Mountain Villages and Berber Dancing

Trip Start Jan 14, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Morocco  ,
Sunday, March 16, 2008

I'm now in Midelt, a smallish town in the Middle Atlas Mountains. Technically I'm outside Midelt, lodged with my group in an auberge with rustic charm. (Rustic charm, by the way, means that they don't have heat). This afternoon we took a short hike to the edge of a nearby gorge, then walked back through the tiny village of Berrem.

Berrem only has a population of about 200 people, and their main economy comes from the surrounding apple orchards. As we walked through the village, we attracted a crowd of children that followed us almost all the way back to the auberge. They held our hands and walked arm in arm with us, and said the few words of French in their vocabularies to us over and over again. They asked for pens and coins and sweets, as children do, but were affable enough when the treats were not forthcoming. (I tell my groups not to give anything to children, because it creates a begging mentality and undermines education).

Back at the auberge in the evening a group of Berber musicians came in to perform. With drums, tambourines, and a violin they created a joyful noise, and the ladies began to dance, shaking their hips so that their coin belts jingles as they moved. Soon they had the whole group up dancing and shaking, until everyone was exhausted, the hour grew late, and it was finally time for bed.
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