LOCAL PERSPECTIVES

LIFE IN A BERBER TOWN

BENI FOUDA, MOROCCO

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The Story

A CONVERSATION WITH Abdusalam

FARMER IN BENI FOUDA, MOROCCO


Abdusalam is a farmer and Berber tribesman living in the remote Rif Mountains of Northern Morocco. The Berbers who are indigenous to these lands, are believed to have lived in the area since 10,000 BC. Throughout history, the Riffian Berbers have traded their handicrafts with Moorish and Arab urbanites of the Maghreb, but largely made their living via a pastoral, self-sustainable, farming lifestyle on the abundant lands that surround their villages.

My roots are here, so it is normal like a tree, when close to its roots, would be prosperous and its leaves good and green.

ABDUSALAM, RIFFIAN FARMER
Portrait Of Riffian Self Sustainable Farmer Abdusalam | Stories + Objects Global Traveler Magazine

S+O — HAVE YOU LIVED IN THIS VILLAGE YOUR ENTIRE LIFE?

ABDUSALAM — I was born here in Beni Fouda in 1937, and have been living here my entire life.
My children were born here as well.

S+O — WHY DO YOU PREFER THE LIFESTYLE OF LIVING IN THE MOUNTAINS?

ABDUSALAM — I like the air, abundant water, greenery and the sound of the birds. The air is fresher and purer compared to the city’s air. My roots are here, so it’s normal for me to live here just like a tree, when close to its roots, it would be prosperous and its leaves green and healthy.

Early Budding Walnut Tree Growing In Morocco | Stories + Objects Global Travel Magazine

S+O — HOW DO YOU MAKE YOUR LIVING?

ABDUSALAM — From the 1950s to 1970s, I made a living in the handicraftsman trade. Now, I am a farmer. My wife tends to our flock of animals. We farm barley, bitter vetch, wheat, walnuts, lentils, peas, fava beans, and carob.

Sheep On A Moroccan Hillside | Stories + Objects Travel Lifestyle Magazine

S+O — WHAT IS MOST IMPORTANT TO YOU?

ABDUSALAM — The nicest thing is when I see my children happy, and not lacking any necessities such as food. I wish for everyone to be happy and doing well. Not only for my sons and daughters, but also that all my neighbors and all of Morocco is doing well.

Portraits Of Villagers Dining In Beni Fouda, Morocco | Stories + Objects Global Traveler Magazine
Portrait Of Grandmother and Child In Moroccan Village | Stories + Objects Travel Magazine
Donkey and Farmer in Beni Fouda, Morocco | Stories + Objects Lifestyle Travel Magazine
Portrait Of Father and Child In Moroccan Village | Stories + Objects Travel Images

S+O — WHAT CHANGES HAVE YOU WITNESSED IN THE WORLD?

ABDUSALAM — For me, not a lot has changed. I live my life as I have always lived it. We have more wealth now. We have more bounties provided by Allah. But I believe there is a decline in morals. We no longer have the kindness, compassion, and respect for each other in the world.

S+O — WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE BASED ON WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNED?

ABDUSALAM — Everyone in the whole world should be good to one another. I advise people to be kind, and for them to take care of the people they encounter, if they are in need. Show anyone you meet kindness.

I advise people to be kind, and for them to take care of the people they encounter, if they are in need. Show anyone you meet kindness.

Landscape View From Rif Mountains, Morocco | Stories + Objects Global Traveler Magazine
Credits

Film by K23 Films
Photography by Brian Sokol
Special Acknowledgments - Ali and Idris of Fès Guide
The Objects

Exclusive Edition 004 Moroccan Leather Tote


This lambskin leather tote was made by artisans working with traditional methods in the tanneries of Fès, Morocco where the craft of leatherwork has thrived for nearly twelve hundred years. The leather used in the tote follows ancient traditions passing first from the farmer to souk, then souk to tannery, and lastly from the tannery to artisan for quality construction of the goods.

Details

Handmade in the Moroccan city of Fès by leather artisans following exacting methods passed down from generations. The tote bears the name of the tannery in a beautiful Arabic script to honor the legacy of craftsmanship that made its design possible. It is designed to be a versatile, sturdy day bag that is supple and light enough to be stored within another bag when one desires an extra option.

The Destination

BENI FOUDA, MOROCCO


The commune of Beni Fouda lies in the heart of the Rif Mountains. Isolated and difficult to reach, yet absolutely worth a day’s journey from Tangier or Fès to experience life in one of the most traditional societies of Morocco, the Riffian Berbers. The colorful and unique indigenous Berber architecture punctuates the landscape surrounded by rolling hills of ancient olive groves.  While a driver, guide and translator is essential, it is evident even with the language barrier, that the people living there are of open hearts, minds and awaiting the moment to share their hospitality and culture with their guests.