It’s Festival time in Ribat El Kheir! The Tamazight tents are up and Adwal’s product exhibit is completed. Friends came in all weekend to share in the festivities. Never seen so many people in Ribat El Kheir as there were last night for the entertainment, folklore and hadeus (traditional Berber dancing and singing). Great to see all the support for the Festival-feeling proud of my town-civic pride!
Meanwhile, I’m also on a bit of a high as I see signs of skill transfer in Adwal’s activities. Zahara and Fatima have approached 2 of the newer, young members to start taking on some responsibility for the business of the Coop. Nora has been asked to go to the workshops w/Fatima in October in Fes. Nora and Ferida have been given the responsibility for the exhibit booth through the entire Festival and they’ve been working it hard. They did a terrific job setting up the booth/product display. Mbruk! Zahra told me when I asked her about this recent development, she said, “Fatima and I can’t continue to do it all, right?” Right! This is a new concept for them that I’ve been talking to them about to build Coop sustainability and I’m so excited for them. Then, I see that Fatima has printed up the business cards and brochures I’ve made so they’re available at the Festival exhibit. Yipee!! If my work is to be sustainable, they have to be sufficiently motivated to take action themselves. And they have. Feelin’ pretty good about that. Delighted to see the crowd around their booth all weekend, making purchases-even if it’s for the lower priced fabrics.
Interestingly enough, there were only 4 other exhibit tents at the Festival. I was hoping that I’d find out about other artisans in REK through their exhibits, maybe additional Coops or Assns that I could also work with. But it was Adwal, the embroidery Neddi, a honey Coop and 2 other artisan Assns from out of town exhibiting. That was it for the entire festival-pretty surprising, given the crowd. Maybe next year I can encourage them to open it up to other artisans and have a small fee to exhibit, giving REK another revenue source and another reason for people to hang around the Festival. Inshallah.
Meanwhile I’ve thoroughly enjoyed staying in town for an entire week. Feeling so rested, despite the heat. Have enjoyed having others visit, taking chairs up to the roof-top deck each evening, discreetly drinking our wine (that they bring here-can’t be bought in my town), watching shooting stars, catching the cooling breeze and talking to all hours of the night. More friends coming in town tomorrow for a couple days. Life is good.