Unfortunately, on our second last night in Zawiya Ahansal, I had the pleasure of experiencing what it is like to have a stomach flu in the High Atlas Mountains. What became a rather long night gave me an excellent star gazing opportunity that was accompanied by a chorus of fighting wild dogs. However, the true positive experience I will take out of this event is experiencing the immense hospitality and kindness that was shown to me by the Sheikh’s family and staff.
In the morning, once the staff new someone was ill, they came to see if cleaning was required and what I needed to be comfortable. Once I was settled in a bed, they fixed the window so the room would be dark but there would still be circulation. In one instance, I was about to lay down when Fatima returned with my refilled water bottle. I was placing a blanket over my legs when she quite adamantly insisted I stop all movement and proceeded to do it for me. They brought me bananas and on numerous occasions came in to see how I was doing. Even the Sheikh’s 5 year old daughter Sadia came to ask how I was feeling on multiple occasions. Even in the evening when I was feeling better, she went to grab my hand to dance but then realizing I had been sick, she pointed to her stomach and told my to go sit down.
Overall I felt as if I was treated as a member of the family. We had only been at the Sheikh’s guest house for a few days, which had even been broken up by our camping excursion, but everyone I interacted with seemed genuinely concerned about how I was feeling. I would not have wished to be sick but I am grateful for the memorable interactions it facilitated.