Thursday, July 31, 2014

Goats in Trees

On the drive from Marrakech to Essaouira, I asked Najib if we were going to be able to see something I had seen pictures of but found hard to believe: goats sitting calmly in trees and munching away on the leaves or whatever they enjoy. He said we could probably see them on our way back to Marrakech. While disappointed, I had to muster some patience and just wait a few days. So, about a half hour into the drive, there they were. Najib pulled over, we spilled out of the car and raced excitedly over the median to the other side of the highway. The goats were accompanied by their goatherds who are completely used to strange tourists wanting pictures of their charges. Not only that, they want money for the honor of taking pictures. I tossed the first guy a Moroccan note worth about five dollars and began to merrily click away. This didn't seem to be enough for the guy, but I rebuffed further attempts to extract cash from me, a poor tourist. After getting back in the van, a busload of more tourists pulled up, sending the goatherds into a frenzy. They were frantically carrying more goats toward the tree and attempting to lift them into the branches. It was hilarious to say the least. The trees are called Argan trees, and the goats feed on the fruit, dropping the kernels on the ground from which rich oil is extracted, used in cosmetics, cooking, and medicine, as well as fuel for lamps.

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