Chez Himi

Dinner at Himi’s House

We stayed at Himi’s camp site for over a week. It was the first time on this trip that we had had to resort to drinking bottled water. In the Sahara area they had ”town water” and ”well water” – Himi had been unable to pay his water bill and he could only offer us his well water, which was used for irrigation. Our truck had a water treatment system but the well water was full of minerals and tasted salty so we chose to use bottled water. At some stage we would be able to empty our tank (400 litres) and refill with town water which was OK to drink.

Each morning Himi brought us bread and told us what was for supper – there was a certain amount of choice but always bread, delicious seasonal salads of chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, a spicy aubergine and courgette dish, diced beetroot and potatoes to accompany some kind of roasted or grilled meat: steak, leg of beef, kofta, chicken or lamb and sometimes eggs; the main course was often followed by sliced juicy oranges. Portions were enormous and we rarely managed to eat everything offered, despite our tendency to be greedy. The cost of a meal for the two of us was well under £8 (no alcohol). It was uncomplicated seasonal food freshly prepared and we loved it!

Himi, Last Boy and Father-in-Law

During Ramadan our supper was served at 6 pm after which the family disappeared to celebrate their breaking of the fast at sundown, just before 7 pm. On the Saturday Himi invited us to eat at his house where we met the family – his wife, her parents, his four sons and one daughter aged 13. His oldest boy was 19 and the youngest, referred to as The Last Boy, was 9. The house was huge with high ceilings and built on three levels, lower for storage, middle for living, bedrooms up the stairs and on up to an open roof for hot weather.

The living area where we ate. There was another sitting room to the left.

News began filtering through that Morocco was about to open its maritime borders with Europe. When we had been prevented from leaving the country we were naturally anxious to know when we would be allowed to travel home; but now our thoughts were tinged with sadness contemplating leaving a country that for the past six months had offered us hospitality, friendship and kindness as well as beautiful scenery and warm sunshine.