Location: Marrakech, Morocco
An adventure searching for the perfect derelict Riad, through the constuction itself, to the end result (insha'Allah!)

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Day One: A death signifies a new beginning

Yesterday was significant in the life of Riad Romm'an, as prep work started for the demolition of the old walls to create a cleared site for the construction of the new house.  This included clearing out the years of rubbish which had accumulated in the derelict house, plus destroying any vegetation.  But there may be more to clear out than meets the eye...

In the West an empty home might appeal to squatters, but in the East empty homes attract occupants of a very different supernatural kind.  Moroccan tradition believes that Jinn live in abandoned homes and in order to remove them, various elaborate ceremonies are necessary.  These exorcisms usually involve the guardian of the property requiring some form of payment in order to appease the Jinn.   This may involve food or the purchase of a sacrificial goat from the guardian's brother, for example.  Fortunately, the abandoned Riad Romm'an has no guardians and presumably therefore, no Jinn.  However, although we knew that it would be unlikely that the Pomegranate (Romm'an in arabic) tree could be saved, we hadn't expected it to be burnt alive!!! 

The sacrificial burning of a pomegranate tree to kick start the construction project may not be an ancient Moroccan tradition to ward away Jinn, but for Riad Romm'an it is very significant as it signifies the clearing away of the old in order to make way for the new.

At least the courtyard does look bigger without the tree, so it may not have died in vain.

It looks like the workers are having fun on their first day.  I wonder if they have done a risk assessment?  There's certainly not a hardhat to be seen!

Well done guys and thank you, clearing all that rubbish must have been a nasty job.  Hopefully the Jinn are safely tied up in the bags of rubble ready to be taken far far away from Riad Romm'an!

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