>Portraits of Riad Laksiba Service Providers – GUARDIAN

Posted on May 6, 2011


>ABDELGHAFOUR – GUARDIAN Photo: Abdelghafour Jdier Laksiba’s Guardian by Simon Hawkesley

Portrait: Abdelghafour Jdier by Simon Hawkesley

Abdelghafour Jdier “Abdou” has been the Guardian of Riad Laksiba since the day we opened the doors in late 2010. However Abdou’s story and association with Riad Laksiba goes a lot further back.

Back in 2005, when Abdou was 12 years old, two English people wandered in a little cul-de-sac called Derb Kadi…. to see where it goes.

Derb Kadi was a strategic consideration as it is the very first street one would find if they accessed the Kasbah via the Bab Ksiba entrance. Fiona and I both decided that it was a cute cul-de-sac and really like the fact that a huge Date-Palm Tree was growing at the end of the street.

No tourist homes, only locals homes and a stable. It felt great, real…. Yes the real Marrakech we were looking for. The rest is history. We purchased the Riad opposite the Stable and next to the big beautiful Date-Palm Tree. Riad Laksiba.

Photo: Derb Kadi Footballers 2005 by Simon Hawkesley

At certain times of the day, after school, Fiona and I could hear a small group of children playing football in Derb Kadi, on the opposite side of the stable. They were around 12 years of age and plying their craft very seriously. Free-kicks, penalties, throw-in’s and corners.
It was so refreshing to see; in comparison to the tethering we give our children in the west. Our fears of interference have denied our children’s generation what we took for granted.
The “team” in Derb Kadi posed for a photo. Again something that we would feel obliged to gain written parental consent for in the UK.

Photo: Not much has changed ..the same..Derb Kadi Footballers Dec 2010 by Scott Mackay

In 2010 Riad Laksiba was being renovated. I was stamping my feet over the amount of rubble and rubbish piling up on the ground-floor and demanded that the builders had a full clear-up before continuing. They agreed and drafted local assistance. As shovels and picks became windmills of toil; a small chap looked up, smiled and winked. Abdou the 12 year old footballer had become a 17 year old labourer. I gave him that look with shrugged shoulders and raised eyebrows to suggest “how come you’re here?” he responded with a similar shrug, the pout of his bottom lip and a down-turned smirk, which I translated as “why not… I’ll get paid !”. I rolled my eyes & laughed quietly; Abdou did the same as a response.

As the end of 2010 approached and Riad Laksiba’s builders were finally gone, I faced a dilemma. Furniture, beds, refrigerator………. well stuff… needed more than 2 hands to deploy around Riad Laksiba. Then there is the question of security of these items and the Riad in general, each time I return to UK. I shared my concern with Hassan who runs the Stable and he concurred that these issues did need addressing. Hassan would see what he could do. An hour or so later there was a knock at the door and there stood Abdou, nearly 18 years old but still quite tiny. He smiled and I acknowledged his greeting and continued, past Abdou, and straight to the stable.
“Who is this?”
“It’s Abdelghafour… Abdou he’s come to help you.”
“Can he speak English?”
“No but he’s a good worker and he’s honest”
“Well how do I communicate with him?”
“Look he’s the only spare Stable Lad… take it or leave it !”

I have found it amazing how pointing at things, mime and looking positively irritated is such a Global Language.

Photo: Abdou Riad Laksiba’s Guardian by Simon Hawkesley

As a family we celebrated Abdou’s 18th Birthday which was novel for Abdou as birthdays are not normally celebrated. We have expanded his wardrobe, introduced him to Dentistry and hygiene standards acceptable to Breakfast service etc. at Riad Laksiba. We have accommodated the occasional hiccups associated to the dying embers adolescence and today we are very proud of the loyalty and charisma that Abdou brings to life at Riad Laksiba.

Abdou is shy, funny and genuinely caring. A true asset to the Riad, our Guests and our Family.