A Dutch friend came to visit us yesterday. The kind of friend I don’t see on a regular basis. Sometimes months go by without any contact at all but when we do finally meet it is always a great pleasure. We don’t know the ins and outs of each others lives and yet her physical presence gives me a warm feeling of familiarity. We share an interest in the orient, travelling but in particular Morocco. She came with three other friends whom I had never met before and it was a great day that ended far too quickly!
Most people that live abroad will feel some recognition when I say that it is delightful to mingle with fellow countrymen once in a while. How I adore my own language and the cynical Dutch sense of humour loaded with loving self mockery. The liberal manner in which we express ourselves, the acceptance to say out loud what everybody is thinking. Simply knowing the rules of communication instead of awkwardly trying to behave as expected in a culture different and far less open minded than my own.
Little Zohra communicates easily with the children she meets in Morocco. Children don’t seem to be hindered by language barriers or racial differences in their communication with each other. The sweet innocence of toddlers is without bias and Zohra reaches out to every potential play mate with great enthusiasm. The hunger for communication on familiar mutual terms however appears ageless. At three years Zohra sensed the cultural alikeness between herself and our guests. Not only did she understand that she could communicate verbally, she also perceived that there was an identifiable non verbal approach. She seemed delighted with the presence of our Dutch guests and very disappointed when the time came for them to return to Marrakech.
After a wonderful bright sunny day in the Valley of Ourika with a tour in and around the guesthouse, a steep climb up to the old douar and a home cooked (very late) lunch on the terrace, it was time to say goodbye. The three of us waved the taxi out of sight but their encouraging enthusiasm about the Valley of Ourika and our guesthouse in progress remains with us.