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  • Day10

    Morocco Day 10

    October 21, 2018 in Morocco ⋅ 🌙 68 °F

    Quarzazate has developed as a city since the 1920s. The city is a movie studio capital used for 30-35 movies/year. The movie culture/production started when Lawrence of Arabia was shot here. There are two large studios, one owned by Francis Ford Coppola. Other movies and documentaries shot here that we discussed were Homeland, Game of Thrones, lots of desert and Biblical movies. Many of the producers, actors stay at the hotel where we are staying. Who would have thought we would see a movie capital in Morocco!!!

    Our activity for the day is “A Day in the Life”. This experience is unique to OAT, the company we are traveling with, and provides a more in-depth study of the people of the country. We traveled to a village called Ait Ben Haddou, which consists of a new village and an old village, built in the 9thC, with a river on the edge of town. The old village was built into the side of a mountain with a watchtower on the top. This village has become a tourist attraction as it is well-preserved. We started with a tour of the new town with Ali,our town guide, and a visit to a home and a school. Homes built with places for the animals (goats, sheep and donkey) to live and several large rooms as well as a kitchen. Most all homes are made of adobe but some with cement. The reason most of the people have moved from the old town to the new town is, that, when it rains, the river flooded their homes. There are still 5 families that live in the old town and about 150 families in the new village.
    As we finished our tour of the villages, we went to a building outside of the old town which houses the Imik Smik Women’s Association for Rural Development. This is an organization that the OAT Grand Circle Foundation supports. The association supports women’s rights in this rural area of Morocco and was established in 2012. Essentially started with a group of women getting together because they wanted some “space” and now is 74 members strong with members from 16-74. Their goals are to create workshops and programs to teach women how to sew, read, cook, and further education. They started by baking cookies to sell, added other products and now have a little store where they sell their goods. All of the money so far goes made back into the organization. A fascinating discussion with several of the girls/women running the organization about divorce, relationships with men, etc. An amazing feat for these women in this country and a force in women’s rights. Tagines made by the women for lunch. Following our meal 2 of the gals did artistic henna tattoos for those wanted A great, fascinating experience.
    Back to hotel, cocktail hour on an open air patio near our rooms, a walk through a bustling Sunday night market and dinner at a French restaurant – very good duck.
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