Life Lessons from the mountains

Food brings everyone together 

The kitchen is the epicentre of a home and it is no different in Ait Mraou. It is a safe space for women to share and bond away from the madness of childcare and fairly demanding husbands. This room was the place I kept finding myself in again and again. We played our own version of charades in a bid to break down the immediate barrier of language and communication and found our way using actions instead. Aside from picking up how to make the incredible bread, pancakes and tangines, I learnt that our spoken language is only one way of communicating and there is something curiously liberating about connecting with others without the ease of verbal language.

We all have the same dreams

We have a talent for creating illusionary barriers between ourselves and other people when really the reality is we all have the same desires and hopes in this life we are all sharing in. When you peel back the material and physical veil, underneath we are all bound by the same visions and dreams for ourselves and our families. We all strive to create something secure for ourselves and then hope that we may be able to enjoy some level of luxury on top of that. I saw just the same in Ait Mraou, now they have been exposed to elements of Western culture, they are daring to dream a little bigger. 

Privilege brings responsibility 

Without wanting to sound too heavy and sombre, visiting this village has certainly brought with it a sense of responsibility to share their story and to positively inject some energy and time into supporting and guiding their community in a gentle and respectful way to offer them a chance to dare to hope for improvements to all areas of village life. Once your eyes have seen, your ears have heard and your feet have trodden on paths in a place like this, it is impossible to ignore and forget. For me the only solution is to educate myself as much as possible and collaborate with everyone in the village to promote their cause. 

We are totally spoilt

The chance to delve into a deep cultural abyss leaves me fearless, only intrigue prevails. To have the honour of living by the most basic means with absolutely no luxuries is the most humbling experience you could ever wish to entertain. The beauty in the process is you realise you can survive and more importantly, thrive without all the material possessions you so desperately think you need to feel fulfilled and happy. When you live outside the material limitations, you can live freely. 

A little humour goes a long way 

This really struck a cord with me on this trip. I found myself time and time again, laughing with these people, really belly laughing. This fascinates me, seeing as I couldn’t directly speak with these people, however, through action, emotion, openness and humility we found a way to connect and share many moments of genuine joy through the medium of laughter. You really can find commonality with anyone if you are genuine and open.