July 2013 Still Getting Things Started…Very Early Days on Loubar.
It’s funny, but the more I think of this project, the more I realise how similar it is to setting up refugee camps in emergencies, which I’ve done in Mozambique, Congo and Haiti…talk about transferring skills and knowledge!
Anyway, obviously the first thing you need, especially given the desperate heat, is water.
God it’s been roasting hot and the more time I spend with Fuddle or other Moroccans, the less chance there is to take a sneaky gulp of water during Ramadan! I’ve no idea how people manage it, but they do and I simply don’t, given half a chance (though not when in company) I’m off gulping…
In fact we’re pretty fortunate on the land as there’s plenty of water even now in July. Of course the well holds water and should it be dug down, has a pretty shallow water table. There are also two other wells that need to be dug, one right at the top of the land and the other much lower down. But today we’re connecting to the river that passes as one of the borders of the land.
Mind you, talking to Waafi, one of the neighbours, he questions digging wells when there is so much source water available to channel in to resevoirs…he may have a point…we’ll see!
There’s a source further up which everyone is connected to and which is drinking water, but in the current heat too far up the mountain to access.
This water will simply be good enough for the plants, washing and …in extremis…which is to say now…risky drinking…gulp…arhhhhhhhhhhhh.
Fuddle was most relieved to see this connection and advised that we place it over certain plants/gardens…
but he warned that pesky neighbours…by that he means Abdel Kadir…may hijack it for their own illicit ends….by which he means their marijuana plantations. And sure enough when I came back the next day, the hoses had been moved to AKs plants!!! I sense lines need to be drawn here!
What I most love of what is already on the land is the 200 or so trees that there are there.
Figs, pomegranate, apples, pears, vines, olives and more that I simply don’t know. All these are situated on the Xaouen side of the land, neighbouring the river.
However on the other side, bordered by a 700 year old mosque, there are few trees and a relatively steep slope.
Not wanting to run before I can walk, but I think that I need to terrace this area to make both access and usage easier.
Of course there is the not insignificant issue of access…how do you get enough rocks to the land….and of course finding a builder to help.
Now talking about rocks, no two rocks are the same and what we’ll need for terracing walls are Hijar Jebli or Mountain Rocks (which are the jagged ones on the left, as opposed to the smooth rounded Oued/river rocks on the right), which come in at about 400 dhs a lorry load (of course I was initially quoted 600 dhs…but hey ho…that’s par for the course) and apparently for each 40 metre wall I’ll need 10 lorry loads.
Now getting a builder should cost from 30 – 50 dhs a metre, though the first guy I tried quoted me 350 dhs! It would seem though that Fuddle and I may have found someone, but the first issue is getting the rocks to the land…I need a donkey…or three!
So it’s Ramadan and it’s ridiculously hot, so of course no one’s going to start labouring for you, not until after Ramadan.
But I really want to try to spend a night on the land before leaving for UK in a couple of weeks..so fuck it, I’m going to level this ground myself and set up a tent…and didn’t it almost bloody kill me..soft hands battling away with pick and shovel…and it’s hot…have I said that already….but I’m on a mission…will I make it…tbh…I’m not sure…it’s sooo hot!