Grieving for Morocco


I never really learned my way around.

But my brief stay in the Medina — ancient center of mesmerizing Marrakesh — was a time apart. A chance to live where people have lived and died, worked, played, loved and shared their stories for centuries.

Our AirB&B, a dozen turns into the narrow passageways, was pure 21st century: a renovated traditional Moroccan riad with indoor courtyard, a few beautiful rooms on several levels (accessible by narrow stone stairs,) the courtyard open to the skies, all the 21st century comforts one could want.

Ground level sitting room off the courtyard

Looking upward from the courtyard at dusk

Second level bedroom

And just outside our doorway, life went on — as life has gone on in the Medina for centuries. Families are families, whatever the time or place.

Marrakesh is a marvel of a city. I’d never been to Morocco before.

I loved roaming the streets (with an invaluable local guide!) — visiting the Koutoubia Mosque, the gardens, the palace, the desert-like Palmeraie with its palm trees and camels a stone’s throw from upscale modern homes and golf clubs.

But coming home, back into the 11th century Medina, was the best.

I don’t want to believe it’s gone.

Since the earthquake that has claimed several thousand lives across this part of the country, and left much of the Medina in rubbles, we’ve heard from only one of the three friends we made on that brief visit. A merchant who emailed that he is “All right, thank you, sister!”

We’re praying for the others. And that somehow the people of Morocco will rebuild.

I hope so. I hope the ancient marketplaces will again coexist with renovated riads that might welcome tourists like me again. And those visitors might have a chance to climb up to the rooftop for sunset tea . . .

Relaxing on the rooftop

Another rooftop view at sunset

Looking down into the courtyard gardens & fountain from the rooftop at dusk

. . . and marvel at the 21st century beauty created in the very heart of this 11th century city.

My heart is with their hearts, those citizens of the Marrakesh Medina