This post is by WGEI Participant Suad Abdella:
After our long 5-hour hike up a mountain on Wednesday, a relaxing swim in a beautiful valley this past Saturday was very well needed and deserved. We visited a wonderful family that lives in the bled by Tizgui valley. The family makes delicious homemade amlou (a butter made from almonds, honey, and argan) as well as homemade honey and argan oil, which we had the opportunity to taste and enjoyed very much.
The amlou is made by Ayesha, she spends days making the amlou, waiting for the nuts to drop from the tree, then waiting for them to become dry. Afterwards, she cracks them open (which is very difficult to do because of the hard shell but she has mastered cracking them open and can crack 5 in under 10 seconds, while it took most of us 20 minutes to just crack one) after she cracks them they get roasted, along with the almonds. After they are roasted, she manually grinds them in a stone grind with the nuts along with argan oil and honey and at the end a thick brown butter is made.
The argan tree is something very well known in morocco and the culture. They are trees that can survive in dry condition and don’t need water to grow. Their roots grow very long and deep under the ground. The oil that comes from the nut has multiple uses, you can cook with it or use it in your hair or skin.
After we looked at bees and the process of getting the honey. We tasted some fresh honey along with honeycomb, (which is delicious) We had tagine (meat and vegetables cooked for a long time in a clay dish) which we eat with bread (which we have become addicted to while our stay in morocco)
After we ate we hiked down to the valley for a swim. We have become pro hikers, so that 20-minute hike was a breeze. We had some slips and trips because we had to actually climb over rocks but it was all worth it because of how beautiful the water was.
There wasn’t anyone around so we had lots of privacy. We were all so happy to see that water that we jumped right in, some of the students even went in who originally said they weren’t going to. Our braver students were jumped off of rocks into the water (something they have wanted to do for years) and we have gotten the chance to cross off so many things off of our bucket list, swimming in a valley is officially checked off.
After our swim, we went back to house and enjoyed more honey, amlou and tea. Some of us even bought some of those delicious things to bring back to our families in the US. (my family is going to love that honey!!!!!!!)