Morocco, Day 5 – Midelt to Marrakesh

April 15 – The next morning, we invite the women from the cooperative to come meet us at the hotel for breakfast and we conduct interviews with them. They are sitting on a couch in the lobby after breakfast filming their interviews when I walk over. I notice they are currently filming, and I try to jump onto the rug nearby since my sneakers are making a disruptive squeaking noise against the floor. I flip over and fall completely on my back, the thud of my fall making a much louder sound than the squeaking shoes. I look up to see Brian and Hayat in fits of laughter, with the interview completely derailed. Three days later in Marrakesh, they are still making fun of me for this incident.

Back in the lobby, we compose ourselves and continue the interviews. Rachida, sitting next to Hayat, listens as Hayat (the president and only English speaking member of the cooperative) tells the story of how Rachida’s house burned down a few months ago, completely ruining the rugs she had made and destroying the loom she used to create new rugs. Essentially, she lost her livelihood in that fire. She can’t work now, and on top of that, her husband is divorcing her.Rachida starts to cry. Rebecca puts her hand on Rachida’s. I look next to me, and Erin has tears streaming down her face. Of course, I well up. Sadness and heartbreak – just one more thing that transcends languages and cultures. Later that night at dinner, we discuss doing a fundraiser for Rachida to help her get a new loom to replace the one she lost in the fire.

The rest of the day is spent on the bus, driving to Marrakesh for the craft fair. Our new friends, Hayat and Fatime, who will be representing their cooperative at the fair, join us as we pile onto the minibus. We load not only our luggage, but the product they plan to sell at the fair – the rugs, bags, and pillowcases. We drive past the beautiful mountains, again passing herds of sheep and goats along the way. We drive through a rainstorm, and Kate and I start humming Toto’s Africa. After the rainstorm, an enormous rainbow stretches across the sky, touching down on the flat land on each side.I don’t think I’ve ever seen a full rainbow like that before, with the entire upside down “U” shape from beginning to end.I press my face against the window until it fades.

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