Richesses du monde

History

I belong to the Chiadmi people who lives walking through the Berber mountains in the remote province of Essaouira in Morocco.

The douar Himimssa gathers all my family, its land and its history for generations.

Born in a humble farm, I remember when I was a little girl, barefoot, walking the herd in the vast pastures, with my donkey. I was in charge of going down the valley to fetch water from the well.

Back home, I used to help my grandmother to milk the cows and with some of the harvest, we used to beat butter in a terracotta gravel jar. It was an amazing taste !

There wasn't any school so I took care of the goats and the sheep and helped to do cooking.

The farmhouse was made of red mud, mixed with straw. During harsh winters, we used the animals to heat, and in the evening we lit up the place with candles and the flames always wavered with each great gesture my grandfather made while telling us his stories.

In the morning, we were awaken by the crowing of the rooster. We made bread dough, that we baked in a wood-fired terracotta oven.

Then we'd go to pick up our olives, which we brought to my uncle, The Haj. He was the only one to have a traditional olive press, driven by a camel.

During the summer, we also collected the fruits of the Argan tree, and I spent the whole days cracking nuts of the Argan tree with my aunts, passing the time singing. Then, Rhaa (stone mill) was used to extract oil from green almonds, in order to obtain the famous oil of Argan. We needed 100 kilos of Argan nuts to obtain one litre of oil of Argan. Work was long and difficult.

Raised by my grandfather for the first ten years of my life, I had my heart broken, when my father returned from France to take me back with him, I understood that I had to leave my grandfather and my village.

I didn't want to leave and I clung to a tree with all my might, thinking that nobody could tear me off.
It was with a deep sadness, that I joined my parents in a country which I did not know.

I grew up, between two cultures, two Worlds. France gave me a lot, including a birth date, but the only thing on my mind was to find back my roots, to see my grandfather again…

Since then, in my village, my grandfather was passed away, but the tree of my childhood has grown, and provides us with a golden liquid which we call Argan oil.

By continuing this tradition, I pay tribute to him and to his work so that I can make him feel that I have returned...