Peasant Autonomy
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Story 150

A hamlet in Central Morocco – 1999


for bigger picture click on this photo

(Photo: Ed Kimber)


“Oh my love, come back soon.” Aida sings softly a popular song, while she makes pancakes on the gas burner. She has to smile when she realises what she is singing. Of course M’barek will come back soon, where should he go otherwise? He said he would be back within a week, but he has already been gone for two weeks. I'm sure he will come soon.

M'barek, dressed up in his best clothes, had gone to the city to visit his nephew, to ask him for some money. At least, that is what he said. The bank was asking for short-term repayment of a loan. Otherwise, the bank will sell his land, which he had given as collateral. When M'barek obtained the loan, the bank director had promised him that he could repay it after the harvest. M'barek had signed the contract, although he barely can read. Now he has to repay the loan immediately. Obviously, the bank wants to take away his land.

for bigger picture click on this photo

(Photo: Pieter Edelman)


Ayoub enters the kitchen. He is happy that his mother is smiling. He knows that it is a worrisome time. Aida looks at Ayoub. How he has grown. He already has a small moustache, and some hair on his chin. He does a lot on the farm. He herds the sheep, and draws water. He also talks in a friendly way to grandpa who sits in a corner, mumbling, and he tries his best at reading and writing. Ayoub has Down syndrome. He is afraid to go to school, because the other children make fun of him. Aida has gone to talk to the teacher. He has promised to protect him.

M'barek is often angry with Ayoub. He cannot bear seeing that he is different than the other children. When Aida notices Ayoub examining her, she says: “Daddy will be back soon. I'm sure he has found a solution.” Ayoub smiles, reassured. “I am so happy with him,” Aida thinks, “he is such a good-natured, lovely boy.”


The movie Sweat Rain (2016), made by the Moroccan director Hakim Belabbes shows the life at a small farm, with its grief, its worries, and its happiness.

Go to:
= the next page: Reconciliation - Gobi Desert, Mongolia – 2003, story 151.
= the Table of contents, story 150.