أمودّو 179 | الفردوس المنسي / 02
On the morning of a wintry day, on this part of the ‘Middle Atlas’ that lazily yawns to wake up and welcomes a new day The sun rises slowly in order to reach the sky and its warm rays are scattered all over the place The fog disappear and the clouds dissipate and the shadows fade behind the doors. The droplets of the mist emitted from the waterfalls turn into steam that fills the place with purity giving the morning clarity and the environment wellness and splendor. An environment that inhales healthy air by every new day, and is becoming more optimistic and ambitious with the advent of every new dawn. "The Forgotten Paradise 2" Amouddou [Travel] Idea and presented by: Lahoucine Faouzi « Every morning we wait to see you ... Every morning we hope to meet you... We stare at the horizons openly so as we might see you...
We know you're there somewhere... watching us... We hear your breath... And we feel your exhales We feel you are close to us... We know your pride and your ability to camouflage so you stay out of sight... But we will remain clinging to hope...
We will continue to wait and dream, because we have the patience and the means to make us optimistic, We have the awareness and sense of adventurers, We hope to see you and find you even after a while." Waiting for that to happen, we continue to travel, with our eyes on groups of birds moving from branch to branch on trees, enjoying the warmth and sweetness of the day. and frequently expressing gratitude and praise, announcing the beginning of a cheerful day. Amidst the grass and weeds, some creatures shaking their tails while they are busy searching for food: they are ‘Common moorhen chicken’. Shy waterbirds, walking along the banks of rivers.
They often run away from the eyes and avoid being seen, and often live in hiding. They live near the shores, in the lakes and freshwater marshes. A skilled swimmer that dives into the water, raising its feet and tail above the surface of the water, but it is not good at flying, as it flies with difficulty without rising too much from the surface of the water. Water chickens prefer a life of solitude, they move away from all that could threaten them, but they defend their area boldly and courageously.
These birds feed on fish, small aquatic animals, molluscs, frogs and insects as well as grass and small plants. They walk depending on floating plants on the surface of water, and in the mud on their strong legs equipped with long fingers. Water chickens are famous for their strong and sharp sense of smell allowing them to find food and easily avoids enemies. they builds their nest with dry plant leaves on the branches of aquatic plants, or in pits dug on the beaches, where the female lays 3 to 5 yellowish eggs dotted with dark brown spots. In the past, abundant river water flowed heavily through the valley bed, occasionally creating deep pits in some places.
As droughts continued, these pits formed a series of dams. And fractures and slopes formed a cluster of waterfalls And fractures and slopes formed a cluster of waterfalls in which water deposited huge amounts of sediments that geologists call ‘travertine’ or curtains. Travertine: Lime sedimentary rocks caused by living organisms living in certain aquatic conditions. the remains of these organisms harden to form thin layers that top each other to give these sedimentary rocks.
Their many different colors change according to the impurities they contain with their small cavities unevenly distributed over them. Curtains are formed in aquatic environments such as springs or streams with small waterfalls In order to form, water must contain a large percentage of the carbons which get deposited after contact with air and they evolve in certain conditions such as the rise of the surrounding temperature, increased water oxidation and the presence of living organisms such as algae, fungi and bacteria. During formation, these plant organisms coated with a layer of carbons continue to grow, but they slowly and gradually decompose and only what is metallic remains. These ‘Taddoute’ falls left behind them karstic forms that gave the ancient ‘Skourians’ somehow deep hollows in which they settled and consider as houses and shelters. They have known this type of caverns since prehistoric times and have chosen to live in them for their robustness and the security they provided. Interview with Mr. Rachid Arahmat / Shelter Owner
"These caves are ancient here and well known They were inhabited by residents. Here is this model for example and there are some more of them there. My grandfather and his family lived here before he built a house for himself, he was a shepherd. - Did he live in this cave? - Yes, in this very cave. He had a family and children before he built that house.
He was a herdsman and cattle owner. - Were these caves closed before? No, the caves were natural and were built with stones in the entrances. - Did the caves exist before people inhabited them? - Yes, of course, the first to settle in this area inhabited these caves.
- Before the existence of villages? - Yes, before that, they lived on grazing, livestock and bought and owned land. We all were one family with the same name and we have one grandfather who lived here and then the family branched out. Here there is about 6 caves. - Did people live there? - Yes, the last person who lived here moved in 1993 and had about 100 goats. - Did everyone had its own cave ? - Everyone had its own cave and thier entrances were built only with stone and clay" Unfortunately, the ‘Middle Atlas’ has not received the value it deserves, despite the beaty of its nature, the diversity of its geological formations and the abundance of caves that witness the legacy of its people, It has not been valued, while its potential can be exploited to attract many visitors and create a thriving eco-tourism that benefits it. Not far from here the “mistle thrush” fills the place with its tweet.
A singing bird, from the ‘blackbirds’ family... he is known for his own tweet, which gave him the name of the ‘song thrush’. brown with a white bottom side decorated with large dark dots. shy and introverted by nature.
‘song thrush’ lives in isolation and vigorously defends its land and food resources. It frequently live in pastures and open lands that enable them to see everything around it clearly and escape if there is danger. It prefers gardens, orchards and bare lands, wandering around in a tense manner looking for worms that make up much of its diverse diet. They build their nests at the top of the trees or above the walls in the form of a bowl covered with clay in which they lay 4 to 5 blue-doted eggs. Nearby, in the morning, one of the top singing birds is looking for its food... It's the ‘Common blackbird’ An omnivorous bird, running at times and jumping at times, and tilting its head towards the ground to look at it in order to see or hear a bug, lizard, worm, spider, snail or beetle.
The male ‘Common blackbird’ can sing at any time of the day, but sunrise and sunset are the times when it produces its strongest and melodious tweets. For the reforesting process, noble tree species that adapt to the climate, soil, topography and biodiversity of the area are chosen. And to emphasize this process the ‘Taddoute’ arboretum was created, which is a model for successful projects for the regeneration of the ‘Middle atlas’ forests. From this colonial-era building that still retains its French architectural appearance, administration and management is carried out. Interview with: Mr. Saad Hartika / Water and Forest Technician in ‘Skoura’ area
"The ‘Skoura’ region is known for its natural and animal potential as well. As there is different animal and plant varieties in it. The colonizer chose this area since it has very different natural landscapes. It therefore established a center in 1946 precisely in this area called ‘Taddoute’. It created this arboretum and to this day it still exists and continues to function." "The role of this arboretum is the production of several natural and forest varieties.
Including Atlas cedar, green oak and several other varieties such as rosemary this is according to a pre-planned program prepared by water and forests authorities each year. And these varieties are planted in forest areas" This arboretum has a noble ambition to draw the attention of various partners to opportunities that can promote the sustainable economic development of the rural women's situation. Women's economic independence is the first condition for effective gender equality and the main step towards eradicating poverty and ensuring inclusive economic growth.
- Peace be upon you Aisha do I give you the seeds? -Yes. Today, thanks to this project focused on the socio-economic integration of rural women, the latter has benefited from support and training in partnership with the High Commission for Water and Forestry and the Fight against Desertification. Interview with Ms. Khadija Ichou - "My job in this arboretum is to grow seeds and remove weeds from the grass, me and a number of other girls.
since 1990, I've been working here, after my father died, I had to work I work whenever the job is available. If it's not available, I stay home until I'm called again. There are about 40 workers of all ages here." Saad Hartika / Water and Forest Technician in ‘Skoura’ area "The water and forests authorities employ the local population in this arboretum.
the works is conducted in several stages. The first stage is the planting of seeds in the shelves where they thrive and multiply. Over the years, this population has become well aware of its role and every year almost the same stages are repeated.
Thank God the shrubs reach the required conditions according to the standards required by the High Commission for Water and Forestry in order to be planted later." To deal with seeds correctly, the farmer must be familiar with some of the principles of biology Further more the good knowledge of phenology and the period of flowering, this will allow the selection of the most appropriate periods and the best ways to harvest and collect seeds of plants programmed to be planted later. Moreover, knowing how seeds develop in nature is essential to deal with them at storage and processing. These women, who work in the arboretum are processing seedlings geared to the regeneration and replanting of the ‘Middle atlas’ forests.
This process goes through several stages: from seed farming to the transfer of seedlings from the arboretum, replanting, weeds removal and watering throughout the year. "There are several other stages that these small trees go through, we are trying to provide conditions for their growth like those in the forest. When they are moved to a mountain or forest, for example their growth success rate is high. and there is no loss for this program, which is being supervised by the High Water and Forestry Commission. So that the population can benefit from that as well."
Forests planting has become necessary to renovate them and contribute effectively to the ecological challenge that lies ahead. During our tour of this area, we were surprised by the existence of old houses of clay. Despite the harsh weather in the area, residents relied on mud as an essential material to build these houses Maybe it was because of their lack of means and their habit of mobility.
But, will solid houses prevent people from immigration and mobility? From a far, a ‘kasbah’ resembling a great ship that has been stuck between the river's curves. An abandoned structure placed on a rocky elevation, accessible via a narrow path. This ghost ship is nothing but the ‘Taferdouste’, situated halfway between the cities of ‘Boulmane’ and ‘Skoura M'daz’. This name is derived from the word "ferdaous فردوس" of Arabic origin, which means paradise or fertile valley to which the feminine prefix and suffix ‘t’ was added and become the word "Taferdouste" and thus enters the Amazigh dictionary. It is a castle which form with the mountain a single block. Its alleys are silent and its buildings are mute, except for this mosque, which was active and receives many worshippers.
Today, it has become a soulless village... a village mired in terrible silence... where time seems to come to an end. Its houses are empty and their rooms are vacant inhabited only by fear and stillness. Its walls still looks steady, although the materials used in its construction are simple and primitive, extracted from the same place: Stones... Clay... Straw and cedar wood.. This beautiful and picturesque village surrounded from three sides by the valley and a series of hills that make it difficult to reach and invade.
It is a major advantage for the population to protect them and their lands against every attacker. Below, there is a narrow bridge on the right bank of the valley, it is the single way leading up to this naturally fortified site. It is said that this bridge was built during the colonial period by a French army officer who fell in love with a village girl. to get to his mistress he ordered the construction of this bridge which remained a unique historical landmark.
With the advent of modernization and the appearance of cement and paved roads residents gradually abandoned their ancient village building more durable houses next to the roads, leaving behind remnants that tell of their once sophisticated and prosperous life. These mills remained a witness to a prosperous and glorious era, where the population excelled in crafts, traditional industries, trade and solid steady buildings. ‘Taferdouste's’ place in the deep and winding ‘Guigou’ Valley which is far from the main linking routes, and its location in the central part of the ‘Skoura’ hollow with its unique geomorphological features, gives the place great scientific significance coupled with additional aesthetic value.
This geographical location represents great potential that can be exploited in economic projects, associated with sustainable development outside traditional touristic circles. So ‘Taferdouste’ will be a cultural and natural heritage that attracts visitors interested in responsible ecotourism. On the banks of the ‘Guigou’ stream, a bird is wandering while frequently moving its tail it is : ‘Willie wagtail’ A bird that relies heavily on water, especially the flowing ones. ‘Willie wagtail’ birds build their nests along river courses and on hills and mountains both in dense forests and bare open areas. Outside the nesting season they can reach low areas including coastlines and estuaries, and they can be found on the banks of almost all types of aquatic habitats.
They roam over rocks and pebble-covered beaches and frequently visit aquatic sites to capture their preys. They are formed mainly from aquatic insects and their larvae small fish, tadpoles and many types of aquatic animals. Besides this type of birds there is another species: the ‘European serin’. It is the bird of Plains and small mountains and it likes to enjoy the sun that is why it is attracted to the southern regions.
It is not a forest bird nor it is found in farming areas. It looks for the semi-open places filled with lush trees and shrubs where it can nest, and for open spaces rich in grassy plants where it can feed. It announces its return from its migration with its usual buzz indicating that sunny days have come. The ‘Eurasian hoopoe’ a bird with a distinctive brown mane on the head with black and white spots. it is considered a friend of the peasants as he provides them with great services by cleaning the earth of larvae and worms On the same spot, the ‘Western Black-eared wheatear’ is found a bird of the fly-hunters species. It feeds on insects that it hunts between the rocks.
While on the ground it jumps more than it runs. It is a migratory bird that spends winters in the desertic savanna covered by acacia trees From ‘Taferdouste’ we come back to ‘Skoura’. A fascinating area with enormous and attractive natural credentials and rich ecosystems.
Consisting of a range of landscapes of exceptional beauty, and the cultural heritage that the population is trying to exploit and preserve by developing tourism in their own ways as is the case with Rachid's individual initiative. - "Is this waterfall water running all year round? - This water is always flowing all year round, summer and winter. Its source is the spring of ‘Taddoute’, which supplies this waterfall and two others.
The ‘Skoura’ area is known for three waterfalls including this waterfall. - Does it dries in summer? - It doesn't get dry all the year. I was visiting the area on holidays and then came the idea of turning the house into a tourist lodge to share these views with tourists There are Moroccan and foreign tourists.
I rely on some activities such as sports tourism, especially mountain tourism." Rachid welcomes visitors seeking comfort and tranquility and hosts them at his humble country house as a responsible professional host. Today, John and Helene come to visit Rachid and are impressed by his house, which is surrounded by the beauty of this charming environment. For Helene, this is her second trip to the place of which she was fascinated so she decided to return with John.
interview with Mr John Mattel / Tourist - It's the first time I visited Morocco. I arrived a day ago, and I was surprised by the richness of the scenery and the colors. There are a variety of stones. Red, white, greenery and a blue sky.
I'm here with my friend Helene, who knows the area. She had already visited here because she is working in Fez. She promised me a pleasant travel to this region, especially the generosity and hospitality of its people. I was lucky to visit an Amazigh house belonging to Mr. Ali's and his mother. Helene has programmed a visit to the underground houses.
And now I'm so eager for that. And I can't wait to find out how deep the place is and all that is beautiful in this region of Morocco. " Interview with Ms. Helene Dolorm when I was given the opportunity to visit Morocco at the end of January, I discovered this place of the ‘Middle Atlas’ ‘Skoura’ Region It's a beautiful place.
In this month of the year, the snow have already fallen. This is a suitable condition for hikers, to tour this town. Especially in the’ Tichoukte’ block, and there is also extremely beautiful waterfalls. Rachid's initiative to create this space, which he has dedicated to receive visitors, is a pioneering initiative.
And his way of arranging the site and his great ability to bring the rural style to places that tourists seek to visit, capture them with its simplicity and charm. Interview with Mr. Mohammed Alwaddahi / Tour Guide -" We're here in the dining hall of Rachid's house who came up with this smart idea, to incorporate the mountain and its rocks into this beautiful view and shape. As you can see, he took advantage of this rock coming out of the mountain and uses the materials available in the nearby forest.
to make this distinctive Amazigh ceiling which is supported by cedar pillars It's very simple but the idea is very good. - Do people of the area still live in the underground houses? - Anyway, in the past they used to inhabit caves when they got out, they tried to use the forest materials to build shelters. Then they used wool to make tents, like nomad tents.
After that they started to develop little by little until they reached the era of construction with stones and cement." Among the forms carved by erosion in this area there is the shape of a gorilla's head . It appears to be watching the place and blesses the initiatives of the villagers who seek to develop the area. Interview with Mr. Rachid Arahmat
People come from 'Skoura’ and from outside to this very place, to see a view that looks like a gorilla face. Which catch the attention of visitors to this place." If all these qualifications are properly developed and exploited, sustainable environmental tourism will inevitably be possible at the lowest cost. During this trip, we learned that a large festival will be held in ‘Ajdir’ under the slogan: "Amazigh cultural activities are an essential lever for the development of mountain areas".
To help recall the importance of mountain areas in preserving the historical aspect of the Amazigh language and the intangible heritage of the ‘Zayane’ tribes, and our belief in the importance of covering this festival, we moved to the place where its organized. The ‘Ajdir Izoran’ (Ajdir roots) Festival was characterized by featuring a range of cultural and artistic activities organized by civil society to promote Amazigh heritage through cultural, historical and civilizational dimensions. On the artistic level, more than 74 local and national folk bands performed different styles of ‘Ahidous’ dance. And the cavalry teams that came from all the neighboring tribes, proudly and prestigiously dressed, presented shows in equestrianism, In which they showed the role of knights in the resistance during the colonial era. A patch of exquisite mosaic comprising more than 28 groups each comprising 12 to 14 knights. This event highlights the uniqueness of the local culture and heritage, as well as all the expressive and natural aspects of ‘Khenifra’ region.
Translated by: Boujemaa Aboulaakel