For the last six years Mouaniss, a thirty-two year old Moroccan living in Fez, has had a dream. His dream would, to most of his friends have seemed fanciful - he wanted to build and run his own guest house in the Fez Medina. His story is a wonderful example of how with hard work, the right attitude and determination, dreams can sometimes come true. The View from Fez sat down and had a chat with Mouaniss about his guest house Dar Sondos - the House of Silk
|Mouaniss in Dar Sondos|
TVFF: So, what was your first job?
Mouaniss: I left school at seventeen and worked in an antique shop. Mostly I was doing the dusting and cleaning. After that I spent time working on the street, selling souvenirs to tourists. Following that I started to get work with foreigners who had come to the medina in order to restore houses.
TVFF: Your English is very good. Did you learn it at school?
Mouaniss: No. I wasn't taught English, but rather picked it up while working with tourists. Then, when I began to work with foreigners I improved a lot. English is very important now and I was lucky to learn it as most people were still only speaking French and Arabic, so finding work was not too difficult. It is a very good thing for the Medina that there are now a few foreigners owning houses and they all contribute to preserving the Medina. Also for me, I really enjoy my contact with them.
TVFF: You first had the idea of owning a guest house six years ago. When did you actually start work on the project?
Mouaniss: Three years ago a friend and I decided the time was right. However it was not an easy thing to do, especially as we didn't have the resources foreigners normally have. The project took two and a half years of work. I ran out of money and even had to sell my motorbike. But (humdullilah) eventually we got the job done and opened Dar Sondos three months ago.
TVFF: So what was it like welcoming your first guests?
Mouaniss: I must admit I was a little nervous, but thankfully there was no problem. An Indian couple from New Delhi arrived with their child and enjoyed their stay. Since then we have had a steady flow of guests. People are happy because the house is so close to the edge of the Medina and easy to reach by taxi with luggage.
|Sofia - always happy to help|
TVFF: And who do you have helping you?
Mouaniss: I am fortunate to have Sofia working with me. She is well educated and speaks very good English, French and Arabic. Guest have all commented on how friendly and helpful she is.
TVFF: Have you more dreams you would like to fulfil?
Mouaniss: At the moment I am just content and happy that my dream came true. However, in the future... maybe another riad. Inshallah.
Dar Sondos can be contacted at email@example.com
Or visit the website: Dar Sondos
|Photographs: Suzanna Clarke|