Enjoying tea and the hospitality of Rachid, high in the Atlas Mountains.
Enjoying tea and the hospitality of Rachid, high in the Atlas Mountains.

“A Bang – how can we start the sabbatical with a bang?”

“Let’s go visit family in Morocco!”

“Umm… Okay.”

As the date approached there was a bit more chaos than usual. On the Friday, returned from our wonderful National Staff Conference and on the weekend I launched into the throes of a major paper for a Masters course that I was taking and was due before we left. Then all we needed to do was to pack for our family and board the plan to be in Morocco for 2 weeks. There was chaos and Jana bore the brunt of the work in those days. However, on December 11; after taking three planes and 20 some hours later we arrived to be greeted by Joy, Jana’s sister. Their family have been living and working at a school in Casablanca for the past four years and it was with shrieks of laughter and excitable hugs that our boys met with their cousins who they had not seen for some time.

Most of our time was spent just hanging out with family over Christmas. We did take four days away from the routine of games, food, games, food, go play on the beach, food, games and more food. Two of those days were spent at a simple yet luxurious resort in the Atlas Mountains where we dined on tagine and kub (the local flat bread) till we burst, then did some ropes courses, biking and hiking.

However, it was our next adventure where we spent two nights in a different part higher in the Atlas Mountains in a local Berber village that was the highlight of the trip for me. Our guide, Rachid, was charismatic, caring, patient and tremendously delighted to host our two families. Again, feasting on freshly made flat bread, and various homemade jams we gained more than the necessary energy needed for our hike in the mountains the next day. One of my greatest joys was to sit early in the morning sipping tea on the veranda being greeted by the grandeur of the mountains and the tremendous vista.


We had started our sabbatical adventure.

What a gift.