I love learning about new cultures. Everything about them. The music, the food, the art, the lifestyle and the people.
So when we passed by a tent in the middle of a field in central Morocco, our guide explained that it belonged to a nomadic family. He then went to explain that two types of nomads exist: trans-human and semi-transhuman. After asking our guide about a million times if he were sure they were called “semi-transhuman”, we finally let him explain the two types. Transhumans have only a few belongings and migrate regularly while semi-transhumans move for a few months of the year to graze their animals, but often have a permanent location.
So, one Sunday morning a group of us got up early set off on a hike through the Gorge and up into the mountains where we had tea with a nomadic family, of the semi-transhuman sort. Set on rocky, desert-like conditions, the family had a large tent where they prepared us tea and we sat in the “living room” while roosters and baby goats wandered around us and their youngest child Yusef entertained us. Across from the main tent were smaller areas housing ovens and space for other belongings.
Like most children, Yusef enjoyed climbing on us, playing catch and just doing silly things to make us laugh. Like a good shepherd in training, he took good care of the baby goats running nearby. His early-teenage brother and sister were up in the mountains for the summer shepherding the goats.
To survive, the family takes their goods to the village to sell. What exactly would they sell you ask? Well, while we were visiting, the mother was spinning wool by hand. The goats would be sold as well.
At 44, the mother is expecting another child. When I tried to explain that North Americans are told this is unhealthy, our guide was appalled at such “facts”. I might add, the father is 76.