Canterbury Tales- Our Mul Hanoot

So, a fellow PCV has decided to a word montage of the people in her life in Morocco! She is presenting the important people and what they mean to her life here to her readers- very similar to Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury tales. Although, hers are not as satirical… but rather a quick look into her relationship with the person. I have been inspired by her and will do a series of my own! It is strange to think about these specific people that we interact with on a regular basis- whom we did not know 6 months ago but have now taken a special interest in getting to know us, shwiya b shwiya.

I first want to introduce you to our mul hanoot (our local store owner)!

He is a kind older gentlemen that owns the only “grocery” store on our little street. Like most hanoots here in Morocco, a buyer is not able to browse the products…there is a large counter at the front of the store and you simply ask for anything that you need. Even though the store appears to be small, he has almost everything that we need from butter, milk, yogurt to even harder to find things like garlic bouillon cubes. We are even pleasantly surprised when he has something that we won’t think he will have… he also supplies us with our many vices like a liter of coke in a glass bottle, little strawberry gummies and an occasional bar of delicious Spanish chocolate. But he is more than just a provider….

We met him for the first time during our “limbo week” of having found an apartment but not yet having moved in. We stopped by to ask him the name of the street… our first impression of him was “Wow, he is grumpy and really difficult to understand!!!”. At first, he was impatient with our Arabic… and more impatient with us not knowing the prices for things. At one time, I “thought” that he might have said… “why do you live here if you don’t know the language!”. But little by little… over the past 5 months.. we have developed a relationship. He makes sure that we know the price for things…so we know that we aren’t getting ripped off, tells us to put our money away before we leave the store,  helps us with words, encourages us to speak Arabic (even to each other) and sometimes we even teach him some English words.

The most endearing moments have taken place when he inquires about our family and their health along with current events in the US like the election and Hurricane Sandy. I didn’t realize how much our daily interactions meant to me until this past week and a half when he was gone! We went to a friend’s site to help out with the Halloween party and when we came back- the store was closed (not a common occurence)! Then over the next couple of days… the store continued to be closed. It was not only the fact that we had to venture out for our daily needs but I began to worry that something had happened to him! Was he sick, had something happened to someone in his family, was he coming back? The panic started to spread… it is comfortable knowing that if we need something there is a place that we can go, close by! What if the store never opened again, would other mul hanoots make sure that we were getting a fair price?! But have no fear, things are all right in the world, while walking to the Dar Chabab for a meeting- the doors stood wide open and there standing in the doorway with his cup of tea— our dear mul hanoot! *sigh of relief* Life can continue again 🙂

In other news…. we have had some adventures!! Baking, traveling… here are some pictures from those!!!

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Above is a view from a fellow PCV’s backyard

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For one of the Halloween parties- I was a cat!

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Our fabulous new backpack cat carrier 🙂

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Tyler’s delicious pumpkin pie and mini cinnamon rolls!

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