A Sunday morning in Ait Bougmez

Ait Bougmez Valley, Atlas Mountains Copyright Mandy Sinclair

The silence was deafening as I sipped cafe au lait overlooking the peaceful village and the valley below. Men worked the small plots of land by hand, using what seemed to be ancient tools. But an important role as the food produced would nourish the family throughout the summer months and provide a stock for the winter months. The apple and peach trees provided a pop of colour in the already green landscape with the snow-capped Atlas Mountains towering around. Children wandered freely through the village, playing with what little toys they had while the women sat chatting amongst each other. Meanwhile donkeys were lead through the village en route to work.

It was from here that I decided to wander through the local village. Aimlessly and with no set destination in mind, allowing whatever adventure to come my way. Just the way I like to travel.

Ait Bougmez Valley, Morocco, Copyright Mandy Sinclair

Ait Bougmez Valley, Morocco, Copyright Mandy Sinclair

As a wandered through farmland allocated to each family, I stopped to admire the views, listen to the sound of the water trickling through the irrigation system, and met locals who stopped to chat, putting to use my little bit of Darija.

Tea time 


Ait Bougmez Valley, Morocco, Copyright Mandy Sinclair

Ait Bougmez Valley, Morocco, Copyright Mandy Sinclair

I was waved over to join the locals for a tea break. While they had nearly finished preparing the potato field, I had merely had a short wander and was not deserving of a break just yet. But they insisted. So I sat on the old potato sack while one friendly elder poured the tea, another unwrapped the warm freshly baked bread and poured the olive oil in to a little bowl for all of us to share.

They didn’t have much. In fact they didn’t even have enough tea cups to go around. But we shared. And used the basket as our table to dip our bread in to local olive oil, with nothing being wasted. We chatted about our lives and tried to understand each other’s situation – me a single woman living away from my family and running a business in Marrakech and them farmers in a seriously beautiful valley.

It wasn’t a long break, but the perfect little peek in to the lives of the locals. And one of those moments that money just can’t buy.

3 Responses to “A Sunday morning in Ait Bougmez”
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  1. […] The year wouldn’t be complete without travel. And this year I wanted to do more travel within Morocco. With an endless amount of festivals to attend, I danced the nights away at the Gnaoua festival in Essaouira, admire the architectural gems that doubled as concert venues during the Fes Festival of World Music, chatted film and world issues during the Marrakech International Film Festival and was transported, if only via song, to Andalusia during a weekend in Essaouira. And a press trip to Ait Bougmez provided the perfect opportunity to explore a rather off-the-beaten path destination and a deeper understanding of Berber culture and life in rural Morocco. […]

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