Morocco Fall semester 2018 headed out into the desert Moonscape-like Anti-Atlas mountains outside Kelaat M’Gouna with our Azlag Homestay Cordinator Taoufiq (pictured with group) to visit a nomadic family. The grandparents are likely in their 70s and have been moving between this area for winter and near Ait Bougemez for summer grazing with their three donkeys and some 200 sheep and goats. They recently shifted locations because there was a wolf in the area which ate some other nomads’ livestock.
Their five-year old grandniece (pictured in their dwelling with the group next to Aicha our Moroccan support instructor), Biya, prefers to live with them and their 15 year old son as a nomad, rather than on a settled farm with her siblings and mother. Biya carries water, collects firewood, cooks and cleans, and herds the animals. She won’t be able to attend school since her labor is needed by the family. The woman doesn’t have any official documents and so cannot go to the hospital. The grandpa often goes into town on Wednesdays to buy needed goods and sell goats if the price is high. He also goes to a mosque to pray on Fridays. They don’t know their age, but the grandpa says he just barely remembers the French Colonial period which ended in 1956 and the Jews leaving Morocco for Israel in 1948, 1956, and 1967.