“there is going to be at least 10 minutes for us to break the fast.”


Outside Fez, Morocco at dawn.

Once on a trip through Morocco, we spent a couple of days with a driver named Mohammad. He conveyed to me the most elaborate thing I’ve ever been made to understand with my schoolboy French. He told us how just this past year he’d left Morocco for the first time – to the Haj pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina. He was awed by it all and spoke of the whole experience with awe and obvious warmth.

I asked if he worked, himself, during the holy month of Ramadan, when the devout must not eat, drink water or smoke from sunrise to sunset and he said he did. This is what he told us in French:

When this moon, rising full tonight, wanes and first reappears in two weeks, Ramadan begins. It begins a little earlier each year, to the rhythm of the moon rather than the calendar, and he’ll work this year and it won’t be so hard not to drink water all day because it’s winter.

But around fifteen years before, Ramadan was in the summer and buddy, if I may paraphrase his French, working during Ramadan in the summertime, driving all day with no water, no smokes, was one pain in the ass. Summer gets hot in Morocco.

Now comes a story about a different set of Ramadan challenges in the Arctic. Read about observing the fast in Rovaniemi, Finland.