Thursday, July 10, 2014

Towns of Morocco - Aouchtam

Julian took the time to put together a great overview of the town of Aouchtam in his new blog Transcendent Explorer

There is much about Morocco and it's Arab culture which go unnoticed by Mainstream Media leading many to think it is a third world country of destitution and abject poverty. Yet as our friend David pointed out, Morocco in many ways IS a sustainable country and community in its own right, using all available resources and creating small opportunities for people to find purpose in their lives, if they are willing. For example, in many cafe's, which are popular here, ordering a tea can have as many as 3 people involved - one to pour the hot water, one to steep the tea and one to serve it to the waiting customer. In this way, each person plays their part, and while very little money is earned for a $0.60 tea it gives purpose to all involved; underscoring the satisfaction one gets in life by creating in even the smallest of ways.


The place I currently call home is a small town named Aouchtam. In this post I wanted to share some of the images I've captured here. There are beaches, mountain tops and everything that exists therein to appreciate here. Aouchtam is a town of about 300 people located between the large city of Tetouan, which is also the name of the Province we are in, and Oued Laou, a smaller city, on the beaches of the Mediterranean.



Satellite Image of the main road through Aouchtam - Provided by Google Maps

Another interesting fact about this town is that the land isn't owned by the King of Morocco. The native
tribes people of the Rif mountains fought off the French and Spanish troops during the early 1920's, with no help from the King. These hearty people are commonly referred to by foreigners as Berbers, but locally as Amazigh which means "free men".

Heres what Wikipedia had to say about that name:

Berber

Further information: Berber (etymology) and Murabtin
The name Berber appeared for the first time after the end of the Roman Empire.[8] The use of the term Berber spread in the period following the arrival of theVandals during their major invasions. A history by a Roman consul in Africa made the first reference of the term "barbarian" to describe Numidia. Muslim historians, some time after, also mentioned the Berbers.[9] The English term was introduced in the nineteenth century, replacing the earlier Barbary, a loan from Arabic. Its ultimate etymological identity with barbarian is uncertain, but the Arabic word has clearly been treated as identical with Latin barbaria, Byzantine Greek βαρβαρία "land of barbarians" since the Middle Ages.
For the historian Abraham Isaac Laredo[10] the name Amazigh could be derived from the name of the ancestor Mezeg which is the translation of biblical ancestor Dedan son of Sheba in the Targoum. According to Leo AfricanusAmazigh meant "free men", though this has been disputed, because there is no root of M-Z-Gh meaning "free" in modern Berber languages. It also has a cognate in the Tuareg word "amajegh", meaning "noble".[11][12] This term is common in Morocco, especially among Central Atlas, Rifian and Shilah speakers in 1980,[13] but elsewhere within the Berber homeland sometimes a local, more particular term, such as Kabyle (Kabyle comes from Arabic: tribal confederation) or Chaoui, is more often used instead in Algeria.[14] 
The Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines mentioned various tribes with similar names living in Greater "Libya" (North Africa) in the areas where Berbers were later found. Later tribal names differ from the classical sources, but are probably still related to the modern Amazigh. The Meshwesh tribe among them represents the first thus identified from the field. Scholars believe it would be the same tribe called a few centuries after in Greek Mazyes by Hektaios and Maxyes by Herodotus, while it was called after that the "Mazaces" and "Mazax" in Latin sources, and related to the later Massylii and Masaesyli. All those names are similar and perhaps foreign renditions to the name used by the Berbers in general for themselves, Imazighen.



From my castle-like apartment salon (Moroccan living room) you can see the lake like Mediterranean sea and you can literally hear the waves breaking over the rocky beach.



Every morning you see the fisherman out on the sea catching their daily worth of aquatic goods.




The Sun slowly kisses and caresses this side of the Earth as it begins to peak over with its radiating touch.


Its currently Ramadan here shifting many daily activities into the night. Although I have not educated myself enough to speak of the practices or principles of Ramadan I can say what I have seen manifested in and through the people as they practice their spiritual cleanse. The days are meant to be a spiritual cleansing of "evil" thoughts by literally not having them. There is, of course, praying multiple times a day coupled with a physical cleanse. Doing your best to refrain from engaging in actions, such as: smoking, drinking liquids of any kind, eating, having violent or sexual thoughts. At sunset after the horns call, which is broadcast through the Mosques loudspeakers for the local area, eating and other activities can resume.


With Ramadan can come tested nerves during the day as many Moroccans and other practicing Muslims have to face their inner vices, and physical addictions. What at once might have been a small matter could have potential to escalate. This in and of itself breaking the vows of not having violent thoughts, but we must remember this is a practice, a process. Though seldom when this has occurred many other Moroccans have come to help settle out the differences, in a brotherly like fashion.

Ramadan is seen as a time of cleansing the spirit. The days are seen as purely spiritual, looking at your own experience, thoughts and emotions. Imagine an entire country or nation setting an intention to focus on the spiritual side of life on a daily basis for a month.

To go with Ramadan here are some night shots of Aouchtam:




Interestingly enough the small community of individuals here have also been going through cleanses and changes. Staying up later, eating sparingly if not at all during the day. Many infact are leaving and deeming to return in the not too distant future. Some have vouched to go to the Boom Festival in Portugal. I too have set my intention to be a part of this incredible festival this year where you can see first hand different methods for sustainable living, alternative healing and much more. I'm extremely excited about it! Maybe I'll see you there?


Another thing I can say about Aouchtam is that it's been an amazing meeting point for countless of wonderful people from all walks of life. Love you all!
________


For more photos check out my Facebook albums of Aouchtam.










'Like' me on Facebook and check out more of my photos.




Source:

http://tefotos.blogspot.com/2014/07/towns-of-morocco-aouchtam.html

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