Documentation wiki for all relevant knowledge around our OpenVillage House. With , from Sidi Kaouki, Morocco.
1. Reaching the House
2. People in the House
3. Actions in the House
4. Actions out of the House
5. Leaving the House
6. Protected information
(Only accessible to staff users. Contains contact information of local authorities etc. which we don't want to make public on the web.)
1. Reaching the House
Location. The House is marked on Google Maps as "Dar Nezza, Sidi Kaouki". Its exact location is 31.334333, -9.787306 – use that to mark the place on your GPS or favourite mobile map application (OsmAnd~ if you don't have a favourite yet, it is really good open source).
Please note that there is no proper night transportation to Sidi Kaouki.
1.1. From Sidi Kaouki
The "center" of Sidi Kaouki is 31.355639, -9.797694. All buses and shared taxis arrive here. Don't be surprised that it will not look like any center you know How to get from there to the House:
By walking. The House is 30 minutes of walking from Sidi Kaouki's center. Stand so that the ocean is at your right hand side and walk along the main street. There are almost no buildings on the way, and after around 30 minutes walking it is the second house on the right side, with the name "Dar Nezza" written on a blue gate. Here's your route on Google Maps.
By bicycle. We should have some bicycles ready soon, so then you can contact us when you arrive in Sidi Kaouki and we can come with an extra bicycle to pick you up. (We have a folding bicycle we can carry on a bicycle.) When you tell us in time, we may also deposit a bicycle at one of the shops of Sidi Kaouki, or lock it in the "center" so that you can just take it and come to the House. The bicycle lock combination is 1632.
By hitchhiking. We do not have a car, motorcycle or similar in the House to pick you up, but people in the village of Sidi Kaouki are helpful. So when walking along the road to get to the House, you may be able to just stop a car going into the right direction and get a lift. The road has very little traffic though. 10 cars per hour at noon is no exception.
1.2. From Essaouira
Essaouira is 25 km from the House, and 22 km from the center of Sidi Kaouki.
There are several transport options (and for all, you need to get local currency):
By bus. There is a bus that goes once per hour to Sidi Kaouki. It takes about 40 minutes for its 25 km route via Gazhoua. The ticket costs 7 MAD (ca. 0.70 EUR). You pay in local currency in cash to the conductor inside the bus. The bus should have "Sidi Kaouki" written on a sign behind its front window, in Latin and Arabic letters. The center of Sidi Kaouki is it's its final destination, so when the bus turns around you know it's the last stop and you should get out. Please note that the bus is sometimes late, and sometimes does not come at all. Also, the 15:45 bus on workdays can be so crowded that you simply can't get in on the south bus station.
Madina bus station schedule to Sidi Kaouki:
first bus: 6:45 (assumed, as the first bus from Sidi Kaouki is 8:00)
bus cycle: once per hour at hh:45 (might leave out some hours, not sure yet which)
last bus: 17:45 (assumed, as the last bus from Sidi Kaouki is 19:00)
Essaouira South bus station schedule to Sidi Kaouki (same notes as above apply):
first bus: 6:50
bus cycle: once per hour at hh:50
last bus: 17:50
By microbus. This is a transport option that we have not yet figured out. These are small buses (for about 8 passengers?) and they go from Essaouira to Sidi Kaouki and beyond four times a day. They pass directly by our house, means you can make it stop right in front of our gate to get on or off. [TODO]
By grand taxi. There is a grand taxi service from the Madina grand taxi station to the center of Sidi Kaouki. Usually the taxi will be an old, sky blue Mercedes car, and at least some have a "Sidi Kaouki" destination label on their doors.
The price is fixed by the city at 100 MAD for the whole taxi to Sidi Kaouki. So the price per person will be from 15 MAD (6 passengers in a 4 passenger car, it happens here ) or higher, depending on how many other passengers you or the taxi driver will find to share the taxi.
1.3. From Essaouira-Mogador Airport
There are several transport options:
By taxi. Usually you take a taxi from the airport right to our house. It's by far the most comfortable and shortest option, but if you have to take a whole taxi alone it will also be expensive. Expect around 60-80 MAD, though we did not test this option yet.
By bus via Gazhoua. Cheaper than a taxi – expect around 10 MAD in total, though we did not test this option yet. Take the public bus from the airport to Essaouira and get out in Gazhoua (you may have to ask to stop it). Take the next bus going from Essaouira to Sidi Kaouki. It's 28 km compared to 18 km from the airport to the House directly by taxi. We did not test this option yet, and buses don't really run on time, so you may have to wait up to 1.5 hours in Gazhoua as buses "should" come once per hour on that route.
1.4. From Agadir Airport
From Agadir Airport to Inezgane:
By taxi. There are shared taxis to for 7-10 MAD.
By bus. You can also go outside and wait for the bus. The only bus that goes from there is the one to Inezgane.
From Inezgane to Essaouira:
By bus. Buses to Essaouira are available and cost 50-70 MAD. See the bus schedule. You can book them from the bus station or a nearby travel agency office. These buses pass by Sidi Kaouki on their way to Essaouira, so you could ask the driver to drop you off on the highway at the junction to Sidi Kaouki. Then take your chances with any car entering or a bus going to Sidi Kaouki – if you're unlucky, it's a long 18 km walk …
By grand taxi. The service costs almost the same as buses per person, but is not comfortable as they reportedly load 6 passengers and the driver into a normal Mercedes passenger car.
From Agadir center to Essaouira:
By bus. If you reach to the center of Agadir, there should be a bus station as well. The same buses going from Inezgane also go from Agadir center.
To proceed from Essaouira, see the corresponding section above.
1.5. From Marrakesh Airport
There are buses going from Marrakesh to Essaouira, and they take close to 3 hours. It is recommended to reserve seats on the buses in advance: CTM accepts foreign credit cards. Their buses leave at 8.30 and 12.30. Not sure yet where they start, perhaps directly at the airport. [TODO]
To proceed from Essaouira, see the corresponding section above.
1.6. From Casablanca Airport
There are several transport options:
By bus. No clear information yet, but you'd go by bus to Essaouira and then proceed from Essaouira according to the corresponding section above. If you arrive in the early evening in Essaouira, it's better to spend the night there as apart from the occasional taxi there is no way to get to Sidi Kaouki then. [TODO]
By airplane. There is an internal flight from Casablanca to Essaouira Mogador airport every second day, and it "always" costs just 32 EUR (see). Proceed from Essaouira Mogador Airport according to this section.
1.7. From airports abroad
Here is a list of recommendable connections that we have found so far:
2. People in the House
[TODO: insert the House calendar]
3. Actions in the House
3.1. Cooking stove use
We have a stove in the upstairs kitchen. It uses LPG gas fuel.
The LPG gas bottle is exchanged every Monday by somebody coming to our house, even though it is not empty (it would last for a small family up to a month).
As a safety precaution, the valve of the LPG bottle should be closed every evening. For that, open the cabinet to the right of the kitchen stove, and turn the knob at the top of the LPG bottle right until the valve is closed. ("Turn right" as in "like a normal bolt" and "clockwise when looking at the bottle from the top".)
3.2. Organic waste disposal
Organic waste and paper is composted in the garden (so we can collect them in the same bin). It works like this:
- Find a spot along the wall, to the right after entering the main gate, that has neither tree roots nor has been dug already (which would mean you'd dig compost out rather than in).
- Dig a hole large enough for your bucket of kitchen waste, and fill it into the hole.
- Put in quite some water. Either with a hose in the north-east corner (valve is close to the garden wall), or with the waste bucket. Clean the waste bucket in the process.
- Put the dug-out soil on top of the waste.
We probably want to create a larger hole and compost the regular way in that (with a central pole for aerating it by moving it around from time to time). Then, when we leave, we'd add soil on top only once.
3.3. Residual waste disposal
There is no waste collection in Sidi Kaouki – see here for some of the background story. So it's better to not produce much plastic and metal waste at all.
The next proper disposal option is in Ghazoua, on the way to Essaouira. We have yet to find an acceptable way to get our residual waste there, or an acceptable alternative to dispose it otherwise. So for now, it seems best to wash food containers and store the waste "nice, dry and clean" until we know what to do with it …
3.4. Washing machine use
- Connect the washing machine through the bathroom window with electricity, using the extension cord usually found in the bathroom.
- Put the items to wash into the machine's left bucket. Do not fill it more than half, as the rotating content might otherwise damage the little fabric filter bag hanging in from one corner.
- Make sure the valve selector dial is set to "Wash / Rinse", as all water you put in would just flow out again if it is set to "Drain".
- Use the hose to fill the left bucket with water until it just about covers the clothing.
- Put in "a normal amount of washing powder", about one coffee cup for a full load.
- Set the "Timer" dial for washing action: 9 for slightly dirty clothing, 12 for normal dirty, 15 for heavily dirty. This corresponds approximately to minutes ("15" is 17:45 min). You can always start it again if you think it needs more time.
- Let it wash until the timer is down to zero.
- Set the valve dial to "drain" to remove the washing water.
- Rinse the washed items. Either do it manually using the hose, bucket and drain next to the washing machine. Or set the valve dial to "Wash / Rinse" again, add more water, wash for some minutes using the washing timer dial, and drain again.
- Put the clothing into the machine's right bucket, add the flexible plastic sheet found in the bucket on top of the clothing, and close the lid of the bucket tightly (so that the latch actually catches).
- Set the spin timer dial and let it spin until finished.
3.5. Pool maintenance
Water level (in / out)
Cleaning the floor
Filtering the water
3.6. Garden maintenance
The vegetable / herbal garden to the right after entering the gate needs to be watered every afternoon / evening (as in "going through each row ten times with the hose"). A gardener comes every afternoon (around 15:30) to do this. Of course we can help him with that.
Apart from the vegetable / herbal garden, the plants are "maintenance free". The trees etc. do not require irrigation.
3.7. Mobile phone and mobile Internet use
There are two cellphone towers in Sidi Kaouki, right here, close to the center. They include Maroc Telecom antennas, probably also Orange antennas and others.
Mobile network signal level within the house varies with position, but in the first level living hall it is generally very low for Orange and low to medium for Maroc Telecom. This is caused by the three walls the signal has to cross on the way to the cell tower.
For Maroc Telecom, the following is our "best practice":
Mobile phone calls. Network strength is sufficient anywhere in the house for phone calls. If not, move more to the north (Sidi Kaouki facing) side, or up one level. On the rooftop, you have perfect reception.
Mobile Internet. Network strength is often not sufficient for mobile Internet use (typically only an unreliable and slow 2.5G "EDGE" data connection in the first level living hall). If you want reliable mobile Internet, for example during the occasional blackouts of the House's wired Internet connection, simply put a mobile phone into "hotspot" mode and place it inside a window on the north (Sidi Kaouki facing) side. Then connect to that device by wifi from your computer in the living room or one of the apartments. Also, you have perfect 4G / LTE network signal strength on the rooftop.
3.8. Fixing issues with the electricity and water supply
If anything about electricity or water supply breaks, @hazem has the phone number of the handyman guy who does these tasks for the House regularly.
Here is what we know so far about the water supply system:
Water well. All tap water in the House is supplied by a well next to the swimming pool, below the solar panels. That well has its own pump installed, probably inside the well. However that is not the pump supplying the rooftop water tank, according to the House's handyman. So we assume that the pump in the well only pumps water to the cistern in front of the "Locale Technique" room.
Rooftop water tank. All tap water (hot and cold) is supplied via a water tank on top of the House's roof. There is a water pump in the "Locale Technique" room that runs sometimes, starting and stopping automatically. We assume that it pumps water from the cistern below it to the rooftop water tank whenever the water level there becomes too low.
Electrical water heaters. Hot water in the downstairs apartments is supplied exclusively by 1.2 kW electrical water heaters with a buffer tank. One of these has been newly installed in each of the apartments when we arrived.
Solar water heater. Hot water in the upstairs rooms is supplied exclusively by the solar water heater. It is gravity-fed from the rooftop water tank, has a small hot water buffer tank attached to it, and a small electrical pump inside. The small tank above the panel is a hot water buffer. It is always full, as cold water will flow in while taking out hot water. The pump is (very probably) for circulating heat transfer fluid in a closed loop between the panel and the buffer tank. The pump is not for pressurizing the hot water supply, because if it does not work, the water will still flow but be cold (we had that issue once). This pump is connected to a socket in the "Locale Technique" room (left after entry, in the corner).
3.9. Fixing issues with the Internet connection
The Internet connection in the House is supplied by a mobile broadband (3G or 4G) connection.
Setup in the House: (as seen by incoming data packages)
Mobile broadband router. A wireless broadband router on the rooftop, on top of the water tank, establishes the connection to the mobile network tower (which is located close to the center of Sidi Kaouki, ca. 2.5km by line of sight). It does so with the help of a USB stick that includes the mobile broadband modem and a SIM card. The connection information is however configured in the wireless broadband router. Wifi is (so far) not enabled on this router, but it can be done. The network of this device is 192.168.0.0/24, and it is not connected with the 192.168.1.0/24 network of the main wifi router, except for Internet access. To connect to this network for maintenance purposes, the simplest option is to plug the WAN side (blue) Ethernet cable of the main wifi router into ones computer. Connection setup is then done by DHCP.
Small box. The rooftop device is connected by cable to a small box in apartment 1, near the window. Not sure what role it has. Could be just a 4-port Ethernet switch, to be checked.
Wifi router. The small box in apartment 1 is then connected with a blue Ethernet cable to the main router in the house, which is located in a corner in the living hall. The router's admin interface URL and working login data for this are written at the bottom of the device. The router gets its WAN IP address by DHCP from the rooftop router. The network of this device is 192.168.1.0/24.
@matthias has some more information in case it's needed: backup files of the settings of both routers, admin interface login information etc..
Setup on the provider side:
ISP. Internet provider is the mobile network operator "Orange".
Contract type. A one year contract created by our landlord. Start time and conditions are unknown so far. [TODO]
Fixing connection issues: Our options include
Orange customer support. If necessary, it will work to just call the Orange customer support and tell them the number on our SIM card. (We don't have it noted down yet, it's on the rooftop … .)
Network admin. A colleague of our house handyman Rasheed installed the Internet connection setup in the House. We can get his number from Rasheed if needed.
Exchanging the SIM card. At least as a temporary measure in case of upstream or SIM card problems, we could just exchange the Orange SIM card in the rooftop device with one of our own, and book an Internet package for it. Maroc Telecom also has excellent 4G signal strength at the rooftop of the House.
There is a cat that comes to eat at the House.
4. Actions out of the House
4.1. Getting local currency
There are a lot of ATMs in Essaouira, esp. in the Madina (walled old city) and its neighborhood, and so far none of them had issues with international credit cards. There are also several banks that offer currency exchange (usually advertised on their sign).
[TODO: Link a uMap map with the ATMs and exchange offices we found.]
4.2. Shopping in Sidi Kaouki
There are three small shops in Sidi Kaouki: close to the center, here and here.
[TODO: Add the shop opening times.]
They have basic food items:
- Moroccan bread (in one of the three)
- vegetables: potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, onions
- fruits: oranges, clementines, apples
- bottled water: 1 l bottles, 5 l cans
- other: eggs, tuna cans, …
[TODO: Complete the list of products on sale, and split it by shop. ]
4.3. Shopping in Gazhoua and Essaouira
Shops and Markets
[TODO: Provide a uMap map with all the shops we surveyed in Essaouira and Gazhoua.]
Permanent shops and markets. We have marked shops and markets that are of potential interest to us on our POI map. [TODO: Add link once available.] You should do the same when you come across an interesting shop.
Essaouira flea market. There is a flea market in Essaouira every Sunday from (early?) morning to early afternoon (the first sellers start to pack around 14:30). Location is along Avenue Molay Hicham, from here to here. You find all kind of new / old / broken tools, household items, bicycle parts and accessories, bicycles, electronics and also some clothing and food items. The northern 20% section is a fruit / vegetable market.
Essaouira junk street. Many small shops and a whole squatter area around this street. Mostly selling salvaged items and materials, including doors and windows, tools, household items and utter junk. The squatter area is also home to two or three art galleries / showrooms by local artists (see our POI map for locations).
4.4. Getting and setting up a local SIM card
In short, these are the steps to use phone calls and mobile Internet with a local Moroccan SIM card. If you need more details, you can ask @matthias.
Buy a Maroc Telecom SIM card. Maroc Telecom has the bets network around the House, and in general in Morocco, while the Orange network does not work well around the House. See our location map for shops that sell Maroc Telecom SIM cards. They cost 30 MAD, and there is no need for a passport or other documents when buying them. We also have a few Maroc Telecom SIM cards available in the House for visitors.
Buy recharge cards for Maroc Telecom SIM cards. See our location map for shops that have them. Get a 50 MAD card for each month of your stay if you want permanent mobile Internet, and some 10-20 MAD cards for phone calls balance depending on usage. Also, we should have some recharge cards around in the House.
Alternative recharge methods are "express recharge" in shops (of either phone or Internet balance), or online recharge here at Maroc Telecom, or here and here from third parties. All untested so far.
Activate the SIM card. Insert it into a phone, call anyone, and press
0 when you hear the voice menu prompt. After that, the SIM card is active, and your call will be executed as normal.
Recharge your phone call balance. Send a SMS to number
555 and as content the recharge code from your card (for example
48107139762872). You will immediately receive a SMS confirming the recharge ("Votre compte Jawal a été recharge de …DH").
Book a mobile Internet package.
Choose a recharge card. The card's recharge amount determines which package you book. For permanent Internet access, choose a 50 MAD card, which gives you a 5 GiB package for 30 days and is the smallest package valid that long. See also the full list of Internet packages.
Send a SMS to number
555 and as content the recharge code from your card followed by
*3 to indicate you want to book an Internet package. So for example,
You will receive a SMS immediately, confirming your booking.
Set up mobile Internet settings. Check the APN settings of your mobile device's mobile Internet configuration. If it has an active APN configuration with APN
www.iamgprs1.ma then the automatic configuration was successful. Otherwise, create and then enable that APN configuration manually with:
username: leave empty
password: leave empty
other fields: leave at default values
Both phone calls and mobile Internet should now work. Mobile Internet will stop working once the runtime or data volume of your Internet package runs out, so keep a suitable recharge card with you to renew it.
5. Leaving the House
5.1. To Sidi Kaouki
There are multiple transport options
By walking. To the center (bus station etc.) it takes pretty exactly 30 minutes of moderate to fast walking.
By bicycle. You can take one of our four bicycles. Take the lock and lock the bicycle in the center of Sidi Kaouki while you are in Essaouira, Gazhoua, or leave to an airport. The lock combination is 1632.
By hitchhiking. Same as in section "From Sidi Kaouki", which see.
5.2. To Gazhoua and Essaouira
For all major purchases etc. we have to go to either Gazhoua (closest smaller city, has a large supermarket and some shops) or to Essaouira (closest larger city, ca. 70.000 inhabitants).
From our house to Essaouira you have the same transport options as from Essaouira to Sidi Kaouki. These also apply to Gazhoua, which is on the way to Essaouira.
By bus. Leaves from the center of Sidi Kaouki. Bus times are notoriously undependable, and we had cases where one bus was 50 minutes late, followed 10 minutes afterwards by the next one.
first bus: 8:00 (unconfirmed, source)
bus cycle: once per hour at hh:00
last bus: 19:00 (unconfirmed, could also be 17:00 or 18:00)
By microbus. The first one goes reportedly at 6:30, and there are four over the day. You can stop that bus right in front of our house, as it passes there. [TODO: bus schedule]
By grand taxi. They leave from the center of Sidi Kaouki. All blue vehicles with a round emblem on the front doors are grand taxis, whether rusty Mercedes cars or new vans. There are reportedly no taxis in (late) evening. Price is always 100 MAD for the taxi to Essaouira, so it will be shared between 1-6 passengers depending on how many you find to join. [TODO: first and last available taxi]
5.3. To Essaouira-Mogador Airport
5.4. To Agadir Airport
5.5. To Marrakesh Airport
5.6. To Casablanca Airport
5.7. To airports abroad