We ran out of firewood just when we got six inches of snow.
That was six inches of snow here in Azrou, the town down the mountain. Ifrane,where I work UP the mountain, got half a meter of snow, and I almost had to spend the night there with a friend on Friday night. But, driving at 20 kilometers per hour (snail’s pace) I managed to get home, since the snowplows were running, even though I chugged past six other vehicles that had slid off the road. It was nice to get home. But we needed firewood!
So, we got in the trusty little plastic POS car, and headed off to buy some in the snow. The first place would not sell us any, and neither would the second place. We have discovered that about Moroccan businesses. They might be open for business when you go by, and then again, they might not. You never know. Since this was one of the coldest days of the year (so far, anyway), we figured, SURELY, they would be open, and doing a brisk business. Nope.
The third place where we stopped was open, and selling firewood, except that they had just sold the last of it. They were leaving to go get another load, and would we like to tag along? We explained that the last two places where we went would not sell us any, and the the guy confidently claimed they would sell HIM firewood, so, not having any ourselves yet: yes, we agreed to tag along.
When we got there, the dude was right, the closed business opened up for him. I guess he’s a VERY good customer. Then, the men spent about an hour trying to get the truck (rear-wheel drive) up the little hill into the wood lot. Finally, with about six guys hanging onto the rear tailgate and bumper to add weight, they got the truck up the hill to the wood pile. My husband and I helped the dealer load his truck with the firewood, figuring that he’d at least done us the favor of getting the place to open up for business.
The other Moroccan men were plainly amazed that we pitched in and helped, being “rich Americans” and all. I think they were even more amazed that I helped, being female. There was a lot of discussion from the men in Arabic, which I don’t always understand, but most of it appeared to be approving, if a trifle unbelieving. One of the men working was loading the wood with his bare hands, so I got my husband’s gloves from the car and handed them to him, for which he was grateful. My husband is a lot like me when it comes to gloves: they are fine for when you are just walking along in the cold, but if you have any work to do, they are in the way. I have often said if I fell down with gloves on, I’d have to take them off to get up.
When the truck was full, the guys from the store got in, and then their truck backed down the tire tracks they made going up, and it was our turn. We have a front-wheel drive car, and the tire tracks were already clear, so the little POS car chugged right up with no trouble.
The little bit of firewood that will fit in our little car was quickly loaded, and the man who I let use the gloves returned them. As we got ready to leave, I noticed the one of the older men at the wood lot also did not have gloves, so I gave him the pair of gloves on our way out, and his big smile was thanks enough. So, with a little loading work, and the donation of a pair of gloves, we got our two hundred dirham’s worth of firewood. All ten of our fire worshippers at home are thrilled, not to mention us humans.