The village of Sbaa Rouadi, outside of Fes, Morocco, is one of tradition and beauty. Photographer Emma Hohenstein shadowed the Issa family for a week. Nejwa Issa, third child of Hakeema and Mohammed Issa, is exactly what one would expect from a nine-year-old: boisterous, rowdy, and care-free. However, she deals with the challenges of societal and familial expectations of a young woman, on a daily basis. This series seeks to display both her enthusiasm and freedom, as well as the impending challenges of being a woman in Sbaa Rouadi and Morocco.
Portrait of a Moroccan Village
SBA ROUADI, MOROCCO – “My hair used to be beautiful,” Fatima Fathane laments, her wrinkled hands stroking long, wispy strawberry red locks tinged with grey as she sits on the sdader, Moroccan couch, of the one-bedroom concrete home. It’s just one more part of her life that is out of her control, one more thing taken away by years of stress and labor.
The house does not belong to Fathane, though it was built with her own money. That’s because, under Moroccan law, a house is the property of the husband.
By HANNAH REHAK Mountains outline the horizon, fruit trees freckle the expansive green fields, and cows graze along the dirt paths that run through the village. Reporting Morocco’s student journalists had the opportunity to immerse themselves in this environment during a weeklong home-stay excursion in Birta, a small village located outside of Fez. Our reporting assignment was to describe or photograph a person and a scene from the village. With a population of approximately 800 residents, Birta is a tight-knit community of families, farmers and vendors who work the land and routinely commute to the city.
By Lauren Kopchik
Photos by Rachel Woolf
Ahmed Lazar wears a suit to work, but he has no desk job.
Without even rolling up the sleeves of his dark brown jacket, he grabs a rusted shovel and forces it into the ground with wrinkled and hard-worked, yet startlingly clean hands.
“Bssla,” he says softly, pointing to the light green shoots sprouting about two inches from the soil, using the Darija term for chives. He smiles when he speaks directly to you, as if the warmth of the sun he works under each day uses him as a personal messenger.
By: FRANNY KRIEGER
SBAA ROUADI COMMUNE, Morocco – A charcoal rope wraps twice around her slender neck, snug enough to lift her filthy and faded dark hairs, but not tight enough to restrain her. Rosie lays upon the brown pavement, basking in a momentarily unclouded sky and allowing the loose skin of her recently pregnant belly to retire on the floor beside her. Her stomach swells pink surrounding her six black nipples, which are scarred and permanently protruded from the desperate suckling of her ten offspring. Her eyelids fall heavy, the warm sunshine sending her into a soothing day-time slumber.
By: FRANNY KRIEGER
SBAA ROUADI, Morocco – The deep blue sky appeared infinite, filled with glistening starlight and a soothing nighttime coolness. The quiet breeze brushed the cheek of every strand of grass, sending a sea of tall green swaying. A thick, clear plastic tarp smacked against the giant haystack it sheltered, making quick, pitter-patter sounds like a summer rain. This meditative nighttime melody was interrupted by the liberated sounds of Sbaa Rouadi’s restless farm animals.
Skinny dogs with a seemingly infinite number of offspring whined, whimpered and responded to distant barks.
BY: ELISE CAMPBELL
BIRTA, MOROCCO – Karim Zahrawi, 30, dug through a layer of dark, moist soil that gave in to the rounded edge of his shovel. When he reached a layer of golden brown shale, he grabbed his pickaxe to penetrate the new layer. As his soil-caked hands gripped the handle of the axe, salty beads of sweat from his sun-browned temples fell onto the nape of his navy blue cotton T-shirt. His worn leather shoes gathered new layers of dust as he inched his way deeper into the earth.
BY: ELISE CAMPBELL
BIRTA, MOROCCO – Dunia Chamoun sat in the warmth of the sun that cast a hazy glow through the dirty window. Her notebooks, worn by her fingers tracing the corners and words, sat on her lap. Since she dropped out of school seven years ago, at age 11, she’s spent the majority of her days inside the family’s small, clay-walled house.
After Chamoun’s father passed away, her older brothers decided to keep her at home in order to preserve her body, her beauty, and ultimately her reputation as a “good girl.” Despite her domestic isolation, she finds ways to express herself through writing.
By Rachel Woolf
A pair of wrinkled hands snapped open lima beans. One empty pod quickly joined a small mountain of peels, tossed next to a bright purple bag of lima beans.
Khayra Lafkire, rested her hands on top of the small white fur carpet before playfully hitting her great grandson, Mouad Lazar, with a pod.
Lafkire was sitting cross-legged in the center of a colorful chaos. Dim light spilt into the room from the kitchen, painting the orange and purple rugs with a yellow tint. As Lafkire continued her work, Mouad ran in circles, his feet slapping the rugs with each step.
By: SUSAN SKAZA
BIRTA, Morocco –
As the sun shone out of the clear blue sky and a cold breeze blew, Baba and Amina planted bsla, chives, one by one by one. In the arid, rocky, red soil, they planted the chives evenly at a relaxed speed. They moved with a sense of duty as well as harmony with their surroundings.
Baba turned up the cracked dirt with his hoe, while Amina pressed the chives into the ground, following the twists and turns of the prepared field. Using her index finger, she pushed the blades gently into the soil, highlighting the maze of rows.