A major holiday called “Eid al adha” is coming up this weekend. Families are gathering, schools and shops are closing, and as the holiday involves slaughtering and cooking a sheep, my town is suddenly full of random baaa-ing and whiffs of barnyard smell here and there. Some of that baa-ing is coming from my roof! Three families in my apartment building have purchased their sheep already. The other six will within the next day or two. My next-door neighbors’ toddler has been running around excitedly yelling “Baaaaa!” all afternoon.
On my way to do some grocery shopping, I step off the sidewalk into the street to make room for a man pushing and shoving a curly-horned sheep. Another Moroccan pushes me back onto the sidewalk, yelling, “Taxi!” as I narrowly miss getting hit by a cab. Somehow both the sheep and the taxi avoid running me over.
I stop to buy some fruit at one of the stands along the side of my street. “Do you have a sheep?” The fruit seller asks.
Thankfully, I just learned the Arabic word for sheep earlier today. “No, I don’t have a sheep.”
He grins and points under the table. “Do you want a sheep?”
There, a few inches away from me, is a sheep, with dark wool and big curly horns, just chilling under the table piled with fruit.
I am going to Meknès with my roommate and her coworker to spend Eid at her Moroccan friends’ home. I am very excited for this experience, and thankful for how welcoming and hospitable Moroccans are. I’ll also get a chance to visit a friend in Fès for a day or two on my way home from Meknès.
And sometime after that, when all the partying and celebrating and sheep-eating wind down and things go back to normal, my classes at the university will start.