Written by: Abderrahim – CorpsAfrica/Maroc Volunteer
Date: May 22, 2015
We live in differences and similarities. Even though we live in the same country, we have huge differences and similarities. Comparing my community or small village where I belong – which is located in the regions of Souss-Massa-Draa, Ouarzazate province – to my site where I am volunteering as CoprsAfrica/Maroc volunteer – in the region of Doukkala-Abda, Eljadida province. I found that these two regions are extremely different regarding to several elements including language, culture and lifestyle, even though some stories showed that the origins of the Doukkali people might be from Amazigh tribes. My focus will be on small areas inside in the regions.
Starting with similarities, both people of Doukkala-Abda and people of Souss-Massa-Draa regions have the same religion, which is Islam, yet I see it as less practiced in Doukkala, knowing that people of Souss are more conservative. In addition, there are numerous stories that tell people of both regions came originally from Amazigh tribes in the past years before Islam came to Morocco. As all human being they equally have the same life concerns as well as needs. Concerning social classes both sides have low, middle and high class but the majority of them are between low and middle classes.
Generally speaking, the difference between the two parts besides to my experiences, Doukkala Abda region first situated in west-central Morocco plus it is made up into four provinces; El Jadida, Sidi Bennour, Lyousofia and Safi province. While, Souss-Massa region made up into seven provinces including Tiznit, Taroudant, Sidi Ifni and Ouarzazate which is the door to the desert.
There are many elements that represent variations between Dokkala and Souss-Massa regions and especially between both urban areas of Eljadida and Ouarzazate province. First, the weather, it is mainly changes depending on the four seasons. In Ouarzazate province, it is not stable. It is often changes even during one season but what is common is that the weather gets very cold in the winter and very hot in the summer. In Eljadida province, toward my experience it is kind of stable even though it gets hot, but not even close to Ouarzazate.
Second, the culture, when it comes to culture I will not deny that every single group has its own culture and celebrate it in different ways than the other but what I observed, as much as people live together as much as they engaged culturally. People of Ouarzazate province and specifically targeting small areas are very rich culturally comparing to Eljadida. They celebrate every single opportunity they have for that including weddings, holidays, and other cultural days. I cannot be sure, but I have not yet observed celebrations in Doukala.
When it is about food, Dakala people are known to be consumers more than Soussies. People here where I volunteer consume a lot of food especially meat, bread and vegetables. Besides to language, it is very weird that these two regions have the same origins but definitely speak different languages. Ouarzazate people speak Tachelhit which is an Amazigh Moroccan dialect and Doukkala people speak another Moroccan dialect which is Darija.
Third, life style, it is obviously clear that Doukkala people live as individual families in contrast Ouarzazies live together and you can realize that through different angles for instance, Doukkalais build house far from each other. It is clear through my stay in three different douars or as it is known by Doukkali people live independently not inside families but in terms of the douar structure. You can obviously see that the villagers live separately. There is a huge space between houses or as they called them Lkhima. In the other side, people in the region of Ouarzazate live together and very close to each other. Regarding to various stories people live together for safety reasons. That was the only reason to protect themselves and their wealth. Not only that but also they used to have and some of them still have a big house called Eghrem, where they put all their wealth especially silver, weapons, dates, almonds and all kind of seed. These ethics made them support each other and share all what they have.
In addition to that, people in Eljadida farm separately moreover they use their own wells either for drinking or for agriculture. People in Ouarzazate regions often use only one well which gives all people water. For farming they mostly build a dam as it is in my town or share wells and use mountain streams. They usually separate into groups of families and everyone has a special day or days for irrigation.
People of Dokkala are known with farming as a result of living in plateaus. They generally farm seed including corn and barley, figs, pomegranates, melons, olives, papayas, watermelons, and grapes. The region of Souss-Massa is agriculturally diverse. If I am not wrong they farm major products Moroccan market known with. For example, you can find all kind of fruits, vegetables and oils including Argan which nowadays be the most looking cosmetic product for national and international visitors of Taroudant province. In addition, you can easily find saffron, almonds, dates, watermelon and rose in the provinces of Ouarzazate, Zagoura and Tinghir.
One big example that made me recognize the big difference is that people of Dokala go to the Souk (Week Market) individually. Everyone takes the Keruila (a traditional transport) and it can be a man or a woman. In the opposite, people of Ouarzazate regions and especially those who live in small douars go the souk every week together in a big car. They usually go in the early morning and come back in the afternoon while they get all their weekly need. Women do not go to the souk except their death of husbands. .