Documentation wiki for all relevant practical and organizational knowledge around the OpenVillage House in Sidi Kaouki, Morocco. (For the wiki covering the activities in the House, see here.) Initial writeup by @matthias and @hazem. Please add and edit! With , from Sidi Kaouki.
1. Reaching the House
2. Actions in the House
3. Actions out of the House
4. Leaving the House
5. 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
Map 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 device or favourite mobile app for maps. (If you don't have a favourite yet, use OsmAnd~, probably the best available open source map app for Android.)
Directions for finding the House. It's really simple: Stand in the center of Sidi Kaouki so that the ocean is to your right. Move ahead and always follow along the main street (which is the only paved one, and leads parallel to the beach for the most part). There are almost no buildings on the way, and after around 3 km (30 minutes walking / 10 minutes cycling), the second streetside house on the right side is our House. It has the name "Dar Nezza" written in white letters on a blue gate, which is easily visible from the road. Here's your route on Google Maps. The switch to the right of the gate that looks like a light switch is actually a working bell that is heard in the main living hall. Use it and we'll open
Save this manual locally. It's a good idea to put this documentation on your phone and / or computer before you travel. If you're unsure how:
In Chrome on a computer. Right-click on the page, choose "Save as …" and save it to a place where you will find it again.
In Chrome on Android. Open this manual webpage, then click the download icon in the right side of the addressbar and click "Open" in the message that will appear. You can also open it anytime under "three-dots menu → Downloads".
In any browser on a computer. You can also print the print-optimized version of this webpage to a PDF file.
For urgent contact. If you need to talk to somebody in the House urgently (assistance while travelling etc.) you can call these Moroccan mobile phone numbers:
@matthias: +212 611 283535 (Maroc Telecom network, good reception around the House)
@hazem: +212 777 352007 (Orange network, sometimes no proper reception around the House)
About the place. In earlier stages of the project @unknown_author scouted some potential places in Morocco, and we settled for a place called near Sidi Kaouki. As you can see from the map, the house is not in a central location. It is in a remote calm place, with the beach around the corner and the next village 30 min away by walking. So we need to get out to Sidi Kaouki to interact with the local community and go to Essaouira to get the stuff which is missing in 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
By bicycle. We have 3-4 working bicycles, so you can contact us when you arrive in Sidi Kaouki and somebody will come with an extra bicycle and pick you up. When you tell us in time, we can also lock a bicycle in the "center" so you can just take it and come to the House. The bicycle lock combination is
1632 (red lock) and
0008 (black lock).
By walking. The House is 30 minutes of walking from Sidi Kaouki's center.
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.
By taxi. We did not try this yet, but it may work. There are sky-blue "grand taxis" in the center of Sidi Kaouki, usually going to Essaouira. But you can try to negotiate that it brings you to our House instead (they might refuse though, as perhaps they are not even allowed to operate as "normal taxis"). We have no idea about the price, but as a rough indication: it was an additional 30 MAD once when adding this route to a taxi drive from Essaouira.
By microbus. Not of much practical use yet, but still: there is a small bus going four times a day from Essaouira to Sidi Kaouki, then passing by our House and going beyond. If you catch it in Sidi Kaouki, you can make it stop right in front of our House. A good option when transporting loads. You can recognize the bus from the "Sidi Mbarek" sign at the top of its windscreen. Schedule:
hh:mm (first bus) [TODO]
15:50 (last bus)
1.2. From Essaouira
Please note that there is no proper night transportation between Essaouira and Sidi Kaouki. The options below stop working in the evening!
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).
Essaouira is compact and walkable. If you arrive by Supratours bus, you are dropped off at a bus station that is NOT the same place that buses to Sidi Kaouki go from. The Supratours ticket office has free maps of Essa and is close to both the bus and the Grand Taxi stops.
By bus. There is a bus that goes six or seven times per day to Sidi Kaouki. It takes 30-40 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" and line number "2" 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. Note that the 15:35 bus on workdays can be so crowded that you simply can't get in at the Essaouira South bus station. Also note, these buses can easily be 15-30 minutes late. Source of the bus schedule is a blog post from 2017-05. A different schedule with more buses was shown on the signs at Bab Doukkala station, but these signs do not exist anymore so we assume the schedule is also outdated (it was 6:00, 7:45, 9:30, 11:15, 12:45, 14:45, 16:30, 18:30).
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: bus schedule, bus station in Essaouira]
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 (and for all, you need to get local currency):
By taxi. Usually you take a taxi from the airport. 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 60-80 MAD for the whole car, though we did not test this option yet. Any sky blue car is a taxi, esp. if it is an old Mercedes car or has a round label on its front door. We don't yet know if these taxis are the shared "grand taxis" that have fixed routes ending in the center of Sidi Kaouki or if they are normal taxis that go to the place you tell them. If these are "grand taxis", you can still try to negotiate with the driver to bring you directly to our House; expect to pay ca. 30 MAD in addition for that, but prices will vary and also depend on your negotiation skills And if you only get to the center of Sidi Kaouki, see here for how to proceed from there to the House.
By bus via Gazhoua. Cheaper than a taxi – expect 7-10 MAD, though we did not test this option yet. But it also takes longer, and is longer: 28 km compared to 18 km from the airport to the House directly by taxi. In addition, you'll only arrive to the center of Sidi Kaouki, and have to proceed from there to the House for the last 3 km.
But if you are feeling a bit adventurous, here's how. Take the public bus from the airport to Essaouira and get out at Gazhoua bus station (you may have to ask to stop it). Cross the street to get to the bus station for the other direction, and take the next bus going from Gazhoua to Sidi Kaouki. At least two bus lines go that way, but you may still have to wait up to an hour. So far, we only have the times for line 2 "Essaouira – Gazhoua – Sidi Kaouki", see "Reaching the House: From Essaouira".
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 or Sidi Kaouki:
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 13.5 km walk. Hitchhiking on the open road works better with tourists than with locals, and your chance with a random car is around 10% (small sample size of 10, to be determined better ).
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. They will take the same route as the buses, so just as described for the bus, you could ask the driver to drop you off at the highway junction to Essaouira.
From Agadir center to Essaouira or Sidi Kaouki:
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, so see above for details.
To proceed from Essaouira, see the corresponding section above.
1.5. From Marrakesh Airport
If you arrive in the evening, the only way to reach the city center from the airport is by taxi. Taxi drivers know you have no choice, and charge (comparatively) a lot of money. We paid 18-20 EUR, but there are reports of people being charged up to 50 GBP. It comes down to how much you feel like negotiating the price down.
Once in the center, there are buses going from Marrakesh to Essaouira, and they take close to 3 hours. There are two bus lines: Supra and CTM.
Ticket purchase. You can try to reserve seats on the buses in advance. Both companies have websites: CTM and Supra. But they are both unreliable websites with design problems. Other sites do a better job of showing the timetables. They in theory accept foreign credit cards, but non-Moroccan cards normally glitch in online payments, so in practice you'll likely have to just go there and hope for the best.
Schedules. CTM buses leave at: 8:30 and 12:30. Supra buses go at 8:00, 9:00, 10:45, 12:30, 15:00, 17:00 and 19:00. The 9:00 bus they call "Comfort Plus" – it is comfortable and even has on-board wifi. They say the 12:30 bus is a CTM bus. This British site has a working schedule, which is assumed to be up to date.
Departure location. The two bus lines are located in different places. Supra, an extension of the national rail service, is located next to the train station and the CTM is a few (about four) blocks away at Rue Abou Bakr Seddiq. CTM prices might be somewhat lower.
Hotels. There are several hotels located by the train station. The Opera Plaza Hotel is more money – 16-25 EUR more than the other nearby hotels, but they have their own airport shuttle and excellent rooms. It is a 3-5 minutes walk from the Supratours terminal. The railway station, right next to it (a one minute walk from the Opera Plaza), hosts a small shopping mall that includes a Telecom Maroc shop. It opens at 10:00, though – too late if you mean to catch one of the morning buses to Essaouira.
When in Essaouira. 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 or tested connections that we have found so far:
From Rome. Royal Air Maroc has a 17:15 flight to Casablanca, from where a connecting flight will take you to Marrakech. This comes out at ~100 EUR. Arrival in Marrakech is quite late, so you will have to spend the night in town and continue the journey the next day. Tested by: @alberto.
From Paris-Orly Sud. There is a direct flight to Essaouira-Mogador Airport twice a week in the early morning. However security checks are so totally annoying in France these days that we recommend not to use this route. Tested by: @matthias.
2. Actions in the House
2.1. Connecting to the Internet
There is wifi throughout the House, on the rooftop terrace and around the pool area:
- wifi name:
- wifi password: written on a paper hanging in the main living hall
The wifi is supplied by a mobile broadband connection (3G / 4G network), which will become expensive when using it excessively. So be a bit (just a bit) considerate. Watching videos online is fine, file sharing software that constantly uploads and downloads is not, frequently downloading huge files (>1 GiB each) is also rather not.
In case of issues with the wifi connection:
- See if you can get closer to one of the three wifi routers, esp. with less walls in between. One is in the main living hall, one in apartment 1, one on the rooftop watertank.
- If there is no Internet connection at all, talk to @matthias to fix it, or if you know what you are doing, use the instructions in the corresponding section below to fix it.
2.2. Kitchen use
Water. The tap water is not drinkable (too high salt content, maybe other issues). But it's ok to use for dishwashing and cooking (just use less salt). For drinking water, use the container with potable water. In the upstairs kitchen it is on the fridge, and usually there are several refillable 5 l water cans around with our stockpile of potable water to refill the dispenser.
LPG stove. We have a stove in the upstairs kitchen. It uses LPG gas fuel. 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".)
LPG bottle exchange. One bottle lasts for 3-4 weeks of daily usage. There are three full spare bottles in the small shed below the main stairs. They belong to the gardener, but we can use them as spares if we also replace them with full ones later. To exchange an empty LPG bottle with a full one: Put it on a Monday morning at the streetside, in front of our main gate. (Iskoha villagers will also put out their LPG bottles at the time, on the opposite side.) A LPG bottle truck will come between 11:00 and 14:00 (observed 13:15) after delivering to the shops in Sidi Kaouki. They will ring to get the payment for the LPG refill, which is 40 MAD for a bottle of the size we have.
Making coffee. We have moka pot coffee makers in different sizes. Use the water with the least salt content you can find. Water bought from a shop is the best, water from the well near the school is the second best, water from the well near the mosque is already too salty for good coffee, and the tap water is really unusable for coffee.
2.3. 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.
2.4. 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 …
2.5. 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 - at most. The more soap you use the more work it will take to rinse it off.
- 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. You will have to rinse twice if you do not do it manually. *To be sure that all the soap is out of your clothes, then rinse them manually by setting the machine to drain and raising up each piece rinse with the hose as you ease it over to the spin bucket on the right side of the machine.
- 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. You will have to hold the machine in place while it spins - like all old washing machines, it "walk" away from the wall and could even pull out the plug if unattended.
- Hang you clothes on the lines on the back patio.
2.6. Pool maintenance
Water level (in / out)
Make sure that the water level is in the correct level ) should be in the middle of the holes as seen in the picture below.
In case you need to add in water, the water tap is found in the garden right next to the pool.
In case you need to reduce the water, the water tap is found in the room attached to the pool ( tap no 2 )
Cleaning the floor
This is done using a robot , just clean the edges with the big broom found near the pool, Connect the Robot with Electricity, and leave it to clean.
Make sure to tie the box to a chair or something stable so it doesn't get inside the water.
Filtering the water
The normal situation in the room is:
- Power is turned on.
- The handle is on "Filter".
- Tap no. 1 and no. 2 is vertical, leaving 1 opened and 2 closed.
In order to wash the water:
- Turn off the power button.
- Change tap no. 1 and 2. to horizontal positions (means 1 closed , 2 opened).
- Change the handle to "Spülen".
- Turn on the power.
- Wait to see the dust coming in the water sample till it is dusty and not clear.
- Turn off the power.
- Change the handle to "Rinse".
- Turn on the power.
- Wait to see the water is getting clearer.
- Turn off the power and repeat 2 3 times.
- Make sure before leaving getting everything back into place (tap 1 and 2 vertical, handle on "Filter", and power on.)
2.7. 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 day (morning or afternoon) 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.
2.8. 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, sometimes stable HSDPA with Maroc Telecom though). If you want reliable mobile Internet, for example during the occasional blackouts of the House's main 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.
2.9. Fixing issues with the electricity supply
If anything breaks, we can call the "house handyman". The phone number is in the section with protected information below. The grid connection is made at the electrical mast next to the main gate, and from there a cable goes to the main fuse box, to the left after entering the Locale Technique room. Following along the wires from there:
Fuse, top row, no. 1 from left. Labeled P. Probably leads to some pump. [TODO: find out and confirm]
Fuse, top row, no. 2 from left. Probably connects to the auxiliary fuse box in the corner of the Locale Technique room. [TODO: confirm] Which contains:
Aux box, left. Main pump or solar collector circulation pump. Connected with teh ocket below the fuse. [TODO: confirm]
Aux box, right. Main pump or solar collector circulation pump. Connected with teh ocket below the fuse. [TODO: confirm]
Fuse, top row, no. 3-4 from left. Room lighting in the Locale Technique room. Not labeled on the fuse itself, but this means that the last label on the inside door of the fuse box refers to this fuse. Which indeed it does (mentioning "room lighting").
Fuse, top row, no. 5-6 from left. [TODO]
Fuse, bottom row. The "big main fuse" for the complete House, an overhead line leads to apartment 4 and / or with a blue buried line may also lead to the house [TODO: to be found out]. Devices after that:
- Fuses in the main living hall fuse box.
Fuses in other fuse boxes. [TODO: Find out if there are any other fuses]
Switch and indicator lamps. On the door of the main fuse box, with unclear usage. The switch is normally in the right position (out of "left, center, right") and all indicator lamps are normally off.
All fuses are normally closed (up position). We have not yet seen a fuse that was open (down position) when we came.
2.10. Fixing issues with the water supply
If anything breaks, we can call the "house handyman". The phone number is in the section with protected information below.
Water installation. Way of the water from the well to the taps:
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 pumps water to the cistern in front of the "Locale Technique" room.
Cistern. Water is stored in a cistern below the "Local Technique" room. The concrete slabs in front of that room are access ports for it, but were recently cemented in by the gardener.
Main water pump. There is a water pump mounted to the floor in the "Locale Technique" room, pumping water from the cistern to the rooftop water tank. It starts and stops automatically, based on pipe pressure in its high-pressure side (equivalent to water level in the rooftop water tank), controlled by a pressure sensor next to it that also has a mechanical pressure sensor attached which normally shows 2.0 bars.
Water filter. In the high-pressure line after the water pump, there is a device looking like a large glass jar. That's the water filter.
Reverse osmosis / desalination filter (?). After the water filter, the water goes through the big white plastic box, which has a blue pressure vessel and a white vessel and some insulation material inside. It is however not connected to electricity and there is a note that some element is not yet installed, so the water will just flow through this mysterious thingy.
Rooftop water tank. All tap water (hot and cold) is supplied via a water tank on top of the House's roof, to where it is pumped by the main water pump.
For hot water: solar water heater. From the high-pressure side, a red flexible tube goes to the outside and up on the "Local Technique" room's roof to the solar water heater. Another tube covered in black insulating material comes down from there again and goes to the hot water taps in the first floor. This way, water coming down through the riser tube from the rooftop water tank is used to pressurize the hot water line and to push water through the solar water heater.
The solar water heater has a small hot water buffer tank attached to its solar collector panel, and a small electrical pump inside. The buffer tank is always full, as cold water will flow in while taking out hot water. The pump is for circulating heat transfer fluid in a closed loop (or maybe tank water in an open 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 out of the taps 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).
Hot water comes out of the solar collector's buffer tank in a tube covered in black insulating material, goes into and out of the "Local Technique" room, into the ground, out of the ground close to the house wall, then rises through a rainwater tube along the house wall, enters through the wall in the first floor and goes to all the hot water taps there.
Cold water comes down gravity-pressurized through a separate tube from the rooftop water tank. It is visible as a large black plastic tube inside the rainwater tube that also contains the rising hot water line. From there, it seems to go around the house, with all the ground level apartments connected this way.
Electrical water heaters. In the ground level apartments, hot water is only supplied 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. They are mounted inline, after a junction from the coldwater line. This means, the water is also gravity-pressurized from the rooftop water tank.
Additionally, there is a connection between the high-pressure and low-pressure tubing in the "Locale Technique" room, with a closed valve in between that is secured closed with wire. Do not open this, as it will cause all water in the rooftop water tank to flow back into the cistern. It's meant for maintenance work on the rooftop water tank and piping system, obviously.
2.11. Fixing issues with the Internet connection
Fixing connection issues: Recommended steps:
Try a reconnect. When the Internet connection is "there but very slow", it sometimes helps to just disconnect and then re-connect the mobile broadband connection. You can check ping times:
ping 18.104.22.168 (to the Google nameserver) returning average ping times of ~56 ms is "normally fast Internet", and the typical range for pinging European servers is 82 - 95 ms. Any ping times >150 ms indicate the "slow and unusable Internet" condition, probably because somebody started heavy usage in the House, or maybe also in the same mobile broadband channel / frequency (?) that the House are connected with. When reconnecting, the cell tower will assign the broadband modem an unused part of the spectrum (if one is still available), so the connection will be fast again. If it helps at all, just repeat this whenever the connection becomes slow again, which can be anytime (two minutes, two hours, …). In almost all cases, this only breaks heavy use connections in the House, so the proper fix is to find and stop the software doing this. Reconnect instructions:
For the "rooftop pi" router. Log in with
ssh firstname.lastname@example.org and reconnect with
sudo killall wvdial; sudo wvdial & disown. The login password is written on the door and in the section with protected information below.
For the "rooftop" router (currently not in service!). Just go to the rooftop router's admin interface (http://192.168.0.254/), log in with "admin" / "admin", and click the "Disconnect" and then "Connect" button on the page you will see.
Try a reboot. If the issue is not yet solved, you can try rebooting the broadband router.
For the "rooftop pi" router. Log in with
ssh email@example.com and reboot with
sudo reboot. The login password is written on the door and in the section with protected information below. Afterwards, you have to reconnect the Raspberry Pi router manually, using
sudo wvdial & disown via SSH.
For the "rooftop" router (currently not in service!). Log in on http://192.168.0.254/ with "admin" / "admin", go to "System Tools → Reboot", and click "Reboot". It's not clear if that can have a positive effect (please tell your experiences here). It does however help in other router setups, which can become bogged down by memory leaks etc. after long uptimes.
Recharge the Orange SIM card. The most common issue is that we exhaust the 40 GiB of monthly included data volume, at which point the Internet connection will stop to work. (The mobile broadband router will still show the connection status as "Connected", but no data transfer is possible, and after a manual disconnect no new connection is possible.)
To recharge it, you need to activate an "Orange Pass Internet". The simplest way is to simply buy a suitable package at recharge.orange.ma for phone number
+212660767305. It does not need any login, works well with international credit cards, and has an immediate effect (confirmed ≤5 min). Just remember to reboot the router afterwards, as the new connection can only be established after that for some reason. Just go to: http://192.168.0.254/ → System Tools → Reboot.
Use another mobile broadband connection. We have a redundant mobile broadband connection available by a second mobile network operator (Maroc Telecom instead of Orange). Maroc Telecom has excellent 4G signal strength at the rooftop of the House. To activate this, let @matthias put his tablet computer into hotspot mode, or use another Android device in hotspot mode.
Talk to @matthias. He has some more information about the network, including backup files of the router settings.
Call Orange customer support. If necessary, it will work to just call the Orange customer support and tell them the number on our SIM card, contained in the "5. Protected Information" section below.
Call the network admin. A colleague of our house handyman installed the Internet connection setup in the House. His number is in the section with projected information below.
Internet connection setup:
Type. Mobile broadband (3G for Orange, 4G for Maroc Telecom) connections to the next mobile network tower, which is close to the center of Sidi Kaouki, 2.5 km by line of sight.
ISP. Mobile network operator "Orange" is our main ISP, mobile network operator "Maroc Telecom" the ISP for our secondary, redundant Internet connection.
Contract. The contract with Orange is a one year contract created by our landlord. Start time is unknown, but covers our stay until end of April at least. From 2018-02-01 on, it provides 40 GiB/month of included data volume. For Maroc Telecom, we use Internet packages book on a prepaid SIM card, without no contract runtime.
Local network setup: The House's LAN is
192.168.0.0/24, and contains all its network devices. Infrastructure devices from top to bottom:
Switch. A five-port Fast Ethernet switch model "Tenda S105" on the rooftop, on top of the water tank. Four ports are used, one for each of the three wifi routers and one for the video recording system.
Router "rooftop" (192.168.0.254). A router on the rooftop, on top of the water tank. Model TP-LINK TL-MR3020. Admin interface is http://192.168.0.254/, user "
admin", password "
admin". It has multiple roles: (1) mobile broadband router, with the help of a mobile broadband USB modem stick that includes the SIM card, (2) wifi router for the rooftop, (3) DHCP server for the whole LAN.
Currently not operational, function has been taken over by the "rooftop Pi" router fow now. After Orange Marocco rolled out LTE in our area, this router was no longer able to connect.
Router "rooftop Pi" (192.168.0.251). A router on the rooftop, on top of the water tank. Provides a mobile broadband connection via Orange Marocco. Model is a Raspberry Pi 3 model B.
Router "living hall" (192.168.0.253). Located in a corner in the living hall. Admin interface is http://192.168.0.253/, user "
admin", password "
admin". Provides wifi in the first floor, and also has three free Ethernet ports. Since this router's wifi and Ethernet clients should be in the same network as the rest of the House, the blue Ethernet cable going to the "rooftop" router has to go into one of the three Ethernet ports, not into the WAN port.
Router "apartment 1" (192.168.0.252). A small box in apartment 1, near the window. Model TP-LINK TL-MR3020. Admin interface is http://192.168.0.252/, user "
admin", password "
admin". provides wifi downstairs and around the pool area.
2.12. Dealing with injuries and sickness
Medical emergencies. [TODO: medical facilities, phone numbers, how to arrange ambulance transport etc.]
Small injuries and common sicknesses. We (will) have a kit of first aid supplies and medications in the house. The list has been put together by @HadeerGhareeb and it is managed together with supply status and some usage instructions in the Our Pharmacy wiki.
This part is mainly for people coming from most Arab countries, There is no "shatafa" (Egyptian name) in the toilet, so either bring your portable one, or get used not to use one
للعلم بالشىء لا يوجد "شطافة" فى الحمام
There is a cat that comes to eat at the House.
3. Actions out of the House
We use this map to map all relevant points of interest in the local area. It is using uMap, an OpenStreetMap based service, and you should add other points of interest as you come across them (instructions).
3.1. Getting local currency
There are a lot of ATMs in Essaouira, esp. in the Madina (walled old city) and its neighborhood, and so far only one of them had issues with an international credit card. There are also several banks that offer currency exchange (usually advertised on their sign).
See Essaouira POIs map for ATM and bank locations.
3.2. Shopping in Sidi Kaouki
Remember to check our food shopping list for anything you could bring along for the House. Mark your purchased items as completed in Dynalist. See our Dynalist instruction manual for this and other instructions.
There are five small shops in Sidi Kaouki, close to the center:
"left of three" shop (opening times: always open on Fridays; TODO)
- [TODO: remaining products]
"center of three" shop (opens ca. 9:30, sometimes 9:45, sometimes much later due to bad weather; always open on Fridays)
bread: Moroccan bread for our breakfast (only here!). 1.20 MAD per piece.
fruits: oranges, clementines, apples, bananas. (Restocked every few days.)
vegetables: potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, onions. (Restocked every few days.)
water: 1 l bottles, 5 l cans
other: eggs, tuna cans, salt, cooking oil, …
- [TODO: remaining products]
"right of three" shop (opening times: always open on Fridays; TODO)
- [TODO: remaining products]
"remote" shop (opening times: TODO)
- [TODO: remaining products]
"between the restaurants" shop (opening times: TODO)
- mostly sweets / refreshments for beach visitors
- [TODO: remaining products]
3.3. Shopping in the local area (Essaouira, Gazhoua, Smimou)
Shop along our shopping list (which is just a search for
#shopping -is:completed in our dynalist). Mark your purchased items as completed in Dynalist. See our Dynalist instruction manual for this and other instructions.
We have marked all potentially interesting shops and markets on our Essaouira POIs map, but the following deserve a longer description:
Shops and Markets
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 quarter 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).
Smimou food market. Reportedly there is a market for food every Sunday in Smimou, a town 24 km south of the House. We did not visit this yet, but it seems that the local prefer to go there instead of to Gazhoua or Essaouira. To get there, you can take the microbus from Sidi Kaouki (see section "Reaching the House → From Sidi Kaouki"), ideally catching it right in front of the House.
3.4. Shopping from major cities and from abroad
Somewhat special tools, electronics and food items are not available in the local area, but people coming to the House can bring them in ("piggybacking logistics"). We organize this "remote shopping" as follows:
- Add the item to our dynalist and tag it
#remote-shopping. If it is potentially available in the local area, it does not hurt tagging it
#shopping as well.
- Add a note section to the item explaining where to buy it or where to order it online etc..
- Add a
#by-username tag to the Dynalist item as well so the person getting the item for you can ask for clarifications when needed and knows how to get reimbursed for the costs.
- Do not forget to settle the expense when your item arrives.
See our Dynalist instruction manual for general instructions.
Before you travel to the House, please check our "remote shopping" list for anything useful you can bring in. Since some items might have to be ordered online, from abroad even, ideally check two weeks in advance and then again later for short-notice requests.
Ask the person requiring an item for clarifications if needed (esp. for higher expenses and when you suspect the list might no be up to date). The list item in Dynalist should contain contact information, usually as a tag
#by-username containing an edgeryders.eu username. In such a case, search for the username on edgeryders.eu and send them a direct message there to contact them.
Purchase the item, or let the person requesting it order it online and have it sent to your address.
Immediately after purchasing, mark the item as "completed" in Dynalist ("press Ctrl + Return").
Settle the expense with the person requesting them item when you come to the House.
See our Dynalist instruction manual for general instructions.
3.5. 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 best network around the House, and in general in Morocco. (The two other networks are Inwi and Orange; Inwi works well around the House but offers no 4G service. Orange works only on the rooftop.) Filter our Essaouira POIs map for "SIM" to see the shops selling Maroc Telecom etc. 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. Regarding online recharge, recharge.com works (credit card, or if that fails PayPal) but takes a 20% commission fee. Also prepaidunion.com offers recharge with Paypal (tested, successfully) and all major credit cards (not tested yet). There are more third party services, which we have not yet tested. Whereas the official Maroc Telecom Online Recharge does not work with international credit cards, which is their only payment option suitable for travellers.
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.
3.6. Using our Points of Interest map
This is an incomplete introduction to OsmAnd~ and uMap. OsmAnd~ is the best open source map software for Android, and uMap is a free web-based service for collaboratively creating custom maps online. It is completely open source software and uses free map data from OpenStreetMap. The following instructions refer to our uMap "Essaouira POIs", made for the OpenVillage Academy project, and include conventions defined for just this map.
Using the POI map in a browser
- Simply open our uMap in your browser, either on a desktop computer or on a mobile device.
- When you open the map initially, a search panel is available on the right-hand side. Type anything there and a search over all names of our POI map markers will be made.
- If you close that panel and want to get it back later, you can find it by clicking the "Map Layers" icon in the left side column of icons, and then the "Browse data" button there.
Using the POI map offline
This is useful when travelling, as you don't know if you have a working data connection at all times. It works with all Android devices.
- Install the OsmAnd~ application from F-Droid on your Android device.
- In the app, download the world base layer map and the Morocco map.
- Open our uMap in your mobile device, click the "Share" icon on the left side.
- Choose "Download data → gpx", click "Download data" and save the file in the "Downloads" folder.
- Switch to OsmAnd~ and go to "main menu → My Places".
- Click "+" in the lower left corner, select "Open from → Downloads", and select the GPX file from uMap that you just saved. It will be imported into a new "My Places" category.
- If you went through this process before, you can now hide or delete any categories in "My Places" containing previous versions of that GPX file. All that data is still contained in the newest version you just imported.
- Use the "Search" icon in "main menu → My Places" in OsmAnd~ to find something in our POI map, or just tap on the map markers in your vicinity to see what is around.
Contributing POI data to the map in a browser
This is the most comfortable solution, esp. for adding one or a few points. But obviously it does not work without Internet access (proper mobile network reception, booked Internet package).
- Simply open our uMap in your browser, either on a desktop computer or on a mobile device.
- Click the "Enable Editing" icon in the top right.
- Click the "Draw a marker" icon in the top right and draw a marker on your map.
- In the "Select the layer of the feature" dropdown, select the appropriate topic: Medical, Transport, Commercial (shops, restaurants), Money (ATMs, banks and currency exchange) or Misc (for the "other stuff"). This automatically assigns the marker color as well.
- Enter a name and description. The name should contain everything people might use to search this POI, as the description field is not searchable.
- Click "Shape properties → Icon symbol → define" and select an appropriate white icon.
- Click "Save" in the top right and wait for the confirmation message.
- When you are done with your editing session, click "Disable editing".
Contributing POI data to the map offline
This is preferable when for adding POIs in areas without proper mobile network coverage for Internet access, and also when you use the OsmAnd~ app anyway for navigation and don't want to switch to the browser app to add another POI.
- This solution uses the same app "OsmAnd~" as in the "Using the POI map offline" instructions from above, so if you have not yet, install the OsmAnd~ application from F-Droid on your Android device and in the app, download the world base layer map and the Morocco map.
- Walk around and when you see a POI that is not yet on our map, long-press the screen in OsmAnd~ at the point's location and create a "favourite" marker. Put everything into the title that might be relevant for people searching this, as both in uMap and OsmAnd~ the search only covers the name, not the description. Put supplementary information like shop opening times into the description.
- Save that favourite into a category like "Essaouira POIs 1", using the next free number.
- After some days when you mapped enough and want to put your points on the share map, rename your category to "Essaouira POIs 1 (in uMap)".
- In "main menu → My Places", go to the three-dots menu of the category to export and click "Share → Save as …". Save it in the "Downloads" folder or similar.
- Open our uMap on your mobile device, and click the top-right pencil button to edit the map.
- Click the icon to import data and select the GPX file you just saved. For the layer to import it to, select one named "by @username" (using your Edgeryders username). Everyone has their own layer for their own data, which protects against accidental deletion / overwriting etc..
- Finalizing your contributed POI data by editing it in a browser. Basically open every POI for editing once, and go along the steps under "Contributing POI data to the map in a browser" to set layer, name, description and symbol according to our conventions in this map.
Contributing point data for OpenStreetMap
This covers the steps of getting point-like data into uMap that are meant for adding them later to OpenStreetMap: POIs, start and end of ways, geolocated user notes meant to help you editing OpenStreetMap later. Actually editing this data into OpenStreetMap is a whole other process not covered in this wiki.
In short, just follow the process "Contributing POI data to the map offline" from above, just that you put the POIs into a favourite category "OSM Additions" in OsmAnd~ and import them into a new layer "@username OSM Additions" in uMap.
Contributing GPX tracks for OpenStreetMap
This covers the steps of getting GPX data into uMap. Getting it from there into OpenStreetMap is a whole other process not covered in this wiki.
- In the OsmAnd~ app, download and install the GPX logging plugin.
- Configure the screen so that the GPX logging button appears in the top right corner.
- Click the button to start logging a section.
- Click the button again to stop logging a section (the idea is to only log ways that are not on OpenStreetMap yet, avoiding a lot of point editing for splitting them later).
- Add a "favourite" marker in OsmAnd~ to the start of a section to record information about it for adding it properly to OpenStreetMap later. Put that favourite into a special category "OSM additions" or similar.
- When you finished your mapdriving session, click the GPX button again and click "Save current track".
- Open our uMap in Chrome on Android, and go into editing mode.
- Click the "" icon to import data, select your GPX track, and select a layer "by @username (OSM Additions)" as target layer. Be sure to not select "Replace layer contents".
Creating a backup of the uMap data
Doing this regularly, esp. after you made sizable edits, protects against data loss by troll activity. Because after all, we have set the map to be publicly editable.
- Click on the "Layers" icon (left side, bottom icon) and make all layers visible. Because a data download will only include currently visible data items.
- Click on the "Share and embed this map" icon.
- Make sure "Full map data" is selected as download type, and click "Download data".
3.7. Using the bicycles
We have four bicycles that "came with the house". Of course we have to treat them carefully as they are effectively rented. Sidi Kaouki is a harsh environment for the bicycles, so here are a few hints how to treat them right:
Store the bicycles under the roof next to the garage. Far enough in so that combined ranin and wind can't make them wet.
Do not use the bicycle at the beach, except you know what you are doing. (Driving the bicycle on hard, wet sand does not bring any sand into the drivetrain, so it's ok but anything else is not.)
Do not drive over thorny branches. (We had one tire punctured by four thorns at once already.)
Clean and oil the chain after heavy offroad use.
Tell @matthias if you notice defects.
3.8. Getting drinking water
You can get drinking water from several sources in the local area. By preference:
Well near the mosque (location). Our preferred well. It is more far than the Iskoha well, but the road is paved and the terrain is flat. The well is served from the water tower 20 m from it, and there is a mechanism to adjust the water pressure inside the water tower (in the downstairs area). So in case the tap pressure is very low, it may just be a wrong setting of this valve. It is set to "low to medium" normally, maybe to prevent water overconsumption
Well in Iskoha (location). There is no sign about drinking water at this well, but we were referred here by a local when the well near the school was dry.
Well near the school (location). Served by a very visible, large water tower ca. 200 m from it. This water tower also serves the whole water network in this part of the village, probably including the well in Iskoha. Because that well went dry once shortly after the well at the school went dry, and there are service manholes along the track from the water tower to the Iskoha well, indicating there is a water line dug in.
Shops in Sidi Kaouki. The left and center shops sell drinking water in 5 l cans. Both shops have both brands: the square can for 10 MAD per 5 l, the round can for 12 MAD per 5 l.
All wells can be periodically dry / out of service. In that case, check back after a few days. The well water is slightly salty, but well drinkable.
4. Leaving the House
4.1. To Sidi Kaouki
There are multiple transport options
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 (red lock) and
0008 (black lock).
By walking. To the center (bus station etc.) it takes pretty exactly 30 minutes of moderate to fast walking.
By hitchhiking. Same as in section "From Sidi Kaouki", which see.
By microbus. The bus passes by our house four times a day and proceeds from Sidi Kaouki center to Essaouira. For details and its schedule see section "To Gazhoua and Essaouira".
4.2. 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. The schedule below was made assuming a return departure 40 minutes after starting from Essaouira (could be more, but better we to err on the safe side):
8:00 (first bus, confirmed here)
10:10 (departure observed 10:10 and 10:15)
17:10 (confirmed here by a bus driver, also confirmed by us seeing it 17:35 in Gazhoua)
19:10 (last bus, definitely)
By microbus. There are four over the day, and you can recognize it from the sign "Sidi Mbarek" at the top of its windscreen. You can stop that bus right in front of our house, as it passes there. Bus schedule at our house (assume 5 minutes later in Sidi Kaouki center and ±15 minutes variation):
6:25 (first bus)
9:25 (observed 9:17, 9:48, 9:50)
16:45 (last bus; source)
By grand taxi. They leave from the center of Sidi Kaouki. All sky blue and blue vehicles with a round emblem on the front doors are grand taxis, whether rusty Mercedes cars or new vans. 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.
The first taxi is only available in Sidi Kaouki after somebody took one from Essaouira. In the morning, we observed no taxis at the following times: 9:55. Also, there are reportedly no taxis in the (late) evening.
4.3. To Essaouira-Mogador Airport
4.4. To Agadir Airport
4.5. To Marrakesh Airport
4.6. To Casablanca Airport
4.7. To airports abroad