W is for Water Sellers
When you go to a foreign country, a rule of thumb is never to drink the water. Even if you do decline the water in Marrakech, Morocco (as you should), don’t miss the water sellers, themselves. Although the first thing one sees is their colorful traditional red clothing and the wide-brimmed Berber hat for shade, the brass or copper cups strapped to their chest and the goat skin water bag, they represent much more than a good photo op. They have a long history, which we should never water down.
The guérrab historically carry one of the most precious assets to the inhabitants of the desert. To a berber, water is life. It’s so important that the Koran gives everyone, whether Muslim or not, the right to access the spring or well in which the water comes for himself or for one’s animals.
The guérrab is the carrier, or the custodian, of this precious liquid commodity.
Their clothing has always been bright and colorful to be easily recognized by those who needed to have their thirst quenched in the desert. Now, there is less desert and most of the water sellers have become tourist-driven and will eagerly pour water for money and a photo.
But don’t drink the water. You will have to contend with gastrointestinal problems that come along with that moment of unwise daring!
This is a video I found that explains more about the culture of the water seller.
The first time I ever saw a Moroccan water seller like the one above was in Dubai, actually, at the famous Dubai Shopping Festival. an international extravaganza. People and goods from all over the Arab world descend on the festival grounds. I was with an American friend and her Moroccan husband when a guerrab–exactly like the one above–began to clink his cups and I remember, standing, and staring, quite fascinated.
That is when my friend explained their cultural role to me.
I have always been interested in “water sellers,” in whichever country I have visited. whether the water has been stored in pots, jars or served in shiny cups in the plaza like it is in Morocco. In most foreign countries, large bottles of ice cold water are sold to tourists.
What is your favorite hot weather thirst quencher? Do you prefer pop, alcoholic beverages, juices, or something you prepare yourself? What do you think of the Moroccan berber water sellers?
You have just read, “The Water Sellers,” by Amy L. Bovaird. Copyright May 9, 2015. You can see who else is participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge HERE