My Ain Leuh Family – عائلتي في عين اللوح

I’d like to introduce you to Khadija, the treasurer of the cooperative and the woman I’ll be living with during my two months in Ain Leuh. She is completely committed to her work at the cooperative, which she joined in 1983 when she was just 12 years old. Every morning she makes the climb from the bottom of town to the cooperative, where she weaves at her loom or discusses business with the cooperative’s president.

Khadija kneads bread while lunch cooks on the stove.

Living in rural poverty, Khadija has faced a number of hardships throughout her life. Walking is difficult for her, even with a full leg brace and cane, and it’s a real physical challenge climbing the steps to the cooperative. Her young son died in her arms when he was 2 years old from an infection that was misdiagnosed by the town’s one doctor. Her husband lives in Azrou, the only place he could find a job, and comes home only once a week. Khadija is a very strong woman, though, and is warm and generous with her time and affection. She is also patient with my constant questions while I stumble over the new vocabulary of the region. I am lucky to be living and working with her.

Nadia is Khadija’s daughter, a typical sulky 17 year old. She is unlike most Moroccan girls I’ve met because her friends are all guys, she smokes cigarettes and has absolutely no interest in marriage or babies. We make the 20-minute walk to souq together every Wednesday, but she otherwise keeps me respectfully at a distance.

5-year-old Mehdi is full of energy and makes me laugh. He bursts into song and likes to dance during commercials. We became buddies when he noticed a picture of a samurai sword on the cover of Shogun, the book I’m currently reading. Most of the time he’s out playing with the neighborhood boys, but occasionally he’ll keep me company and tell me about the activities of the neighborhood dog, Cookie.

Mehdi enjoyed cherry season.

Mehdi and Cookie

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About Laura McAdams

Laura McAdams is a Master’s student at University of Pennsylvania studying International Educational Development. Her experience in the MENA region includes 15 months as a Fulbright student researcher to Fez and Ifrane, Morocco in 2010 and 2011. Her project was interested in understanding the disconnect between the policies of technology usage in education and the reality of how these policies unfold in the classroom. Summer 2012 she returned to the Middle Atlas mountains of Morocco to work with a women’s weaving cooperative. She is excited to learn more about other countries in the MENA region and issues involving education policy and reform, technology usage in curriculums and gender equality in education. One of Laura’s lifelong goals is to one day be able to sit down and leisurely read a newspaper in Arabic.
This entry was posted in Advocacy in Ain Leuh, Summer 2012. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to My Ain Leuh Family – عائلتي في عين اللوح

  1. Trudy says:

    This is the first time I have read your blog. Total enjoyment! Thank you for taking the time to write and share!

    • lauramcadams says:

      Hi Trudy! Thank you for reading the blog. The weavings done here are much more detailed and technically complex than the weavings done in Tarmilat. They have modern, metal looms and have benefited from government assistance in the past. Its been really fun to learn all about their craft.

  2. westerner54 says:

    What a great thing to be doing, Laura! So interesting.

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