A Sunday morning in Ait Bougmez

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.

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