Craig and Marie have recently arrived in Rabat, Morocco where Craig will be working for the Peace Corps for two years. They have four children: Sky 11, River 10, Jade 8 and Ember 5. The oldest three attend the Rabat American School in an area called Agdal in Rabat. Currently the Loerzel family is living in a 3 bedroom, 5 bathroom apartment, but hope to find a house near work and school.
House #1:Located in the popular family and family friendly area of Hay Riyad near a mosque (with five loud daily bellowing calls to prayer). This is a five bedroom 3 bathroom house without a basement. It boasts an enormous yard with lemon trees and rosemary bush. It is on the lower end of their price range.
House #2:Is an enormous home with 4 bathrooms and 5 bedrooms and a large open basement with a second Moroccan kitchen located there. It has two fireplaces and a medium sized yard. Most houses in Morocco don't have heat or air conditioning, but this house has units in all the bedrooms. It is in the middle of their price range, but may be too big to be approved by the housing office at the US Embassy.
House #3:This house is located right behind a supermarket. It has 5 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms. It has a traditional Moroccan room with mosaic tiles covering the walls and a Moroccan fountain in the entryway, but only has a small yard with an orange, lemon and loquat trees. It is the smallest house in the middle of their price range.
So which did they choose?
House #1 Noisy mosque house
House #2 Too big house
or House #3 Moroccan Barbie Dream House
They choose house number 3. Habib (his true name and identity are uknown) the owner of the house doubled the price once he found out they were American. After several attempts to try to negotiate with Habib, he would not reduce the house to a reasonable market price. Then they chose house number 1. The owner let's call him Kareem, renigged on a verbal agreement to rent to the Loerzels. By default they settled on house number 2, that while in their price range, was in fact deemed "too large" by US Embassy standards.
After all was said and done a house currently in the American Embassy pool (and due to be dropped) and again deemed "too large" by US Embassy standards (by a mere 7 meters) was pursued by the Loerzels. Located near the Korean Embassy in an area called Souisse, it boasts a large manicured lawn (and gardener named Mohammed to care for it), 3 bedrooms, a long driveway for the kids to ride bikes on. After a security clearance and a waiver sent to Washington DC regarding those extra 7 meters, the home was approved and the Loerzels will move in in April. Now about those spies wire tapping the current occupants...
DISCLAIMER: This is but a representative fraction of the houses viewed in the frustrating quest to find a home in Rabat.