By: Maria E. Luna Issue: Transformation Section: Collaboration Close Up
In Morocco, you will find rows of stucco townhouses, accented with mosaic entryways. This architecture is a common thread from Casablanca to Meknes and farther east to Sefrou, which is a city adjacent to the Middle Atlas Mountains. The townhomes are intertwined with neighborhood boutique shops. In all these cities you will notice entrepreneurship at the root of the Moroccan commerce system, as the majority of businesses are owned and operated by families. Of course this type of system comes with both negative and positive aspects, but that subject is for another article.
Located beyond the bordering mountain cities, into the Middle Atlas Mountain range, is the village I visited. It consists of seven homes built from stones and mortar. The village is named Tafert, now whether or not that is the official name I can’t say, but it’s what I was told by the Berber family that hosted my two-week stay in Morocco. To better pinpoint the location of Tafert, the nearest town is Imouzzer Marmoucha.
After leaving Imouzzer Marmoucha, a 30-minute drive will take you to an area starting out with rolling hills of slate rock. At that point is a path created by de-foresting machinery leading into the mountain range. One tent camp was set up for those who worked cutting down the trees. Most of the harvested trees were about four feet wide. About an hour’s walk into the mountain area you will find Tafert.
The eight-hour journey to Tafert was part of my vision—an opportunity to promote environmental and economic growth. I provided 30 Nokero solar light bulbs to the Berber village. Nokero solar light bulbs provide efficiency in that they promote clean and safe light compared to kerosene or propane lamps and will allow for re-allocation of the money spent on oil and propane. Plus they are just cool!
The Tafert village was established three generations ago, and little has changed since that time. Tafert is an off-grid community not only without electricity but without running water. I’d like to think providing Nokero solar light bulbs are the start of this community’s awareness that there are sustainable alternatives available. The impacts of this country’s growth are being made now. Committing to sustainability needs to happen at this time. Being ecologically minded is the proper way to engage with the Berber community as a whole. If you are interested in the rights of native populations, read the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Within time, the story of this community could be marked by ICOSA partners such as the Peace Corps, Goal Zero and the Paradigm Project. ICOSA and I are open to partnering in providing sustainability not only to Tafert—but globally.