I walked around as much as my legs would carry me, eager to stop and take pictures but in all honestly struggling on lack of sleep and energy I just wanted to head straight to Assilah Eco Village. Linsey, who runs the village, has been amazing leading to up my trip. There had been plenty of long video chats where we had gotten on really well, bounced lots of ideas of one another and discussed aims and objectives for my arrival. My main focus at Assilah Eco Village, the eco villageas I’ll describe it from now on,was to help out with marketing for the properties including photography, video documentaries and social media.
So I’d navigated myself to the Grand Taxi rank with help from a local taxi who gave me a lift for free. Here’s where Linsey had recommended I use to hitch a lift to Tnine Sidi L’Yamini. Once again back in a taxi that sounded like it was on its last legs, in fact last legs about ten years ago.We set out of Asilah and the sun began to shine bright as the clock hit 7am. The countryside here is so similar to back home. The rolling fields go on for miles just like the West Penine Moors. The driver was jokes, I’d caught him in the middle of sleeping when I first got in his taxi. We both tried ever so hard to communicate and I think I managed to get through to him that the views back home were similar but the weather wasn’t! Or maybe I just thought I did?!
The road up to L’Yamini was like a rollercoaster, winding and weaving around Palm trees, dirt tracks, half later tarmac and what looked like abandoned buildings, I later found out that most of Morocco is like this, half finished. We swung around the small town to give me a ‘tour’ then dropped me at the local taxi point.
Amazing, no so hard was it, Bolton to L’Yamini in three days. I took out my phone and looked at the address that Linsey had provided. I was aware she’d given me a P.O. Box address, and I’d not managed to catch her response before losing WiFi, but confident she’d have dropped the location on Facebook accurately I marched on to the destination I’d rehearsed in my head, over and over. Slowly it started to dawn on me that even the Facebook location was wrong, and I’d walked down the wrong path in a silent desolate village. I followed the dirt road and came across a complex surround by high white walls. Surely this place is right, it kinda looks like It could be Linseys place, although I don’t remember seeing it.
I’d walked through the trees, off the track and toward the complex, when I saw five dogs standing up in the distance watching me vicariously. One by one they bolted toward me and well I f***ing ran. When you see a dog foaming and running at you, it’s hard to think what else to do, but with two massive bags your kind of at a disadvantage to our fellow canines. They caught me up just as I got back on the track and they didn’t look happy, by any means.
I walked back up to the village to see if there was anyone around I could ask about an English woman. A little old Berber lady was out in her garden, I tried to ask, but hand signals and making up French words doesn’t really pay off like in the movies. Disheartened and tired I couldn’t think of anything else to do other than turn on my data and allow my phone network to rip my ass wide open and charge me £8 for 6mb of data. As soon as I connected Linseys responses popped up and was on track, this time the same track before but I knew it was the right track. Past the angry dogs and through the medows for another mile and I’d arrived at the eco village. With a warm welcome from Lila at the gates; Linsey, Ruby, Ismael and a very unwell Marshall we’re awaiting my arrival!
First impressions and all that I didn’t want to appear to sluggish from the journey. From the get go I felt myself and Linsey had a connection, I guessed with her being from the U.K. and all that we’d have a few things in common. But more so, she is a grafter at heart, she puts in the hours needed to survive everyday out here and also makes sure she has a good time in doing in. She laid down the ground rules from the get go which I liked, It let me know where I stood, what and what not to do, when to ask questions and when we should be giving her space. I wasn’t the only new volunteer, Marshall had arrived the evening before with his stomach falling out of his ass, before him it was Ismael who had been there a full week already and then Ruby who had been there the full three weeks.
From the get go me and Marshall got along, similar interests, both enjoy getting high mainly. Marshalls from Vermont, North East American, enjoys cooking and putting his mind to something and seeing it come through kinda guy. I could tell he had a million stories that he could’ve told me about his 3 year venture, instead he laid humble telling me that ‘you could see some amazing places’ with my skillset.
Linseys place is amazing, she really knows how to get things going and manage multiple projects on a level very different to normal construction. All of Assilah Eco Village is built with sustainable and environmentally friendly methods, saving the planet every step of the way. The cob construction helps keep the buildings naturally conditioned, which works hand in hand with Linsey’s planning and development. So clever that she’s has aligned her buildings away from directional sunlight through large windows keeping it cool in the summer, and the geo thermal mud bricks store heat energy throughout the winter making the buildings warmer. Further to this her architectural and interior design abilities exceed those of most ‘natural buildings’. She has managed to maintain the use of light so that all areas are lit to perfection, with recycled glass bottles to make up the spherical seating area in the living room to the dome glass above her sink which illuminates her dining area and kitchen.
So back to arriving… Being British and being ashamed of others working whilst I don’t, I couldn’t sit for too long. Linsey introduced me to her local labourer Brahim, who was going to show me how to lay tiles, even if they aren’t straight or aligned at all, to Linseys dismissal. Brahim I could tell was a really good guy, he wants to learn better English skills all the time, which is good, because he speaks very little, thank god Linsay has mild knowledge of Darija..