Respecting the Past
Sometime around Ramadan in 1873, a woman named Aisha was born in the Sahara to nomadic parents who wandered the desert in search of grazing land for their animals, living in tents and tending to the herds. It was a peaceful existence lived in harmony with the world around them, although the arid climate and extreme temperatures could make life challenging.
Aisha was a bright child, learning quickly how to tan hides for clothes and blankets, as well as poultices and medicines from local herbs and plants which earned her a reputation among her people as an herbalist.
At 15 Aisha married into another nomadic family and quickly settled into her new family life as a cloth-making, nomadic herbalist respected and sought out by many. Of her 22 children, many did not make it into adulthood due to the harsh conditions, but Aisha's strong will and resilience allowed her to live happily and at peace.
When fighting broke out among the nomads, Aisha became fearful that her precious collection of medicines, herbs and cloth-making equipment would be lost in the tension. There was a place where the family pitched their tend regularly - near to the small village of Zaoia where she was already well known for her skills. Feeling drawn to this area, Aisha and her family dug an underground room to store all of the families valuable possessions, blocking it with sticks and branches to hide it from prying eyes.
After the fighting, Aisha's family dispersed and moved to the nearby towns and villages to settle with their own families. Aisha, however, would not settle anywhere but in her own precious place in the desert with her recovered possessions. Walls were put up, and rooms built, creating a safe space for Aisha and some of her family to live, still making cloth and treating the ill - always remaining true to her nomadic upbringing until she passed in 2013 at approximately 140 years old.
Aisha's life has had a profound impact on those who's lives she has touched.
Aisha was my grandmother.
Living the Present
Just a few short years ago, my brother and I decided to visit our old family property, which had been abandoned since shortly after the death of our grandmother. I have so many fond memories of this space - like when I was only a child and would play with my brothers and sisters in the garden out back and eat all the dates that we could.
Seeing my home in ruins generated so many emotions in me - from nostalgic peace and joy, so sadness at the state of things here. I remember when it was teeming with life - housing over 70 people during the summer sometimes - and yet during that visit all of that energy and life had faded into what could best be described as a ghost town.
And so the idea of Dar Talmoudi was born.
Four years ago, our home was in ruins. And in just four short years, we are ecstatic to be able to share this home with you.
We are still working on parts of the restoration, but we have achieved so much in so little time, and are finally at a point where we can open our doors to all who seek a more authentic travel experience.
At Dar Talmoudi, you are not merely staying in a hotel. You become part of our family. You live in our home, and learn about our culture - and we are so excited to learn more about yours! From baking bread in the sand, to weaving rugs, to learning about the art of making tea; we are prepared to share all of our lives with you.
And we are so delighted to do so!
Augmenting the Future
We have reached the point in the restoration process that we are able to share our culture and lifestyle with you. But there is still so much more to go. This is not just a guesthouse, but an ongoing community development process.
For additional comfort and relaxation for our guests, friends and family members, we plan on adding a hammam, swimming pool and spa area offering a multitude of traditional treatments and experiences.
In the near future, we hope to be able to provide a sustainable farm producing crops for ourselves and the local community as well as a resting place for the nomadic population and their animals. We also plan to expand our operations as an educational community both for our guests and our neighbors through both formal and informal education services. By serving as our communities center for cultural exchange, we will be able to connect all cultures in an effort to provide authentic and learning experiences for all involved. We believe that every person has something to offer, and it is our pleasure to be able to provide a safe space for those powerful connections to be made. From workshops in traditional building, healing methods and artistry to language and cooking classes, we are excited about all the potential that comes with cross-cultural exchanges.
By redeveloping our family property, we bring life back into our community that has faded since our family dispersed and settled in other areas. But not only that, by restoring our home, we magnify our ability to share it with you.