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MOROCCO
Rasta Gnawi
boston, ma Massachusetts USA
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22
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mudhakkiratou rihlati ljanoub
02:37:07 PM Tuesday Aug 14, 2007


We wake up at 3:30 in the morning and get ready to head out to Figuig. The drive would be 4 hours. Omar is waiting for us at his house at 4:30. Joc and I are like zombies now. lack of sleep and the extreme heat in wejda are depressing us. I phone Omar two turns before his house. He comes out and off we go. We pass the station des cars on our right on the south exit of wejda. From there it's a straight shot to figuig. very few turns. You can see the road for kilometers ahead.

Omar is chatting away at how there are new efforts to restore the old houses in figuig. I listen half awake and nod my head. The AC is blasting in the car. hot dang... it's not even 6am and it's pushing 37 deg C outside. The road is narrow so I let the road divider coast between me and Omar who's enjoying shot gun. I can tell Joc is not happy bouncing around in the back seat. We pass a few nomads here and there selling sheep, herding, minding their business. Tendrara is full early in the morning. It's the weekly souq. So we decide to stop for some breakfast. We stop at the Afriquia gas station and order coffee and juice. We buy some pre-packed madelaines; the fly infested msemmen just didn't do it for any of us. Joc ordered some yogurt, which I thought was brave. The heat in this part of the world is so extreme I wouldn't trust dairy products to be stored in proper cold. It turns out she spotted a little kitten that came to her when she did the universal cat call "bsh bsh." The little thing had the whole thing. The best breakfast it's probably had.

Anyway we head out again, direction south. We approach Bou3erfa. I remembered when my uncle Bouhmida lived here. I used to visit his house with my father when I was very young. I vaguely remember a big garden and a swimming pool. I went there in my teens with my aunt Nezha and her kids. I remember climbing a big hill and rolling down that hill. Got a few scrapes to show for it. Anyway, an old man is hitch-hiking. It's 8:30 now and the sun is casting full punishment. I'm a sucker for old hitch-hikers. We did the same for this old dude on the road from Uzoud to Marrakesh two years ago; he made prayers for us that are probably still kicking. Anyway, against Omar's advice I let the old man in the car. We drive into Bou3erfa and a taxi gives us code-far. Sign that jadarmya are near. I hit the brakes and slow to a painful 40km/h. we inch our way for 4 km. I drop the old man off and we sail again. Not a single turn past bou3erfa. My father said there used to be wild donkeys, zebras, and lions in this part of the world when he was growing up. All I saw was a sad looking wolf and some kyotes.

At the entrance of Figuig, jadarmya barage. They peek in the car and see Omar. They know him, so we cruise through no problems. Now it's really hot. 9:45 or so. 3mmi Meqran has tea for us. He sips from his own kettle. His tea is so sweet it makes me dizzy. His kids and grand-kids are in from Paris. All you hear is berber and french. not a single word in Arabic. After tea, khoubz shehma and msemmen, we head to the old qsser lem3iz. The street tunnels feel so cool with the nice breeze blowing through. Nice and refreshing, but the minute you step into the sun, the sand burns your feet. I tell Joc that my uncle bouhmida was chased by a djen through one of those street when he was young. I can tell she doesn't believe me. What about the night when I was lifted from qsser lewdaghir to qsser lm3iz. No one will believe that one.

More about what happened inside qsser lem3iz on this visit coming up soon. The boss is calling... [i'll attach a photo soon]


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12:25 pm    January 22, 2008
Baba Salem
22
Worked in Jerada, Touissit and Tendrara and fell in love with the region: the climate, the scenerie and above all the people. Traveled in the region many many times, from Nador to Merzouga through, Genfouda, Jerada, 3ain Beni Mathar (Bergant), Tendrara, Bou3arfa, Bou3nan, Boudnib, Rachidya, Erfoud, Rissani and Merzouga. I missed to visit Figuig ans saw 3ain Ch3ir from the road. I love the region and its people. What about you ?
·

5:44 pm    January 21, 2008
Mohamed Brahimi
21
Both, born in Tendrara but has deep roots in Figuig. Now your turn
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3:57 pm    January 21, 2008
Bab Salem
20
What about you ?
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3:06 pm    January 20, 2008
PaPiCha
19
Are you people from Tandrara or Figuig?
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3:05 pm    November 14, 2007
hudhud
18
cool. so how about ameqras? is that some form of adjective moushtaqq men asl meqran?
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2:07 pm    November 14, 2007

Rasta Gnawi message
17
you guys must be conspiring together
Maqran in tmazight means: big
Mezyan means: small

There you go :)

·

12:15 pm    November 14, 2007
MOhamed Brahimi
16
I think Moqran in Figuig is like a smith in the USA(LOL). I do think it is pretty common. There is also the family "Amazyan" I do not know what "Ksar" do they belong to, but one thing is for sure, it is a pretty rampant a name.
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12:06 pm    November 14, 2007
hudhud
15
just noticed the name meqran. we have a great uncle named amokran, wonder if it's the same name.

still no photo :)

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5:03 pm    August 18, 2007
Salem
14
Not that grim though. It's true that draught is making life difficult for the region. Nomads are settling ( with all the known difficulties that usually accompany such a settlement). Last time I visited, a year ago (summer 2006), the tens of thousands of square miles along the road from Bergam until Bou3arfa were desolated, for the first time in 20 years, there was no green Halfa. This is a reason the winds are bringing more dust when they blow over Tendrara. But as I told earlier, the city looked pretty well animated. I didn't feel any kind of sadness. I even went to the poorest area at the east side where a accompanied a Tendrari to look in emergency for a couple of goats to make a Msawer for guests. People looked quite and rather content. But there are more trees in and around the city and there is obviously more money coming in with the livestock business around, the increasing numbers of government employees and the tendraris working abroad mainly in Spain and France. When you visit next time, I'm sure that you'll be rather happy... so make a plan to visit next summer...
·

9:33 am    August 18, 2007

Mohamed Brahimi message
13
My sister says that the crawling sand and the strong stealthy wind are trying to bury "tendrara" alive. The side walks are cracking and the big green strawberry tree at the fringes of town is bow down, baren are dying.
The picture, as she draws it, is pretty grim but I still want to visit, lay my numb cheeks on the wall of the old, decripit walls of the old boarded up "m'sid" where we learned "surat al fatiha" for the first time. I am will weep so hard and remmember the last beating I got from "lafqih" only this time tears of joy will wet my cheeks and disturb the numbness that I kept on feeling.
I will put my hands up as though holding something or someone back and yell to the wind to turn around and leave. I will let the wind know that these houses are not abandoned, the people night have left at one time, but are hearts and souls will dwell there forevere. ( sobs and sweet twinges of pain)
·

12:23 am    August 17, 2007
Salem
12
The word "Terfas" comes maybe from "Truffes" (french). In english they call it "Truffle". I've heard about special virtues of truffle. That's maybe the reason why it's so expensive.

Berkoukech with Terfas during winter! Humm... if you're lucky you'll find someone who would prepare the berkoukech grains for you, unless you know how to prepare them yourself in which case you're luckier. There is nothing like the grains made at home by women in the Bled.

·

11:16 pm    August 16, 2007

hudhud message
11
·

11:09 pm    August 16, 2007

hudhud message
10
btw rasta here's a berkoukes recipe - kabyle algerian version. verkoukes naa vegayet - berkoukes of bedjaia.
i'll have to post the recipe for the bdjaoui version of harira soup soon - they make a sweet light version that i tasted at my uncle's house. his wife makes the most amazing food. ramadan is fast approaching. the hilal looked so big and beautiful tonight. must be 4th of sha3bane now i guess.
and the dolma and the bourek all the stuffed goodies.. and the zlabiyah.. and the khoubz matlou3. i remember seeing these poor kids selling big round loafs of matlou3 bread on the side of the highways...
·

10:46 pm    August 16, 2007

hudhud message
9
how cute, sounds like quite a festival. i think that's fun. would love to see a wedding like that. i've heard of 3 day weddings back home. and apparently in inda/pakistan some ppl do 7 day weddings. a whole week of festivities and celebrations. so salem did you join the performances :) i remember a cousin's cousin's wedding i went to last summer. i wanted to be the dj. the one they hired sucked big time. she was mean and kept putting on lame music that no one could dance to.
and i'll never forget when she picked up the mic and yelled "Sheddou wlidatkoum yerham waldikoum!! ouila makache la musique!!" everyone was shocked and laughed at the same time. the lil kids were tripping up her electrical cords and messing with her equipment. it was hilarious.

weddings. so much fun, sometimes much headache too =)

·

5:40 pm    August 16, 2007
Salem
8
That wedding lasted 3 days in Wejda and 7 days in Tendrara. For me, an outsider, it was like if I was in a different planet. The clothes, the turbans, the music, the rythmes, the dances and the features typology of people, all was just fantastic.

There were so many purposes targeted out of that wedding. Among others, there was an important objective of conciliating two ennemy sub-tribes which were in a bitter conflict for more than 20 years. It was interesting to follow the setting up of such a conciliation. Of course this was bisides the symbolic union between the BniGuil/ Benhmed tribe (the bridegroom) and the Lamhaya tribe of the outskirts of Wejda City.

One of the things I will never forget from that event: In that area, the Baroud was banned for many many years for some reason. Because of the notoriety of the bridegroom father (notable), a special authorization was allowed to Baroud demonstrations for the festivities. Many people of the region forget about Tborida. The young teenagers and little children never saw it, period. One of these evenings of festivities, a dynamic la3lawi band was playing along with pedastrian Bardya (without horses). It was amazing... The Bardya were performing the worriers' dance, when they riched the climax, the culminant point, they shot altogether towerds the soil (probably for safety reasons), doing so, tiny grains of rocks were hurled out of the soil over the spectators. A little girl run to her mother yelling : "Hadu Kaydorbu bela7jar!!! it was funny. I laughed so much...

·

5:40 pm    August 16, 2007
Salem
7
That wedding lasted 3 days in Wejda and 7 days in Tendrara. For me, an outsider, it was like if I was in a different planet. The clothes, the turbans, the music, the rythmes, the dances and the features typology of people, all was just fantastic.

There were so many purposes targeted out of that wedding. Among others, there was an important objective of conciliating two ennemy sub-tribes which were in a bitter conflict for more than 20 years. It was interesting to follow the setting up of such a conciliation. Of course this was bisides the symbolic union between the BniGuil/ Benhmed tribe (the bridegroom) and the Lamhaya tribe of the outskirts of Wejda City.

One of the things I will never forget from that event: In that area, the Baroud was banned for many many years for some reason. Because of the notoriety of the bridegroom father (notable), a special authorization was allowed to Baroud demonstrations for the festivities. Many people of the region forget about Tborida. The young teenagers and little children never saw it, period. One of these evenings of festivities, a dynamic la3lawi band was playing along with pedastrian Bardya (without horses). It was amazing... The Bardya were performing the worriers' dance, when they riched the climax, the culminant point, they shot altogether towerds the soil (probably for safety reasons), doing so, tiny grains of rocks were hurled out of the soil over the spectators. A little girl run to her mother yelling : "Hadu Kaydorbu bela7jar!!! it was funny. I laughed so much...

·

2:38 pm    August 16, 2007

Mohamed Brahimi message
6
They call them "trefles" . They are pretty darn expensive .. that if you can actually find someone who sells them
·

5:59 am    August 16, 2007

Rasta Gnawi message
5
awh maan... you remember terfas!!? what do they call it here in the US? been looking for it to put in bercoukess. Nice one!
·

2:39 am    August 16, 2007
Salem
4
I spent a week in Tendrara last year where I attended a moussemlike wedding. I saw the evolution of Tendrara during the last 20 years. It is going through a real metamorphism over the last three years. More Bni Ghil nomads are fixed because of the recurent draught. The city like huge village of Tendrara is getting larger every year. The administration is investing the city, bringing in numbers of employees from other regions of the country, creating a new social dynamics, new small businesses are coming in, new social relationships are developing, new types of social conflicts are disturbing, the local habits and traditions are challenged, shacked. Social differences are more obvious than twenty years ago. A new "modern" neighbourhood installed between the administrative center and the location of the weekly Sook. More houses on the right side of the road towards Bou3arfa, and more trees around the city mainly north, south and west. Tendrara is very much animated during summer when the Tendraris come back for vacation to see their families and friends and bring some Drahems. Last winter, snow reminded the Tendraris of the old good times, as a consequence there was a good harvest of "Terfas"...
·

1:31 am    August 16, 2007

hudhud message
3
wow.. man i get emotional just reading this.. :) it reminds me of my trip to my dad's great-uncle's farm in this region we simply call "el mechta" .. dry hot deserted.. scattered farms.. some goats and chickens.. i was 9. i didn't know any of the family elders, couldn't understand them when they spoke... i wandered around on the farm. saw the ruins of the stone foundation of the house where my dad was born. just a square outline of stones overgrown with thorny brambles and covered in dry dusty sand blown across the plateau from the east..

i remember we stopped on the road to pray fajr in a tiny square one-room mosque, a little white building. you make wudu outside at a little tap sticking out of the wall. the water was ICE cold. the entire area was pitch black dark. after we prayed i heard a rooster. we got back in the car, my uncle speeding away like his life depended on it. i remember sticking my head out the window, my lil sis and i both looking back at that tiny solitary mosque all along on the road, the barren fields bare, deserted, empty all around.. just a long narrow road and that tiny solitary mosque.. the cool air whipping my face..
jadarmya checkpoints every so often on the road. khali would stop and flash them his carefree playboy grin, wach khouya, la bass, hand them his wrinkled smudged papers, and they'd wave us on through. he was always so casual and laid-back. he'd be wearing his sloppy wife-beater shirts, his deeply browned face wrinkled around the eyes from the sun, his silvery gray wavy hair flying in the wind, his cool aviator glasses flashy for the times. at night you'd have to shut off your headlights and turn on the inside lights of your car so the jadarmya can see who's in the car and check your trunk and walk around the car a few times and just generally interrupt your trip and slow you down and pry into your life and if you're going in the direction of their own neighborhood and if it oh so coincidentally happens to be near the end of their shift - they hitch a ride with you and you're stuck driving them around..
the brown dry summer fields... the huge trees with white paint on the lower trunks.. the random donkey card.. the melon fields with yellow spots visible for miles and miles.. the brown farmers with their straw hats..
the heat. the dryness and the dust. the sadness and grief. the empty bare dry brown fields. an equally empty heart numb from the pain of leaving.

but now tell us what happened in qsser lem3iz. i am curious. yallah don't keep us in suspense. i do believe in genies =)

·

7:33 pm    August 15, 2007

Mohamed Brahimi message
2
As I am scrolling down reading this post, my eyes spotted the word "tendrara". I kid you not, my heart shook, there was a weired fluttering of emotions. I pictured a pigeon flapping its wings and a loaded car leaving the town for the last time bound to casablanca. the year is 1977 and the town is mine , that was where I saw the light for the first time and the mere mention of Tendrara gets me all emotionel.
My sister was back there visiting about three weeks ago, she lament about what has become of tendrara, she said that she could not control her flowing tears. Those who know Tendrara back in the days will tell you what a heaven that was. I didn't venture past Village touba in Oujda where I attended my Nephew's wedding along with Amine and Adnane's cousin Mostapha.
Please try to take a little more time in Tendrara n the way back and tell what you see
·

4:38 pm    August 14, 2007
Salem
1
I missed the trip to the east this year. Was busy. The first time I was there years ago: one month stay in Jerada, it was prosperous at the time. The second time was Twissit and then Oued Lheimer and afterwards Laayoun and Bouarfa through Wejda, Guenfouda, Bergam (Ain Beni Mathar), Tendrara, the semi arid desert of Ddahra populated with Bni Guil tribe. I fell in love with the region from my first trip. I liked the dry weather, the heat, the light, the colors, the space and the fasicnating people.

Once, I made the trip the opposite direction. Rabat-Meknes-Azrou-Midelt-Rachidia-Boudnib-Bouanan-Bouarfa-Tendrara-Bergam-Wejda... I was travelling alone. I stopped somewhere between Bou3nan and Bou3arfa. It was noon, the day temperature was at its maximum. I felt that nobody was there except me. I felt a deep desire to scream and I did scream with all the strength I had.

·

Rasta Gnawi's notes (63)
 
2012
Ramadan Mubarak..
Raioo versus Facebook..
 
2010
Mercy..
 
2009
eid?..
Ramdan Mabrouk..
rantings on a cloudy day..
Sardines..
 
2008
drought..
salma salma..
Arabica..
agricultural / energy policy..
Doucement :)..
Mebrouk Remdan..
ghir bessyas a moulay!..
ONB - anyone going to concert or has tickets?..
 
2007
Darfur..
Friday or Saturday?..
douga douga..
Cartoon Memories..
mudhakkiratou rihlati ljanoub..
From Africa, with love..
great film..
spicy chocolate..
a treat for you..
Nice piece for your weekend activities..
Another attempt at writing. Will this language ever feel nat..
 
2006
Eid Mebrouk..
satellite..
Mebrouk Ramdan..
mshwi..
old fiction..
MS Mess..
their life... our life... their life.....
Islamic punk rock..
One Love..
free speech..
Resources..
Hammam ruminations..
old paintings..
date deals..
 
2005
dmv..
book..
casa..
vortex..
name of the rose..
mostafa Akkad..
Eurika..
audioslave..
Paris riots..
Eid Mabrouk..
NYT lamb..
recipe..
badi3..
a pause from madness..
garden..
desert nights..
brain freeze..
organized tours..
passport on vacation..
good attire..
Hot day..
 
2002
eCommerce..
Econ - Biz - What's The Pulse..


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