Moroccan-style Kin-dza-dza: The Berbers are the original inhabitants of Morocco, who inhabited the country before the
Phoenician and Roman civilizations. No one knows when they came to the north of Africa and from
where. The word “Berber” comes from the Roman word – barbares (translated as “barbarians”). The
Romans left Morocco, but the name stuck. Berbers are a rather large ethnic group, and it is divided
into numerous ethnic groups, which, in turn, have their own culture and language (dialect).
The Berbers themselves identify themselves by the name of the tribe to which they belong (Shillu,
Tamazight, Riffa, Tuareg, Kabila, etc.).
After the ancient Romans, the Arabs came to the territory of the Maghreb countries and pushed the
Berbers deep into the territory, into semi-desert, desert, and mountainous areas, forcibly Islamized
them. Currently, most of all Berbers live in Morocco (according to official data they make up 60% of
the population of this country), the rest – in Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, up to Sudan. A large diaspora lives
in France, but so far Berbers do not have their own autonomy.
But that’s the preface. When Mohamed told us that we were going to visit a Berber family for pizza, I
envisioned our meeting a little differently…..
As I approached the parking lot, I saw a Cruiser. I immediately realized that these were not “guests”,
but just… a tourist site!
So, on the “parking area” there were two houses (bigger and smaller), built not from clay, not from
something else (I didn’t bother to understand), two handmade tents made of camel’s hair, under
which there were low plastic tables and carpeted paths to sit on.
our guide Mohamed
Moroccan-style Kin-dza-dza: Next, under another shed, a hearth was burning. Mohamed explained that this was the kitchen
where our pizza would be cooked.
There was a container for water. That was it.
We took a lap of honor around the grounds. The sensations were very different! From a small house
spilled out children: a girl and a boy. They looked at us with interest. It is clear that the newcomers
are almost the only entertainment for them.
Just behind the lodge on the paths sat a woman, in her hands clasping some lump. Another lump was
lying nearby on the bedding.
Mohamed explained that she had given birth to twins. To my natural question as to why they were
so small, he replied that they were only 2 weeks old. I was horrified! As I was digesting everything,
the woman looked at me. She had such longing in her eyes. I asked Mohamed to wish them health
and happiness on our behalf, but … that look…..
A group of tourists (like us) were sitting under one tent and drinking tea. Our guide suggested we sit
in the other one.
Soon, another young woman brought us Moroccan mint tea. All so cultured, seemingly on a tray.
Mohamed said that while our pizza was cooking, he would be available to answer any questions we
might have. I didn’t have any questions, or rather there were none that I could ask him.
After thinking about it, I asked him if these people get tired of being visited like this all the time,
looking at them and how they live.No, they always welcome visitors, he responded. I realize he
wouldn’t have said anything else….
That’s when the kids came running in. The girl was older, about eight years old, and her name was
Muna. The boy was about four years old. The children were running around, laughing, playing
around. They looked quite happy. I asked the guide where they studied. To which he replied that
they don’t study at all, they will grow up and live in the desert like their parents, herding camels.
“And taking tourists!” – I thought.
When the Berber pizza was brought to us, the battle of motives began. Watching Mohamed gobble it
up with gusto, my husband and I looked at each other and decided to give it a try. The fear that we
would disrespect the “host” by refusing was stronger. With horror, I thought about the fact that all
the medicines, which I had specially purchased for all occasions (first of all, for indigestion and
poisoning), remained in the hotel in Fez. Well, I think, with God’s help…..
- Any food?
- What kind?
- Plastic… (f. Kin-dza-dza)
This work of culinary art had nothing in common with pizza (God forbid – with Italian pizza). It was an
unleavened flatbread rolled in half, inside of which, I was told, were vegetables. Other than onions, I
couldn’t identify any of the vegetables. The “pizza” itself (with your permission, indicated in
quotation marks) is cooked directly on hot stones, the top is covered with an iron plate and covered
The pizza tasted fine, it was quite edible. The only thing was a bit confused by the specific smell of
turkey fat, which was probably used to grease the dough for the filling. Well, we did not count on
Mohamed asked if we liked the pizza. We tactfully complimented. Since this pizza was included in the
price of the tour, he offered us to buy another pizza to take away. I smiled diplomatically and
We sat and talked about distracted topics, including politics. Yes, it happens. The young man was not
in an information vacuum like his fellow tribesmen, whom we were visiting. He is constantly
following the news in the world, watching YouTube.
I stared off into the distance.
Moroccan-style Kin-dza-dza: Literally, within a few meters, the Black Desert was beginning.
Of course, it wasn’t black, but the prevalence of small black rocks made it so.
Mohamed explained that they were traces of post-volcanic activity.
A Berber man mines building material for a house.
The proud dunes of Erg Shebbi could be seen in the distance.
They are like silent orange spots transforming the place and adding color to this lifeless space. The
world turns upside down and goes into the vast cloudless skies….
… When our pizza was done, we decided to move on. I left with a heavy feeling. This is the moment
when you think about the vanity of existence and a philosopher wakes up in you. It is in such places
that you look at the world in a new way and appreciate even more what you have …