Written by CorpsAfrica/Maroc Volunteer Ms. Souad Nahal
It is definitely true that the beauty of this place does not reflect the beauty of life here. This is one of the contradictions I always have trouble comprehending. When I first stepped foot here, I kept expressing my admiration for nature, thinking they were lucky to wake up every morning with the view of those silver mountains. But girls kept staring at me, and their reaction was that ‘’ there is nothing special about this place—life here does not give us time to contemplate the beauty you are talking about.” At first, I thought they were just bored and wanted to discover new places, and that is why they were saying that. As time went on, I started seeing things more clearly. As the days faded away, I realized that they were right. However, this does not mean the place is bad or something of the sort, but living there forever is not as amazing as one may conceive from their first visit. It is wonderful to spend days, or even a few months here. It is so inspiring, the views are fantastic, and the nature is stunning. But permanent living is very hard and almost unbearable. People have very few things to do and limited choices for making a living. This fact makes life here so boring and very repetitive. At the same time, every single person in my community has to work—even children. They have to help around after school, either through herding sheep or cleaning barns. Children in my Douar are different from the children that we see in the cities, and they same wise beyond their years.
Women in my community and the surrounding communities are a special case. I spent months here, but I still cannot understand how their small bodies could bear that every day hard work and burdens they are always carrying on their backs. Whenever I meet a woman with her child on her back and a burden of grass on her shoulder, I say in astonishment “that is too much, you are not made of iron! Have mercy on your bodies.” They say, ‘’that is our life and what we are doing is an obligation not a choice.” As time passed, I understood that they are condemned to this way of life. The sad fact that is hurting me the most is that even though they are struggling beside their husbands, their efforts are not appreciated; some of them could die simply because of carelessness and indifference. However, these women chase every simple opportunity to get themselves out of that daily monotonous routine. Whenever they are together, you find them singing and dancing.
I love their patience, their steadfastness and their consistency. They made me realize that life is not easy at all. This is always compelling me to stand up and walk even if I am tired. Much love and appreciation to those fighting women.