After that long trip from Paris to the house, a good diner and the first chat with the guys, I was looking for an early waking, enjoying the silence of the surroundings. And I wasn’t disappointed. @alberto woke up earlier than I did, if I remember well. I went straight outside with my audio-recorder and my smartphone, to get some sound and video recordings. It was quiet, calm, quite cold but the sun was there too, and warmed us. Alberto and Ahmad eventually went to the garden too, and we were the three of us, walking around the house peacefully. Besides the pool, lots of tress, herbs, and somebody did some gardening as well. In the background, you could hear the ocean’s waves smashing. Hell of a good morning.
Everybody was up in the hour, and we quickly started discussing the needs of each to go to Essaouira. You have basically 2 bus in the mornings from Sidi Kaouiki to Essaouira, so you have to be prepared and time your schedule properly. After little chats, it appeared that the rest of the guys didn’t need to go to Essaouira that much, and the rain kept their motivation down. But both @SyMorin and I needed to go there anyway : we only had two days to « investigate », there was no time to waste then.
We obviously checked with @hazem for any needs : vegetables, fruits, bread. Perfect. Let’s go to Essaouira.
The first step to get there is a 30min walk from the house to a small town named Sidi Kaouiki. And how much did we enjoy that walk ! I needed that walk. To clear my brain and organize it, after the changing plans and all… The road laces almost followed the beach all along on our left, while we had a rocky plane, with couple of bushes and argan trees on our lefts. We crossed the path of some people of course, but also donkeys, dogs, unfinished desertic buildings, clouds and rain also.
Sidi Kaouiki in the morning: waiting for the bus
Once arrived, we checked for a fresh orange juice in the first café at the entrance of the town. Young moroccans were cleaning a place that was like a trendy place to get out when summer is here. Sidi Kaouiki is known as a surf spot. No doubt it will triple its population when the temperature grows… While sipping my juice, a small sheep herd passed in front of us. I counted them, wrote the coordinates of our location, and watched if the shepherd was there too. Now, the first questions of my research started bubbling: does this man only need the whool? Does he make anything out of the milk? Is there any milk production from this herd? This is the kind of questions that would need to get their answers, but later on. In my head, I was more into mapping and documenting first, in order to know where to go, and check any existing patterns. Anyway, the bus was about to take us to Essaouira, our main purpose this morning.
The bus takes 20min to go to Essaouira. It gets by small roads at first, stops by here and there to take people. We arrived at the entrance of the medina. And we were definitely hungry. In our hunt for a place to eat, we crossed the path of many fresh vegetables and food shops among the many types of shops you could find in a medina: butchers, bakeries, grills, phones and tech little shops, souvenirs of course, ... But nothing related to cheese. We ended eating a nice tajin in a nice hotel (without knowing it was an hotel before getting at the table ahah). Right after that, bellies full and frenchies at their best, we started to check the surroundings of the medina. Little streets, little shops, alleys, turns, going from very peaceful and quiet places to noisy ones in a second.
We eventually met Khadija. She was cooking sardinas on her grill, at the entrance of her very small cantine. The smell was just too good, that was what drove us to her ahah! We asked her if she had any infos about cheese in the region. A man passing by on a bike stopped as well and said that we could find some in supermarkets. That was it. Seemed like all the cheese you can get in Essaouira was in supermarkets. It didn’t surprised me actually, but I was definitely sure that it wasn’t the case at some point in the past: there is no reason, in a region of sheeps and goats, of many herbs and bushes, even grass fields sometimes, that there were no transformed milk farm and sellers here. Crossing lots of small Danone trucks and lots of big brands yogurts and panacottas in some little shops here and there finally made me sure about my hypothesis. Global markets at their best, could have destroyed or swallowed the small productions of the areas…
We also went to the port, as the sound of the ocean pulled us to him. The boats were back from the morning fishing session. Plenty of birds, people, tourists also, and this little grill smelling so nice. We didn’t stay too long though.
Because time flies. So we ended our afternoon in the medina by buying some food supplies for the house. Bread, fresh vegetables and fruits. Enough for 5-6, for two days. I noticed a lot of what we call exotic fruits in France, specially bananas. Lots of bananas. It intrigued me because in France, they’re quite bigger and come from far far away (Guadeloupe mainly…). But kept my questions for the next day. We were already on that bus for the drive back to Sidi Kaouiki.
The 30min walk back to the house helped us to debrief what we saw, and what needed to be explored later. Hey, those donkeys from the morning were still on the road. A little closer to the house, still cosy behind the last sun lights. We also watched another and bigger sheep herd, with a couple goats in it as well. The shepherd seemed to be a young girl this time. They were between the road and the beach, the panorama was unreal.
back at the house
The guys had an electricity shut down that day. They used the day to clean the house and arrange / fix some things. @SyMorin and I naturally ended in the kitchen for a 4 hands cooking session. Potatoes in the hoven, vegetables and spices in sauce, and some rice. Turned out to extend from pure cooking to large discussions. And I remember my chat with @alberto about our visions of globalism, and how we both gives this term/concept a definition of our own. We were that close from a debate, but we had more to share: experiences, memories, … And from that all, I learned a lot in two days.
At the end of the diner, I started the fire, because this very ER forum has a campfire, so the house of its moroccan Open Village needed one as well. @SyMorin and I went all around the house and garden to find dry pieces of wood. Not quite easy since the last days had been all about rain… At last, couple of branches and some old things to break made it ok. The first fire was there, putting a warm feeling in the living room.
I went to bed very excited about everything. Life in a community, our Essaouira investigation, my inner questions about the milk process here, … Tuesday is gonna be awesome.
Part 3 to come soon