By Karima Rhanem – Morocco World News
When you say ‘Hi’ to a Moroccan these days in the Middle Atlas mountains, he/she will answer ‘it’s freezing’. When you ask him/her ‘how are you’, he/she will tell you ‘I’m cold’. When you want to find out about ‘where they have been these days’, they will answer: ‘in bed, covered with dozens of blankets, coping with coughs, and bad flu’. It sounds as though Moroccans have lost their minds with the freezing temperature prevailing in North Africa.
Sales of blankets, jackets, coats, and scarves topped these days, as many Moroccans went to shopping centres to buy warm clothes.
Leila, 40, a mother of four children, said that “everybody at home is sick”. “my four kids are sick; they got bad flu. They have been sick for more than a fortnight despite medication..” She added that her sister, who lives in Canada, used to come during winter time to Morocco because she cannot stand freezing weather. “And now she has to put up with this ‘icy weather’,” she said.
Mustapha, a young man in his 20s, was joking with his friend in front of one of the shops in Ifrane (60 km south of Fez). “I no longer think about emigrating to Europe or Canada. Look what’s happening in Morocco; it’s so freezing, I can’t imagine what the weather will look like in there. I would die in the first day. I’d better stay at home.”
A chemist in one of Ifran’s pharmacies, told Morocco World News that most patients who came these days to buy medicines suffer from flu and bad cold despite flu shots.
As the cold season starts at beginning of November, sounds of sneezes and coughs are invading Moroccan homes, especially in the mountains and remote areas. You hear them at work, in the train, in coffee shops, in conferences, at home, everywhere. Even in public phone boxes, most telephone conversations are about cold weather, flu and medicines. Words like “Smikli,” “Sam,” “Bard,” “Asamid (in Berber)” (different names describing cold weather) are also commonly used. Some even call it “mout,” which refers to death.
Cold has become a trend as well, Moroccans have now found a new way of breaking the ice. It is “how are you doing with cold weather?” Though conservative, naughty boys chatting up girls in the street are using freezing weather expressions to open a conversation.
People in Morocco’s remote villages have been cut off by heavy snow heaps which has paralyzed traffic and blocked roads for some days.