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Good for a glass of tea

There is nothing to see here, and nothing around that should arose anyone's interest. So just let me tell this tiny little story from our visit to Tendrara. In January 1997 we drove the long road from Bouarfa to Oujda, which had been of such a good quality that the speed limit of 100 km/hour was hard not to exceed. As this was the month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, we thought ourselves very lucky when we arrived here at 5 minutes to 6 o'clock in the evening, a few minutes after people all over Morocco had started eating. We stopped in front of a cafe where lights came out, and went in to order soup and bread, just the sober food we needed after filling ourselves with dates and Ramadan cakes all day.

Tendrara, Morocco

Three men were seated around one table, and when we asked about if they served soup, one man in dark red jellaba, around 35 years of age, lifted a small white bucket standing next to him, without looking up, weighing it, answering "Yes I think so." The other two men, both around 20, got quickly up, found us a table, bowls, spoons, and we had soup poured out of the bucket. Bread, olive oil and dates were put in front of us, and soon after damping hot mint tea appeared, too. While enjoying the delicious green soup, I had started to talk to the man in the red jellaba in Arabic, and a striking personality came through, shaped and sharpened by the winds of the plateau. I could easily feel the infatuation that the two women I travelled with felt. His name was Abdu Rahman, and he worked as a shepherd out here in this desolate plateau landscape 1,000 metres above sea level. While I talked with him, the increasing number of guests in the cafe joined in in the conversation, and we had a great little time together.
As we still had 200 km to drive, we could not stay there longer than 40 minutes. Any attempt from us to pay for the great food and the soothing tea, were strongly refused. Words can not describe the warmth we felt when we drove off, with a large crowd of people gathered around our car, waving us good bye and the best of luck.

By Tore Kjeilen