We took a couple days away from Berkane and headed for a desert Christmas. If you look at the map below, of places I've checked out in Morocco, Figuig is the most South-Easterly. It is surrounded on three sides by Algeria, maybe 400 km away from Berkane, most of which is an endless, perfectly straight road with nothing but broken rocks stretching out to either side as far as the eye can see. Maybe every 40 kilometers you can spot a nomadic herder. It's way out there. And absolutely worth the trip.
Figuig is an incredibly beautiful place. We stayed with friends who live in an 800-year old, mostly mud-brick neighborhood set in the middle of a date palm oasis. Paths wind between small plots of land, protected by high mud-brick walls, sometimes up to 10-12 feet. There are countless dark tunnels, with wooden crossbeams supporting houses above. I'll collect some photos from others who were there.
Christmas was celebrated in the right way, with eggnog, carols, cookies, good food, and good friends. Visiting a community so much smaller and more relaxed than my own makes me supremely jealous of other volunteers. I hope to go back there as soon as possible.
I'll need to step on it, as there's less than 5 months to go.