Monday, January 01, 2007

Market day at Thursday Village - 28 December 2006

The High Atlas Mountains up the valleyOur final, and most relaxed, excursion into the Atlas Mountains was the trip up the Ourika Valley. This very attractive valley, with villages at regular intervals along the river, was the site of devastation in 1991 when a flash flood killed 200 and wiped out many houses and villages built in the riverbed. Evidence of the damage is still visible with collapsed buildings dotted up the valley.

A Berber kitchenWe visited another Berber house, which although built right on the river had escaped the flood. Unusually it had a internal, river-powered, mill. This gave another interesting glimpse into the lifestyle of the local Berber people in the way that they extend their houses as each new generation gets married.

The Weekly MarketWe also had the opportunity to visit the local weekly market. The weekly markets are the centre of village life as all the people from the surrounding villages meet at their central village to barter goods at the market, visit the barber, get their postThe Weekly Market (and have it read by the postman as the illiteracy rates in the countryside are very high), visit the hospital, get married or divorced. It all happens on the one day per week and the village takes its name from the market day, so we visited ‘Thursday Village’. The markets are only attended by the men who have to do all the buying for the household. The Weekly Market(The wives in our party were not impressed with that concept having witnessed the purchasing efforts of their respectives.) As well as clothing and household items, there was plenty of meat and produce on sale although I am not sure I would have been happy to partake of any of it.

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