I’m excited about all of them. Honestly…I hope I can somehow continue doing business with them. Perhaps I can start a distribution “center” from the US. Hmm…
  • Mohammed, my hanut man. I returned an empty Fanta bottle and, in the process, said goodbye to him. In my two years here, he was always patient with me as I tried to remember the items I wanted to buy as well as the name of the items.
  • Dinner with Little Fatima and her family: grandmother Aicha, aunt Amina, aunt Fatima and brother Ahmed. For evening tea, Aunt Fatima surprised me with a chocolate chip cake! There were four lit candles on the cake as she brought the tray of helwa into the room! Too…wonderful. I actually had them restage the candles because I forgot my camera when I first went to their house; consequently, I ran home – lHamdullah it was so close! – fetched my camera, ran back into the house, and asked to get pictures taken with the cake. Super, super thoughtful!

By the time dinner came out, I was still stuffed from all the food (bread) that I ate earlier in the day. Even so, I was a sport and ate my part of dinner. Why? Because this was my last meal in the village!

I know I didn’t say goodbye to everyone here – that would’ve been impossible. Instead, I chose to say goodbye to those who, in one way or another, showed me kindness of an intangible kind. Who knows, maybe these people were so hospitable because they knew/thought I was coming from a more privileged background and would not take advantage of them and their kindness…but I want to believe that was not the case.

The wonderful people of Imi nTlit…you’ve kept my heart warm these past two years. As I told many people today, you have been my family for two years. Thank you.

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