It was January 15, 2016, when we heard the news.
I had recently returned from a long trip to Brazil, and had reunited with my family in our hometown of Turin, Italy, to begin the new year together. On January 7, my sister returned to Washington, DC, with my father, so he could help with our new born nephew, whilst my brother-in-law, on that same day, took off for an assignment with Save the Children. Destination: Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso.
A week later, gunmen armed with heavy weapons attacked the Cappuccino restaurant and the Splendid Hotel in the heart of the city. The number of fatalities reached 30. As the news spread, we learned that my brother-in-law had escaped the attack unharmed, in spite of having been in the vicinities of the locations attacked (most frequented by foreigners and NGO workers.)
Fast-forward two months later, a friend and colleague takes me to visit Virginia Branson’s (the Virgin founder Richard’s sister) superb riad in the centre of the Marrakech Medina: El Fenn. She’s a guest there, as she’s writing the new Wallapaper guide to the Moroccan city.