Tag Archives: Peace Corps

Vestiges d’une eau de source

Hier avec un ami du Peace Corps, on allait filmer autour de la rivière Fès où elle entre dans la médina au niveau de R’cif. J’avais déjà filmé cet endroit où à coté de la rivière des petites eaux de sources coulent à travers des passages très anciens, qui alimenté à l’époque une fontaine peut-être ou bien qui étaient utilisées par des petits agriculteurs situés dans cette petite vallée.

Cette fois ci, on rencontre Rachid. Avec sa brouette rempli de bouteilles vides, il descend tous les jours à la recherche des eaux fraîches gratuites. Originaire de Fès, il m’a raconté sa jeunesse où l’on trouvait l’eau de source partout. Maintenant, vivant dans une maison sans eau de robinet avec dix-huit personnes, il trouve que même s’ils avaient une prise d’eau de robinet, elle serait trop cher.

D’une façon, cette rencontre montre l’importance des vestiges d’une eau de source qui, il était une fois, était beaucoup plus accessible aux gens de la médina. Aujourd’hui, la plupart des fontaines publiques dans la médina sont en ruine. La plupart des gens utilisent et paient pour l’eau de robinet. Les anciens canalisations d’eau de source sont dégradés et le débit d’eau est très bas comparé à ce qu’il était il y a une vingtaine d’années. Néanmoins, il y a toujours une partie de cette population urbaine qui dépendent sur “les eaux traditionnelles” et les petites sources. L’état de l’ancien réseau hydraulique en arrière plan, l’amélioration des réseaux modernes a pour mission toucher un maximum de la population en rendant l’eau de robinet plus accessible. Cependant, que feront-ils, les gens qui ne peuvent pas payer, quand il ne restera plus d’eau de source à Fès?

Whats left of Fez’s springs

Yesterday I went with Pearce Corps Volunteer Steven Kurvers to film an area where the Fez river enters the medina near R’cif. I had already filmed this place, where fresh spring water flows through medieval channels just alongside the river that at one time fed a fountain or perhaps brought water to small-scale farms that once littered the valley outside the medina of Fez.

This time, we met Rachid. With his wheelbarrow full of empty plastic water jugs, he goes there everyday in search of free fresh water. A native of Fez, he told me about his youth when spring water flowed freely throughout the old city. Now he lives with eighteen family members in a house with no running water, and he says that even if they had a intake valve on the house, tap water would be too expensive.

In a way, this meeting shows the importance of what is left of Fez’s spring water, which at one time was more accessible to the people of the Fez medina. Today most public fountains in the medina are in ruins. Most people pay for access to tap water from the municipality. The old water canals are degraded and the flow of water through them is much less than it was, say twenty years ago. Nonetheless, there are still people in the Fez medina who depend on “traditional water” and small springs despite the stress on these resources posed by overpopulation. With work on the old water system on the back burner, improvements to the modern water system aim to make tap water more accessible to more people. However, what will those who can not pay do when the springs dry up?

Photos by: Steven Kurvers
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Zawiya d’Ifrane: In search of Morocco’s freshest waters

As part of the film, I will be taking a look at the geography of the regions surrounding Fez. This is not only to contextualize Fez’s waters geologically, but to take a look at some smaller-scale water systems as well as rural installations providing for shepherds and small agricultural settlements.

With the help of Joe and Steven (pictured above), two Peace Corps. volunteers specializing in sustainable development and environmental science, I had the opporunity to spend three days hiking and camping in the hills and cedar forests surrounding the village of Zawiya d’Ifrane. Situated beneath a massive plateau, the village is sustained by the waterfalls cascading of the sheer rock face of said plateau. Further upstream (a long and strenuous hike away), the hills are covered in pines planted by the French and the native oaks until at an even higher altitude, one reaches the cedar forests – one of Morocco’s most beautiful and treasured natural resources.

While on the hike, Steven took us to a well capped by the French, he thinks, where the freshest and coldest water I’ve ever tasted gushes freely from beneath a massive rock. This well was not only our lifeblood during the hike, but it is vital to shepherds and a nearby (abandoned) cottage (also built by the French according to Steven).

We did manage to shoot some footage (I didn’t hike up 1700 ft. of rocky muddy terrain with a massive tripod on back for nothing!) on the hike, however, it will be exciting to go back to Zawiya to take a closer look at local use of these wells and rivers and their affect on life in the village. Today, Fez may have very little in common with Zawiya d’Ifrane, however they have similar, if anachronistic origins. At one time Fez was nothing more than a settlement for herders, lightly built up, and heavily reliant on the fresh water coursing down its hills from sources higher up. Shooting in Zawiya d’Ifrane will allow us to try and go back in time to discover how water was used before Fez was founded as the now-saintly city of Moulay Idriss II.

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UPDATE: New Promo, New Assistant Producer, Still no Camera

By now our kickstarter is looking quite sad. However, perhaps a new video in HD will make the art world out there want to give us money. We shot it on a DSLR too! Yeah… that will get em on our side… Special thanks to Michael Grieve from Agence Vu for letting me use his camera, and to Omar Chennafi for filming the oh-so-stylish walking shots of me in my neighborhood. Felt a bit “Vanguard-esque” when I was editing them… anyways, on to the video:

In other news, Joe Hollowell, a Peace Corps. worker and a sustainable development pro, has offered his hand in the research and production of the film. Joe will be joining me in Fez in the coming weeks, when we will start making our strategy for getting interviews, access to restricted areas, and all kinds of other cool filmmaker things.

Last for the day, but not least, my camcorder has once again failed to make it through APO mail. Third time is a charm inshallah.

All for now. Remember that time to help fund our production is ticking away.

Best from Fez

Joe

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