The family story began way back in 1954, when Nežka Šepec, a doctor from Slovenia, went to Guinea to help the Non-Aligned. Later, she got a job at the French OCP (Cherifien Office of Phosphates) and went to Morocco as an obstetrician. It was there that she met her husband, Bouchaib El Khiar.
In 1967, their son Hakim was born. Their lives stood out from the average Moroccan family, as they owned several estates and a 14-car and 3-truck driving school. They lived on a large farm with olive and eucalyptus plantations.
The 100ha farm was located in a secluded location a few kilometres from the town of Khouribga in the northwest of Morocco. Bouchaib planted cacti around the farm, growing very colourful and healthy fruits, called “karmouss” by the locals.
Little Hakim enjoyed the farm immensely, as his parents provided him with a high standard of living. Even as a young child, he drove cars, went hunting with his father and attended Arabic and French schools. In 1974, his mother Nežka decided to take her son back to Slovenia, where he was to attend a Slovenian school. Nežka occasionally visited her husband Bouchaib in Morocco, but eventually her contacts with the Moroccan family ended completely. Little Hakim grew up, got married and chose to visit his birthplace as a wedding destination.
On a small piece of paper that Nežka gave to her son Hakim, his uncle’s address in Casablanca had been written 35 years ago. That was his only hope to begin the search for his roots in a city with a population of several million people. There was no one at the address anymore, but his father’s and mother’s reputation and their last name El Khiar were still very familiar even after so many years. This is how Hakim found his family through strangers. Despite there being so much joy and happy people at the reunion, his father was no longer with them. Deep sadness filled Hakim’s eyes, rage, anger – but only until Hakim visited the farm where he once lived with his father and mother. It was as if he went back in time. He started climbing walls and running around the farm and even found his mother’s medical supplies in an abandoned house and his butterfly and a slingshot he had made himself so many years ago hanging on the wall. Yes, it was worth it – despite intense emotions and repressed memories.
Today, there are no more animals on the farm but only several metres-long cactus shovels that grow tonnes of colourful kiwi-sized fruits each year with a very beneficial effect on health. Oils have not been harvested in the past, so the opportunity to use over 50-year-old cacti to produce valuable, completely natural and 100% pure cactus seed oil has emerged.