Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Berber village

That night we stayed at talouet- a Berber village high in the atlas mountains. About an hours ride from the village we transferred to cars and jeeps driven by the men of the village, as the bus could not make it down the rocky unpaved road. we sat crowded onto wooden benches as our jeep lurched around the curves, so close to the edge that I feared our car would skid and roll down the abyss. As we traveled i watched women washing laundry in the icy water flowing down the mountain, their hands probaly deeply worn and chapped as they laid the clothes to dry in the sun. We stayed at an old makeshift hotel in the village. The boys on mattresses in a large room, and the girls in smaller rooms upstairs. Peter told me a story on our ride up; Ali, the  owner of the hotel feels indebted to kivunim and in particular to Peter, as a few years ago Ali had cancer and Peter before leaving gave him a mishaberach. The next year the cancer was gone, and Ali attributes his recovery to the blessing Peter gave. Peter told me that the village has no imam, and due to this Peter in a way has become ali's spiritual leader.

Standing outside before dinner some children came up to me and started speaking rapidly. We ended up playing for over an hour, singing farijaka and ring around the rosy. Running till I was out of breath from one side of the hotel to the next. After adelicious meal of tajin, the village put on a concert for us.  All the women wore brightly colored cultural dresses and the men sat in the circle beating large leather drums. The woman sang and performed a dance, clapping their hands and walking in time to the beat. The children and us swayed and danced around them. We drank tea, and sat around the campfire talking and laughing with the berber man until long past the stars had risen. At one point I went to the roof and studied the sky, without light pollution it was so light it nearly blinded. We spent a frigid cold night in the village, shivering underneath our covers,till we were woken to the braying of a donkey in the early morning. Before we left I stood looking down at the village, it's flat mad roofs hazy through the smoke of cooking fires. I remembered Peter taking us up here the day before and telling us as we gazed out at the landscape that these people's lifestyle has been nearly unchanged for two thousand years. Imagine if I had not been born into my family and had instead been born in a village such as this.if I met myself would I recognize myself, or would ibe an entirely different person? I would have a different value system, perhaps I would be illiterate or be married already with children. Even at my core I would no longer be the same person, entirely changed, revolutionized, by the upbringing I had received.

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