Can retracing the path of one of the world’s most revered prophets help sow the seeds of peace and economic prosperity for communities in the Middle East? This is the question that Harvard professor William Ury sought to answer when, in 2004, he established the Abraham Path Initiative. Abraham was the exemplar of hospitality and preached kindness to strangers. The story of Abraham, or Ibrahim, is one of the most well known and revered by followers of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Indeed, it is through Abraham that these followers trace their ancestry and from the stories of his travels through the Middle East that many continue to find inspiration today. For Ury, these stories provided a particular kind of inspiration that saw the potential for finding common ground, and common ancestry, in the face of conflicts that have sought to tear the region apart. Thus was born the Abraham Path.
Taking advantage of cheap international flights from my 2015-16 homebase of Dublin, Ireland, my husband and I travelled to Morocco for the 2015 Christmas season. Avid hikers, we sought access to mountains near Marrakech, our debarkation point. We found the perfect opportunity to walk 4-6 hours daily through agricultural valleys and rocky or forested mountains, and to experience the particular pleasures of Berber culture with a five day, four night journey organized by Berber Travel Adventures, a small company based in Amazmiz (55 km from Marrakech). Jamal, the sole proprietor and trained mountain guide, led the way. We were also accompanied by Mohammad, an able and cheerful muleteer, and by Maria, the patient beast of burden. They put together a great trip for us!