“Daddy and I are just having a conversation, you don’t always have to know everything”, I say a little more viciously than I would like to our daughter. My husband and I are discussing how we want to deal with the relaxation of the corona measures. “But I just want to know what you’re talking about,” she mutters. I immediately regret and feel the words “you don’t always have to know everything” burn on my lips. Those are words I’ve heard more often than I’d like. “You don’t always have to know everything,” my mother said when I kept asking years ago what exactly my grandfather had done for work on my father’s side. He is said to have grown grapes near the town where a large part of the family still lives. While on holiday in Morocco I had heard rumors about a vineyard and I wanted to know more about it.

While she slides the maaqouda, a kind of mashed potato fritters, into the oil, I try again. “Did Grandpa used to make wine?” I ask her at the man. She sighs deeply and I realize: sighing is not refusing and so I continue to ask: “Who did he work for? What was his job? Does the vineyard still exist?” This time my question fire works.

My grandfather did indeed work in a vineyard. He would have been an overseer, she says. Moreover, a large part of the family would have worked on the land during the French protectorate, for a meager financial compensation. “His boss was called the German.” When Morocco became autonomous again, the vineyard was taken over by the newly established state-owned company SODEA. The neighborhood where the farmers lived was nicknamed ‘douar SODEA’.

The town has been in the news a lot in recent years. All slums have been cleared and the residents have been allocated apartments in nearby Tamesna, which has been built up from the ground. (Something went wrong during the delivery: some houses had no roof, while others had doors missing.) Only the residents of the SODEA district protested against the forced relocation. Not because their current homes were so fantastic, but because they didn’t want to leave the land of their ancestors to live three floors behind. “You have moved to the third floor at the back,” I say teasingly. “What would Grandpa think about that?”

“Here, please eat something,” my mother replies as she slides me a hot fried bun. “If you’ve got your mouth full, you can’t ask any more questions.”