Zahrawi Farmland

Morocco 2014

I spent a week on a Moroccan farm in ‘Ain ‘Allah outside Fez and made friends whom I ended up visiting twice more before I left the country. What I experienced was humbling, to say the least. The Zahrawis are truly genuine people, bound to their land by years of work and by the maturation of olive, fig, and peach orchards planted decades ago. The family has a scant financial situation, making their living year by year based on the crop turnout. And yet, they were more generous than most people I’ve ever met. Each day, they shared freshly baked wheat bread, milk straight from the cow’s teat, the fattiest, creamiest, grass butter, olives pickled for months, and an infinite supply of their precious golden sweet olive oil, the most valuable product from the farm. But more significantly, they shared their love and hospitality and treated me as if I was their son, with no questions asked. I formed a lifelong relationship with them and will visit them soon. One of brothers, Erdwan, even named his newborn son after me, a somewhat terrifying but also remarkable gesture of respect.