The story of Lalla, Moroccan postpartum secret & Fully paid scholarship!

Hello Lovely ladies, 

So I went to the market in Tangier, Morocco to purchase my last batch of spices, herbs, soaps, and other natural amazing stuff to bring back with me to Dubai. 

While I was there, I met this beauty! 

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I forgot to ask her name as I was excited to be talking to her, so I am going to call her Lalla. Lalla is used in the North of Morocco to refer to your grandmother and also as a sign of respect.

Lalla is dressed in her hat and also her red/white striped (Mendil), the cloth wrapped around her waist. It is the equivalent of the Mexican Rebozo. I will share more about the Mendil in a separate blog post. Women like Lalla are typically referred to as 'Jebliya', which relates to women from the countryside in the North of Morocco. 

My father and I went to the souk (market) in Tangier and bought the things we needed to. While we were walking back we saw Lalla selling her goods. She had those hand-made fans which were quite popular, as the Eid holiday was a few days away and people use them for their barbeques. She was also selling wild oregano. 

We stopped next to her and bought one bag of wild oregano that she picked herself. It cost less than 1 dollar...

Morocco is a land of bargaining, the souks are hot, loud, lots of hustle and bustle, sweat, amazing smells and inspiring! 

I like to bargain at times, but for that price it is already a bargain, however I do appreciate that for so many people in Morocco that is a lot of money. While we stood there some people tried to negotiate and Lalla said sorry, these people just bought it for that price and some people had to walk away. 

Nevertheless, her fans were really popular and every few minutes someone would pass by and buy one from her... I was happy! 

Lalla, does not even know her age, she does not care about it and has 14 children and she is basically a creative business woman! 

She lives further out of town in a small village, takes care of her family and then manages to make these products, pack them up, get local transport to town and sell, sell, sell!

What I also loved about Lalla, was that she was enthusiastic and loved to chat. 

After we purchased our goods, I just stood there staring at here hehe, I then whispered to my dad and asked if I should ask her about postpartum stuff.

I felt a bit shy as we were in the middle of the street and did not want to disrupt her selling flow.

I persevered and asked her if she could tell me anything about the postpartum period. I think she was a bit shocked as to why I cared about traditional practices, seeing that so many people are trying to be more 'modern' and casting away these ancient traditions... plus with my oversized Tom Ford glasses, Lalla could probably tell I was not from a village, although my dad told her I was a 'jebliya' just like her (originally my grandparents came from the villages in the countryside). 


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MOROCCAN POSTPARTUM SECRET OF THE WEEK


(Mshishtro)
Pronounced: (mm-shish-t-ro)
Moroccan Arabic Dialect
 

Lalla told me that (Mshishtro) is very good to use after birth.(Mshishtro) is Apple Mint (a herb), which I found out after asking a few people online and researching. The thing is, the official language in Morocco is Arabic, however the Moroccan Arabic dialect has lots of words which are not related to classical Arabic, therefore not searchable on google or anywhere and many people do not know the names in classical Arabic. 

All the elders that I have spoken to have told me that Apple Mint is what they have used and seen for the postpartum period. It is used for vaginal steams, women sit on it as well when it is warmed in the hamam and also rubbed on the body.

What I love about Morocco is that you can just start making conversations with anyone in the street and create a bond. While we were talking a customer came over and she over heard us talking about lemon balm, so she joined in.

She said that her mother used to cook it as well with small bread and olive oil, sounds interesting!!
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Lalla also told me that she birthed her children at home with a traditional midwife. The midwife would wash her and also bind her belly. She also said that the midwife taught her to bind her belly and raise her legs up against the wall if she was alone and birthed her baby.

When we finished I asked Lalla if I could take her picture and share her story, as I loved being with her.

"Why do you want to take a picture of ME, my teeth are messed up, look at me" Lalla said. 

I reassured her that she is beautiful

She smiled and told me to snap away! 

So I took the picture, bought some more things from her and was on our way!

I can not wait to be back in Tangier again next year in May for the Tribal Sisterhood Retreat. I am planning to go out to the market, take a small chair, recorder and sit to talk to these amazing women. Ask them their stories, share them, learn from them and preserve their secrets. 

Please hit reply and let me know if you like Lalla as well, just as much as I do :) Also share any postpartum secrets you know here and on the FB group:Traditional Postpartum Doulas
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With much peace, love & kindness,

Layla B. (aka Umm Muawiyah)

 


P.S.

Due to my passion in supporting women and gathering a tribe of women who love postpartum traditions, I am offering one FULLY PAID SCHOLARSHIP, to a female birth-worker, to the Tribal Sisterhood Retreat in Morocco, May 2018.
It is worth 2,850 GBP and will be completely free, for nothing in return. 

Does it sound to good to be true? Well it is true :) No catches, you do not have give me anything in return, do any tasks or anything else. All you have to do is apply (takes 2 mins) and the winner only has to pay for their flight to Tangier, Morocco. 


SCHOLARSHIP CLOSED

Layla B.