I strolled in, unsure of the peculiar surrounding. A fine scent wafted through the air, filling my mind with smells of home and, funnily enough, peanut butter. Being attracted to the scent I crept closer and closer. The gate was aged and was eaten by rust and dirt. White paint covered the walls. Dawdling through the gates I was drawn to vibrant colours decorating the plain white walls.
Colourful sticks outlined the path, which led us to a room filled with wise women. They all sat along a wall on comfortable cushions, towels, mats and pouffes.
The ladies looked up with excitement, chattering in the local Berber language. Looking around I was aware of the amount of nuts and shells scattered in various baskets. A young lady, Maryam, wearing a black scarf and lab coat, welcomed us. Explaining that the Co-operative is run to benefit local widowed women, Maryam gestured for me to take a seat on one of the plump cushions. With a thick rock in one hand and an argan nut in the other I got to work, hitting it with force, causing it to split in half. Rocks were banging against the protective cover of the nut. These women were experienced and fast when working through the argan seeds.
After plenty of smashed fingers, we were taught how to grind the argan seed into a paste, separating the oil from the nutty mixture.
Having put the seeds into the grinder, pushing it around and around strained my muscles as they clenched together, making it an effort to crush hundreds of seeds at once. After being through the long and tiring process we casually hopped into the shop where the room was full of beautiful, dainty fragrances – all different when roaming around the room. The induced smell of all these precious creams, perfumes and oils made me want to purchase the whole shop.
After purchasing half the store, we headed on towards the rusty gates. Looking back, this place was simple and humble, but the vibrancy and energy made the place so sacred and special. This will be an unforgettable memory.