Rabat resident makes room for felines


By Kiannah Sepeda-Miller

RABAT, Morocco — Several times each day, Mohammed Amine Hennaoui, 19, feeds a nameless cat and her three kittens by hand amid the hustle-bustle of his father’s construction supply store.

“The Prophet Mohammed tells us to care for cats,” Hennaoui said. “If you feed them, God will bless you.”

Cats abound in Rabat. Many do not have homes and some bear battle scars on their scrawny bodies. In the medina, Rabat’s ancient inner city where Hennaoui lives and works, there are cats on every street. They loiter outside stores, nap on car roofs and nibble on tossed fish, but the most fortunate are cared for by devoted cat lovers like Hennaoui.

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The Secret to Moroccan Cooking? It’s in the Pot



RABAT, Morocco – Authentic Moroccan cuisine begins and ends with one item: the tajine – a dish in which Moroccan meals are prepared, cooked and served.

“Any food you fancy, you [can] put it in [the] tajine,” said Chakib Benkhraba, 53, a Moroccan who now resides in London and has worked for several restaurants that cook with tajines.

Maybe more essential to a Moroccan home than the crockpot is to an American home, the tajine is also often found in Moroccan households, surrounded by a lively family like Benkhraba’s.

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Olive growth provides a sustainable way forward in Morocco

Olives are more than food for vendor Mohamed Filale – they are a way of earning a living. In 30 years of working at a fruit stand in Rabat, Filale has supported himself and his family by selling one of Morocco’s most popular foods.

“We live off of the olives,” he said.

This story is the same for numerous competing vendors lining the streets in Morocco’s “souks,” or markets. Olives are a staple in the Moroccan diet, and they are also one of the country’s most prominently exported items. But a serious problem looms: the World Bank projects water availability in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region could drop by 50 percent per capita by 2050.

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Morocco’s Mysterious Tradition


October 22, 2014

RABAT, Morocco — The early morning sun rose lazily over the towering walls of the old “medina,” or “city,” in Rabat, silhouetting the heaping bags of stale bread that decorated the labyrinthine of streets.

In a narrow alleyway, Fatima Boualam, 52, strolled to work, beaming with pride at the remnants scattered along the worn cobblestones. In her experience, these hard, discarded crusts are far from trash. Rather, they are evidence of a sacred tradition.

Boualam explained that it’s “haram,” meaning “sinful” in Arabic, to waste food – especially bread.

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Cheese and Camaraderie in Rabat’s Old Medina

By Zoe Hu

Photographs by Eloise Schieferdecker

RABAT, Morocco — They know when to expect him. Among the stuttering moped engines  and the rumbles of street-life in Rabat’s traditional medina, Abdelatif Reda’s customers wait.The small cart before them stands unmanned. Its owner, they speculate, must be out for his afternoon prayer. But Reda will return — as he has done for years, every day after 5 p.m. — to sell his homemade cheese.

Rabat’s medina is a pastel-washed huddle of squat shops and alleyways, fortified by walls that stand on 17th-century lines.

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