Parents, friends, and other yak readers.
This morning we left our second homestay in Ait Bougamez, said our farewell’s to good friends and new (host)families, and headed southwest along the High Atlas range. We’ve currently landed south of Marrakesh and tomorrow begin our trek. Latifa, our trek guide, met us at our jumping off point, and tomorrow morning we begin the hike toward Sitti Fatma. We’ll be trekking in the shadow of Toubkal Mountain, one of the highest peaks in North Africa and in the top 10 in Africa more broadly, and we’re quite excited for this adventure.
As we trek we will be further from internet connectivity and so this may be an even quieter period for us here on the Yak board. We are hoping to get more yaks up before we embark on the trek, but students are busy packing and getting prepared, so fingers may be crossed but breaths are not being held.
Below are some pictures from the past few days. Last fall we first met Moha and Khaled, our main contacts in Ait Bougamez, and it was a great treat to return to the valley and spend time with them again. They arranged an amazing program, where students spent time with families and learned a number of new things: how to make bread by hand, how to divert streams to irrigate fields, how to pass the time in apple and walnut orchards while taking selfies and enjoying the weather, how to herd cows (and also that you should take cows on walks daily), and how to deal with sassy mules. They also visited the weekly souq, learned how to make Moroccan tea, went to a traditional and gender segregated dinner party, helped build an adobe-style wall with simple, yet creative and practical tools, and experienced new and complicated gender roles that challenged our assumptions, among many other things. Saying goodbye this morning and last night was a tough one, and tears were shed from both communities.
Students are processing all that they’ve learned, and we will spend the trek reflecting upon past weeks and all that we’ve experienced thus far. The program has flown by, and amazingly there isn’t too much time left, but we’re all looking forward to the rest of the program and to continuing to learn and grow with each other.
More thoughts and photos coming after the trek.
All best from the High Atlas,