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***Antropologist student in my village ***

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Nadine Kliffen!
Sweltering sandstorms , blue robes , camels and gallons of sweet tea : My life for the next few months . Or not?
At the edge of the desert , in southeast Morocco , people live whose ancestors were Bedouins . I am going to examine how they view their " Bedouin are . Still these people see themselves as nomads , though not pull them around ? They wear blue robes also daily or just for tourists ? Through this blog I share my desert life . And maybe this life less " traditional " than I suspect ...
Blog : The past in the present
Posted on April 3, 2013
Distance makes room for reflection. Now I 'm back in the Netherlands , I have more space in my head to look at my experiences in Tiharien back. How it works , right? Thinking back to the moments in the small village in the desert , I feel that those memories are not mine . As if the film clips that I have watched . From the couch And yet I have to look to realize that I have lived. Really on the edge of the Sahara only to my colored by henna fingernails
Although I had all week to say goodbye to prepare , yet it came quickly and unexpectedly . One moment I was having tea with the sister of my host mother , the next moment I was on the bus that always brought me further away from Merzouga . The image of my emotional host family lingered in my mind and it took quite a few miles before the knot was less in my stomach .
That knot was caused not only by a sense of lack . My gut told me that I left my host family in the lurch , and they put out as easily as I could not pull in the world. When sister Zahra had made that I had to come back with my family , I realized for the umpteenth time, I wanted to give her the same hospitality and said she was always welcome in my house . Knowing that the chance that I may receive her in the Netherlands is very small.
Though far trips usually is not possible ( yet ) , there is the recent decades much has changed in the lifestyle of the people in Southeastern Morocco. As I wrote in my previous blog , many nomads settled in villages with electricity and running water . Instead of whole days to spend preparing food and livestock herding , there is now more time for relaxation. Often times when the television and , in the case of younger men , on the Internet. The over the barren plains around ripping mopeds show that donkeys have a less important role , they are now mostly pets that are occasionally put to work , instead of the regular transport of people, food and equipment .
Yet there is still much the same as in the nomadic life . Baking bread in clay ovens , weaving rugs and the value attached to wedding celebrations are some examples. But the belief in natural medicines , seems larger than trust in hospitals. The relationship with the natural environment inspired me , living in Tiharien will largely take place outdoors and nature provides people directly of essential materials , such as wood . But this also changes, for example by the use of gas cylinders and by building of cement in place of natural materials. Homes However, it is now fashionable to treat , while 20 years ago, brightly colored stucco walls were found . Beautify the interior walls with a mixture of hay and small
One aspect of both the present and the past is that the preparation of food , the main task of the women . When I tell people in the Netherlands that bread is baked there every day - without a bread maker - and that making couscous takes hours instead of the five minutes we devote to this is often not fully understood . Why go to all that trouble when you can fast? If I then explain that much value is attached to Tiharien slow cooked food , because it's the time is what makes it healthy and delicious , I realize that I understand this vision . And this understanding, along with my colored fingernails , makes me realize that I have lived . Really in a desert village
Blog : The hard side of the Sahara
Posted on March 11, 2013
For my research I swim regularly in the role of a tourist. Since many tourists visit Merzouga to spend one or more nights in the sand dunes , I should be too . And every time I wake in the oasis by dozens of birds and the immense quiet of the dawn experience , I realize how lucky I am to be there. Only the wilderness is not always friendly to its visitors and residents. As many have told me , it is mainly the wind that makes the nomadic life so hard .
Last week I hardness Sahara itself may experience . Along with studiegenootje Najat and her friend , I went for a day in the dunes to have lunch in the oasis . The weather forecast was not very promising , but adapted to the thought of here , I did not want too much trust . Really wind is not here often . During the more than two months I stay here regularly stood a light , pleasant wind , and there was once a small sandstorm . The morning breeze was quite conscious , but we decided not to let this stop us , accompanied by two camels and the brother of Ahmed pulled the three city girls in the dunes .
In this arid region , rain is not a negative but a victory . And when the wind furiously pulling on your body , sand in your clothes and throws makes it nearly impossible to see , you are very happy with every drop of rain that the sand fly up doing less. Because there were the poor visibility hardly landmarks we almost got lost. Eventually , with stinging eyes and tired bodies , after a walk of more than three hours in the oasis . We arrived Lunch we could hardly enjoy , the jerking our tent wind made ​​sure to retreat too big.
This oasis is a green spot in the middle of the dunes ' Erg Chebbi "and consists of several camps for tourists . As Ahmed told , this oasis was formerly occupied by families. Often the desert gives me a null and liberating feeling , it is a place where I find peace . That void was there now , but instead of being liberated , I felt trapped and threatened me by nature . Fortunately we had a place to go back to , a comfortable house with a hot shower , a bed and good food . The nomads of the past had no choice and were delivered each day to the whims of Mother Nature . Their main business pursuits , prepare food and livestock herding , happened outdoors and were impossible in a sandstorm . The only option for them was to wait in the cramped tent and the whole family live off savings dates.
Fewer and fewer people lead a nomadic existence , thus villages like Merzouga and Tiharien grow rapidly . An important reason for this is the climate becoming drier , resulting in a shortage of green places ' and therefore too little food for sheep , goats and camels , cattle while the means of subsistence for nomads . But there are more reasons to settle . As escaped the ' hard life ' , which is never enough to eat , and the wind is your worst enemy . Now I have watched this enemy himself in the eyes , I understand the need to give much better. Free nomadic life
How our harsh desert trip ended ? The retreat from the oasis was more rain and thus with less sand and better visibility . In the village we were welcomed by the anxious family with blankets . After a refreshing shower followed by a festive meal of couscous , we watched with stinging eyes pride on this adventure .
Blog : Homemade bread and sand dune chats
Posted on February 16, 2013
My previous blogs were mainly about getting used to living in Tiharien and how it is for me to do . Research in a small town Another world , as I described it . But what does this "world" look like? What do people do here , day in, day out ?
In the five weeks that I now live in Tiharien , I've got a picture of village life , and especially to be with my family together. To be honest, my day usually starts later theirs. When I joined them breakfast, with bread from the previous day , olive oil , olives and tea. Then the youngest children go to school , start the eldest daughter and mother Fatima with the housework and Hassan 's father to work , provided he has work for that day.
Find work in the area of Merzouga is not easy . With few exceptions , the younger men working in tourism . This means that for some, a job in a hotel , but for many individual jobs as a guide or camel boy . These jobs are very seasonal , after the peak around the turn of the year was very quiet in January , but is now working again and the season starts in March . But also indirectly provide tourists for work, as a friend of Ahmed , who has taught himself computer skills and include made ​​Ahmed 's new website . Hassan , my host father works in construction , as many older men in the area .
The daily activities of women are not dependent on available work. Their life is a daily routine of baking bread , washing ( without machine) , cleaning and preparing food. Bread is hand baked in a traditional wood-fired clay . In the house of the family Amraoui this is the task of Zahra . She is the eldest daughter , 23 years old , but not yet married , what her younger sister Khadisja is. Early in the morning the dough is mixed and kneaded for the first time , after which it will have time to rise . Then the second time kneaded and divided into equal balls , and each ball is rolled into a flat round surface , similar to a great pizza crust . After the dough has risen a second time, it goes into the oven space , a separate area outside the house . Some households have their own oven , share the space .
For me, the party and the ladies actually make 'pizza' . This can be made from bread dough or any other dough , which after baking in oil resembles the Dutch pancake. This delicacy they call " Berber pizza ' ( or more specifically pizza Ishelhien " as Berbers in this region call themselves ) . What makes the pizza , the chopped vegetables to be stopped in the dough. If I come a little later than planned from my bed , it's a delicious nutritious breakfast.
Around half past two , it's time for lunch . This meal was the same every day , potato, carrot, onion , tomato and meat cooked with oil in a pressure cooker . We eat this while sitting around the low round table in the living room , where the freshly baked bread is our cutlery. If all table companions have eaten enough vegetables , distributes or Fatima Zahara flesh : everyone gets its own heap , and who is absent is meat preserved. Both lunch and dinner will conclude with fruit , one part apple, orange or tangerine .
Making bread takes a lot of time every day to complete. It is not that there is no bread for sale in the neighborhood , like the homemade bread is what is achieved in the store . But the bread from home is like Ahmed says ' more strong ' . It seems like bread , and preparation is important for the people in the area, it is more than a food source . Some of the women from the village gave to the preparation of the bread to show , if that were to come . Visiting them to tourists
One afternoon Fatima Zahara and asked me if I wanted to accompany her to the dunes . Their Together we walked the few hundred meters from the village to the edge of Erg Chebbi dunes which takes tourists to the region . Zahara with crocheting in her hand , while she and her mother taught me new words . The dunes is the place for women (and some men , but they gather in the village) to relax at the end of the day . If the wind is calm , you also see a lot of groups of women and children sitting on the golden sand hills . The three of us sat a while to ' chat ' , including the special Lithuanian tourists who stayed in their guesthouse at that time , when Fatima 's sister called us from a nearby dune . We joined her and her children , until the sun had gone down behind the village and an impressive red - purple glow left .
That night we ate fresh sardines , which several times per week peer visbusje be charged. To the villages in the area No ' traditional ' times perhaps, but quite tasty. Unlike lunch, dinner each day is different , for example, soup, couscous , salad , omelet or tagine. A few days ago I evening stew made ​​, mainly because I wanted to cook . Again for the family Because I have not had much chance to help with preparing meals . Would rather my dear host family that I eat a lot and am healthy and happy . And they do their best to hard .
Blog : modern fieldwork
Posted on January 26, 2013
Some of my fellow anthropologists - in-training has told me that I'm doing the 'real ' old-fashioned fieldwork . The type of research that our anthropological heroes 100 years ago did. Although I understood what they were referring to departure , that I went to live among the people in a small village , I research and not in a big , dynamic city , I really did not contain what this choice would mean for my daily life .
Anthropologists nowadays they focus on much more than 'exotic' lifestyles in ' undiscovered ' places . So are my classmates include Johannesburg , New York , Amsterdam and the Dutch countryside. Also my research place is far from closed : tourists , television , internet and education are important to everyday life in Tiharien . And yet ... I somseen little jealous of my colleagues who do research in bustling cities .
Last week I was myself in Rabat , the capital , to speak to other researchers and to get away from the big life change that I have experienced . Equally at Because much of value in what I do have ( such as theaters , cinemas , supermarkets full of food, a warm home and friends and family) at home in Utrecht, I in Tiharien not . Rabat is no Utrecht , but life there comes a lot closer to the life I know best.
My laundry for Amraoui house especially the differences in social life were confronting. Because although Ahmed 's always there for me , making conversations with the same person , day in and day out , a little lonely . Plus you in several ways depending on him , which I 'm definitely not used as Holland . Of course, a newcomer , whether in town or in a remote village , generally not busy social life . Many of my classmates have undoubtedly had lonely moments . Perhaps precisely those who do field work in big cities , as you are in a village often easier than making contact in a metropolis. But contact is not the same as a call.
The first moments in Rabat were thus a relief . This made me a little scared , what if I went to my ' remote ' research place back reluctantly ? But now I 'm back again to Tiharien , I find the comfort and well-known of the city has to go . Again to that unknown world to me right new energy I realize how special I am living there . That this life is sometimes complex , uncomfortable and elusive to me is what makes it special.
Dressed in cultural heritage, yet I 'm far from the same work as the anthropologists of 100 years ago . It is traveling twelve hours , but if I want I'm in a day in a bustling city . At any time of the day I can call people in the Netherlands . And perhaps the biggest difference : in a small village at the edge of the Sahara is internet. My research is not comparable with the work of Margaret Mead , an American anthropologist who in 1930 conducted research on " undiscovered " islands in the Pacific. She had no internet , telephone , or daily bus service to a city. That's all it is part of life in Tiharien makes my research more interesting . And my daily life a little more comfortable .
Blog : Lost in the desert
Posted on January 11, 2013
After a twelve -hour bus trip through the Atlas Mountains and lonely plains I set foot in Merzouga . It was already dark , but I recognized Ahmed Amraoui directly . From previous visits to this place , I have come to know as a tourist guide him. He will be an important person for me the next few months , both in my research and daily gossip .
It's weird after months of planning, designing and dreams to be Tiharien wake : a village on the edge of the Sahara , with only 200 inhabitants . Here people live in a different world than I know. And to ask questions about their world, I can not , because we do not speak the same language . The first days I also woke up with a vague feeling . What do I do? I will do good research here ?
But obviously I arose myself despite these thoughts every day bed . I had breakfast in the sun , spoke to Ahmed about the plans for that day . I walked , took pictures , visited surrounding villages and ate with the Amraoui family. I observed the daily life with the eyes of a newcomer. In the evening I wrote with a thick winter coat and stiff fingers , the new impressions .
I do write a lot , but I notice that my eyes already changed . Although I am still an outsider , I start to get used to village life slowly. The cordiality of Amraoui family makes sure I eat with them with pleasure . And we can share a few words , surprisingly, not a barrier to ease to feel.
Still , I often feel like wandering . Wandering in my research , my attitude towards people , in collaboration with Ahmed . Still, I do not wake up with that indefinable feeling . Earlier, a curiosity about what the new day will bring . I would like to digress a little further in this world .

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