Sunday, June 24, 2007


Last night as we sat on our terrace, drinking wine and watching the stars, we became aware of a commotion in the adjoining riad, a very small one, behind which our own future house is tucked. We crept closer to investigate and discovered that it was the sound of many women passionately weeping. The sound rose and fell, eventually trailing off, and we crept away to bed, knowing that somebody had died.

This morning the lane outside our front door is full of people, talking and crying, and a solemn recording of Arabic singing is playing. Moulaida, our housekeeper, tells us that the recording is of the Koran and that our neighbours' four year old child has died; she doesn't know how. We ask her, in our inadequate French, if there is anything one does here when neighbours or friends suffer a bereavment, but she tells us no.

It is frustrating not to be able to express our sympathy in any way. In Ireland it is very straightforward - you go to your parish church and get a mass card, or if for whatever reason that isn't possible, you send a sympathy card. But not here, apparently, or at least, not if you are foreign.

No comments: