We cross the more or less invisible border to Western Sahara. A country that for long has been, and still is, illegally occupied by Morocco. We had quite some political discussions on our way through the country, and a few sahrawis – especially those politically active – had the courage to tell us how badly the Moroccan authorities treat them. Because of the risk of reprisals, I cannot mention this criticism in the same sentence that I use to describe the people that expressed it. Instead, I write about one such meeting in the summary for Western Sahara.
First a shut down petrol station, then the road down to village Dawra and then a few residential houses lining the road. When passing the latter, some men come running out to greet us. After chatting for a little while, they invite us to tea at their house.
We leave our shoes by the entrance, and get to sit in a seat of honour in the livingroom sofa, whilst the family stands up or sits on the wall-to-wall carpet. 17-year-old Hmad, the youngest of the men, pulls out a small notebook from his jeans. The small book is bended and torn, as if one with the jeans pocket. Inside, Hmad has drawn pictures of a boat. A small wooden boat, shaped like a banana, that will take him to the Spanish Canary Islands, he imagines. He says he will get there soon. The worn notebook is a book of hard dreams. Dreams that fit into the back pocket of a pair of jeans.
Hmad invites us to stay the night at his house. He has just moved in, so the four rooms are still empty. He fetches some thick blankets and a TV from his parents, and a charcoal grill on which to make tea for us. The TV doesn’t work (no antenna), so it’s more like a piece furniture. Some cockroaches also lively up the else clean walls; they observe us at distance. While Lina waits at home, Hmad and I walk through the night to the village’s small centre. He makes a phone call to some relatives in El Aaiún. I buy some bread for dinner, to eat with olive oil.