Rooftop

September 16, 2013

in Africa, Fall 2013, Kendra Burpee, Morocco

There’s nothing like the sound of the call to prayer from my rooftop as evening sets in.

From where I sit, I have a perfect view of the entire medina. Behind me lie the surrounding mountains and rolling hills. On each side of my house there is a nearby mosque. The bright orange sun dips behind the minarets as it moves down the sky. As the Moroccan heats fades, my body finally begins to cool. A few rooftops over, a group of small boys kick around a deflated soccer ball and I can hear their laughs drift across the sky in my direction.

My sister joins me, holding an elaborate tray with a steaming pot of tea and crepes. She pulls the teapot high into the air in order to create bubbles while pouring the tea into glasses. A few mint leaves trickle through. We then take turns using the knife to spread apricot jam on our warm crepes. As the sun inches toward the horizon, the colors transform the crumbling houses. Between bites of crepe my sister asks me why I’m here in Morocco and what my religion is. We converse so easily, like we’ve been friends for years. She tells me about an Arab proverb she likes: The world is a book; those who do not travel read only one page. She has never been outside of Morocco, and only outside of Fez a few times. She tells me that she dreams of going to Vietnam and China, and we decide that someday we’ll travel there together.

She pulls out of her pocket three white candle sticks and proceeds to light them and drip hot wax on the surface to make them stand up. Darkness quickly engulfs the city, and except for the scattered orange lights of houses, I can only see a few inches of light around each candle. We lie back on a blanket next to each other. The taste of fresh mint tea is refreshing in my mouth. From up on my roof, above the whole city, the stars seem so within reach and it’s tempting to stand up and stick my head up into them.

The past few days linger in my mind. I think of passing donkeys drinking out of colorfully tiled fountains on my walk to school, laughing with my mom at Arabs Got Talent, getting lost wandering through the old Jewish quarter of the city, practicing the art of eating without silverware, having a monkey swing on my skirt, seeing a goats head get chopped off in the market, and successfully having my first mini Arabic conversation with a taxi driver.

This place is inspiring. My rooftop is perfect.

Kendra Burpee September 18, 2013 at 7:01 am

Thank you so much Scott! It is awesome.

Scott Hennelly September 16, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Just wanted to say I really liked this post and your descriptive writing. Your rooftop sounds awesome!

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