The following is an assesment written by a local community leader. He wrote this in response to my community health assesment, which has been posted in these pages. Sorry about the quality of the writing. The man wrote the assesment in Arabic and I had it translated. I didnt know if the mistakes were made by the writer or the translator, so I didnt want to change them.
The Communes of both Agoudim and Anemzi are situated not only in the south-west side of Khenifra’s region, but also in the east of both Tounfite and Titawin’s Commune and in the west of Beni Milal and Errachidia in the south. Its location in this place has made life very hard because of the weather, which is very cold throughout the year.
Most of the places here, in Agoudim and Anemzi, are in between mountains, surrounded by very huge forests. The later consists of many kinds of tress such as oak trees, cedar, and other kinds. According to statistics from 1999, its area exceeds more than 18,243 HA. The forest here plays an important role since it captures and provides raw materials for many man-made activities, and it helps in creating job opportunities for many people, without forgetting the huge income that is brought to the Commune. If we are to read its role from the ecological point of view, we find that it keeps the weather normal, it stops erosion, and it facilitates the penetration of rain to the underground. It also provides the inhabitants with firewood.
The importance of the forest is not limited to only human activities, but it extends to cover animals such as camels, pigs, wild and domestic rabbits, doves, and eagles.
The region is known by its hard weather that causes it many problems, especially in both spring and autumn. Snows, storms, and floods turn the life of the inhabitants upside down because it destroys their harvest, roads, and isolates them from other regions for many days if not months. As for people here, they’re ignorant; they don’t know how to read or write and they speak Tamazight. They make poetry and songs with it and many singers and poets are famous despite the isolation and marginalization of their culture.
As for the historical monuments of this land, people celebrated an annual feast of a battle that took a name of a place called Tazizawt in which many of the jihadist members of this city died to defend their homeland and to spread freedom.
This place has many roads for Moroccan and non-Moroccan tourists from all over the world. The Limsef road is between Agoudim and Errachidia. The Boulalou road exists in AlMasker and it is used mostly by sheppards to climb down and bring water.
Back to the activities of the people here: they depend on farming as a main source of income in which they still use very traditional methods that automatically influence their annual harvest. Also they used to plant wheat and barley in waterless and sterile fields while potatoes and crops in fertile fields.
Concerning sheep, they are very influenced by the place or by the weather. Shepherds used to bring them to the top of mountains to cut them branches of trees because the prices are very expensive and in the winter they used to rent lands in warm areas in the desert.
Shepherds are not satisfied, but they have nothing to do. They don’t know a rest, they don’t fear warm or cold. They always look for herds. Fathers and sons strive hard, but the annual income is determined by the rain and the market demands.
The rural woman is a hero in all the activities thanks to her participation not only in the household affairs, but also outside of the home. She aides her husband in performing many activities such as farming, milking, bringing firewood (even on her back), preparing fod, embroidering, weaving, taking care of the children, and making clothes. All these remain without value since they don’t have a market for marketing their products.
The rural girl is educated and taken care of by her mother until marriage. She is not allowed to pursue her studies because of conventional and traditional reasons. Her role in the family is similar to her mom’s since she participates in all the activities inside or outside the home.
If you like to give a definition to poverty here you will be puzzled since it is not only limited to the low-income of a person, but includes many sore and bad facts of society such as: societal integration, illiteracy, employment of children, unemployment, malnutrition, and specific illnesses. All this is back to many things the government must strive hard to fight since the development of rural areas is neither words on paper, nor is it false promises, but following words with actions.
We cannot talk about problems of this are without mentioning the problem of education, which is embodied in the over-crowded classrooms, in addition to the usual absence of teachers, with false certificates under the pretext of illness to justify his absence.
As for health care, it is horrible to write of some of the causes among many. If the previous kings Hassan II and Mohammed V were still with Mohammed VI measuring the capital of a nation with the citizens health, we are sorry to say that things are not taken into consideration by the government since we still find problems such as the absence of nurses and ambulances, along with the shortage of medicine.
Most people question why the inauguration of roads and administration buildings didn’t help to solve problems and put an end to the segregation the people live in. It is simply because the government members don’t take into consideration the criteria of weather and the total absence of control and the main example of this is the center of diverse specialities in Agoudim. Also the Commune doesn’t hold matters as it should do since it was given the responsibility of rural development.
More than that, the Commune doesn’t respect the deals signed with health care programs, education, and environment and instead they are concerned only with furnishing administration buildings with very rich cars, chairs, and computers and desks, which really and truly hint an answer at many unanswerable questions, but people still look for answers in the street.
Your report depends on the confessions of employees of this area and members of local authority and the confessions aspire to cover up and put a veil on facts of deteriorated conditions of the citizens.
The daily life and the sufferings of people say the reverse. And here lies your job: to compare what is fact and what is not. Hoping you take note about your standpoint.
In brief, what was presented to you as civilian society was not enough.
My water project looks like it is going to happen, which is exciting. Also, tomorrow another volunteer and I are meeting with someone in a prostitution town to talk about doing STI education. Exciting. Hope all is well