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Photo by Celia Mitchell (2015/16 Semester Photo Contest Entry), Indonesia Semester.

Pre-trek Antics

Hello everyone, Michela here again, we’ve just finished up our midcourse in Oozoud and are about to embark upon our trek in the High Atlas mountains, but before we move out, we are stopping in the quiet village of Timit in the Bougames Valley to do some farming. Yesterday, we arrived at our ‘gite,’ or bare-bones hostel, and set up for the next four days to farm and work with the local Amazigh community. We stopped at the souk and got some food for the night and the next day, and then embarked on a short little hike to Sidi Mousa. Sidi Mousa is an old fortress that used to store grain, barley, and other important commodities of the area, and was protected in the past by a ‘gardener,’ who watched over the valubles and grew fresh vegetables on the small, rocky hill for the locals. The gardener was the strongest and wisest man from the village, and was chosen democratically by the villagers. Nowadays, Sidi Mousa is more of a museum that honors the area’s past, but you can still get a cup of fresh mint tea at the summit and enjoy the spectacular views. Later, our hosts at the gite treated us to a hearty dinner of porridge, couscous, and fruit, and served us yet another round of mint tea while we exchanged stories and chatted excitedly about the upcoming trek. Today, we got up bright and early and picked apples at a local farm. They were sharp and crisp, and were a nice addition to our picnic lunch in a nearby field. This afternoon, we are planning to go to a local apple cider and jam cooperative, and stop by a school before heading back to the gite. Tomorrow, we plan to harvest some walnuts and hay, and also learn some rug-weaving skills from local artisans before we say farewell and depart for our trek. We are all very excited to be here, and can’t wait to embark upon the next chapter of our journey.