Rif. Everyday Life of the Riffian People / Codzienne życie Rifenów

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After leaving Chefchaouen we continue to drive south, through the foothills of the Atlas mountains. Economically Rif  is most likely the most neglected region of the country. The Berber tribes living here engage mostly in breeding and agriculture. Harsh living conditions resulted in a big part of the 3 million population of Riffians being now scattered around Europe. For the kids who play football after school, the idol is Ibrahim Afellay, a Dutch midfielder, who originates from Rif and until very recently was a player of famous side FC Barcelona.

Those who stayed here try to make both ends meet through their hard work. It is not always legal though. Rif, thanks to the favorable climate and a perfect geographical location (proximity to Rabat and Spain) turns out to be a center for cannabis cultivation and marijuana production.

W drodze z Chefchaouen na południe Maroka przejeżdżamy przez tereny podgórza Atlasu. Rif to pod względem ekonomicznym chyba najbardziej zaniedbany region kraju. Żyjące tutaj plemiona, Berberów trudnią się przede wszystkim hodowlą i rolnictwem. Ciężkie warunki życia sprawiły, że spora część z ponad 3 milionowej populacja pochodzących stąd Rifenów rozsiana jest dzisiaj po Europie. Idolem dzieciaków grających po szkole w piłkę jest pochodzący stąd Ibrahim Afellay pomocnik reprezentacji Holandii i do niedawna piłkarz słynnej Barcelony.

Ci którzy zostali próbują ciężką pracą na roli wiązać koniec z końcem. Nie zawsze legalnie. Rif, ze względu na sprzyjający klimat oraz świetne położenie geograficzne (bliskość Rabatu oraz Hiszpanii) okazuje się być centrum uprawy konopi i produkcji marihuany.

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Forget about tractors, not much can be achieved without horses and donkeys here. / Zapomnijcie o traktorach, niewiele tutaj da się zrobić bez koni i osiołków.
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Those who do not live on the land engage in breeding, mostly sheep and cattle. / Ci, którzy nie uprawiają ziemi zajmują się hodowlą, głównie owiec i bydła.
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Children leaving the school after the lessons. Most of the Rif people are illiterate. There is hope in kids! / Dzieci wychodzące ze szkoły po lekcjach. Większość mieszkańców Rifu to analfabeci. W dzieciach nadzieja!

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A horse is a luxury. Most settle for a donkey. / Koń to luksus, większości musi wystarczyć osiołek.

The Berbers inhabited Rif already in the prehistoric times. In the year 710 the Kingdom of Nekor got established here and this is when the tribes were forced to convert into Islam. What is very interesting, not much later, in 859 Rif was conquered by… the Vikings who came here from the far Scandinavia on board of their 62 ships. They stayed for only 8 days though. Through centuries, the people of Rif were plagued with the fights and wars between the powers, which usurped the rights for the lands for themselves, among them: Spain, Portugal and France. The armed uprising of the joined tribes in the 20s of the XXth century was bloodily suppressed by the European forces. Eventually Rif became a part of independent. Morocco

Rif zamieszkany był przez Berberów już od czasów prehistorycznych. W 710 roku powstało tu królestwo Nekoru i to wtedy plemiona zmuszone zostały do przejścia na Islam. Co ciekawe, niedługo potem, bo w 859 roku Rif podbili… Wikingowie którzy przybyli tutaj z dalekiej Skandynawii na pokładzie 62 statków.Zostali jedynie 8 dni. Przez stulecia ludy Rifu nękane były walkami i wojnami pomiędzy mocarstwami, które uzurpowały sobie prawo do tych terenów, między innymi Hiszpanią, Portugalią i Francją. Zbrojne powstanie połączonych plemion w latach 20. XX w. zostało krwawo stłumione przez kraje europejskie. Rif stał się częścią Maroka gdy to uzyskało niepodległość.

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Women often work much harder than men around here. / Tutaj kobiety bardzo często pracują dużo ciężej od mężczyzn.

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A women taking water from a well. / Kobieta nabierająca wodę ze studni.

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Though some of the Riffians try to make the living of tourists, those do not come here in large numbers yet. / Choć część Rifenów stara się zarobić na turystach, tych wciąż przyjeżdża tutaj bardzo mało.

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57 thoughts on “Rif. Everyday Life of the Riffian People / Codzienne życie Rifenów

  1. This is so very interesting & educational. Thank you!
    Are those donkeys helping the people?
    This place, this world is very far away from mine. I am at some loss of words, but again, thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Resa! Yes! In Morocco donkeys are really doing all the hard work, goods transport mainly. But they also ride them like horses (remember Jesus?). I don’t think I’ve seen a single tractor in Rif. In truth, it is incredible how different this world is. I believe this is how my grand-grand parents lived. I guess Canada might have been a bit different than that.

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      1. Canada did at one time use animal labor. Of course, we have kept up with modernization.
        I feel sad, now, for animals. It was harsh enough when they died hitched to the plow…and humans, too.
        Now they are victims of “factory farms”.
        I wish the wold would embrace a vegetation based diet.
        Well, I make no judgement. I have only wishes.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You are very right about “factory farms”, it’s inhuman (or is it…) to treat animals in that way. I believe myself that humans are supposed to eat meat, as do other animals, yet it should all happen in mutual respect.

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  2. Fantastic, great to read about places that we don’t know much about yet. And yes not very touristy yet. Thanks for the write up, I’m going to look at Google earth now to see where this place actually is :-)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Such a harsh existence. It is so easy to take literacy for granted. In fact, to not fully appreciate so many of the privileges we enjoy in the first world countries. And yet, the survival skills, should I our technologies and economies fail us, reside in peoples like these. You’ve given me much to ponder.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Your pictures capture perfectly the hard life. I recall that once outside of the big cities and the tourist attractions then the reality of a harsh existence quickly reveals itself. I remember some very shabby towns and villages and a lot of poor people.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess it’s like that in many, many parts of the world. Even in Poland there are some rural areas where people are poor as mice. As for shabby towns, I don’t know whether you have seen the slums outside of Casablanca. Enormous…!

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  5. Another side of Morocco that we haven’t seen yet. I’m a country girl, so the fields and mountains appeal to me. Beautiful landscape and interesting history of outside influences. I love the smiling faces of the children :-)

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    1. We were “news” in the village. Not many people travel through Rif in their car, especially taking some backroads which we love to do. This is why the kids were interested to say “hi” ☺ They do seem very happy, it’s true!

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  6. Wow! I love this blog :-) I’ve always loved traveling but I spend much of my time traveling around India. I’ve never seen Europe through the lens you are using and what I see in the pictures seems spectacular :-) I think I’ll stick around and follow this space. Looking forward to updates. Do drop by my site to read light hearted articles inspired by everyday moments. Cheers…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi! Thank you for those words! I am glad you enjoy looking at other countries via my blog :-) You are most welcome to browse it and I would be very interested to see your comments as well :-) I have never been to India and obviously some time in the future I will need to fix that! Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh well you’ve got to make it to India… There is so much variety in terms of language and culture and topology that you’ll love it… The history is rich with amazing stories too! Plan a trip soon and get in touch if you’d like a guide ;-) cheers

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow, Peter Klopp was right in saying I would love your blog. He recommended it to me because of our common affiliation with Morocco.
    Glad to meet you in this blogosphere, I see we share a love for travels and of course, an interest in writing about Morocco where I spent most of my formative years.
    I shall have a good browse :)

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    1. Hi Ellie! So glad you have you here! Seems like you have had an amazing childhood, being raised in Morocco. Haven’t yet get time to read your Writer’s Caravan, though I have now followed it to make sure I keep up to date :-) Where have you lived exactly? (I wonder if I ever went there).
      I would be so curious to get your notes on my Moroccan posts since obviously my comments are very subjective. Thank you for your visit!

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