Jeni Wang is an MBAs Without Borders Alumna who was placed in Morocco in the Fall of 2013 working as an Enterprise Development Specialist. Jeni graduated from New York University with a degree in French and History and a minor in Spanish. Jeni attended UCLA Anderson earning an MBA in Marketing and Brand Management and discovering the belief that doing well and doing good are not two mutually exclusive achievements. Here she shows the daily life of Moroccans through photos.
While living in Morocco for two months as an MBAs Without Borders Advisor last fall, I saw so many breathtaking vistas and interesting people. I have a natural curiosity about humanity, and so I like to observe people unnoticed. Some of my favorite photographs are taken from afar, capturing a quiet moment of an individual.
The general etiquette in Morocco is to ask permission prior to taking someone’s photograph. Some individuals refuse to have their photographs taken, adhering to a traditional belief that photographs imprison people’s souls. Others would oblige, usually accompanied by a demand for money, but these subjects never quite resumed to their natural state which is what I was looking for – the intrigue of life in motion. This is why in my photographs you see just as many backs as faces.
Here are some photographs that capture the simple, daily life in Morocco.
You’ve seen this woodworker from the Fez Medina before through my Tweets, Facebook album, and New Global Citizen article. He was one of my favorite people to talk to and photograph throughout my two months in Morocco.
A man lugs his kill to the local butcher in the Fez Medina.
One of the Fez Medina tannery workers spends all day thigh-deep in a vat filled with some malodorous concoction working leather.
Just outside of Fez, these women help sort olives from inedible parts like leaves and branches from the harvest.
A fisherman in Essaouira readies his nets.
In the coastal town of Essaouira (of Jimi Hendrix fame), these men take an interminable break. When I returned two hours later, they were still there, sitting in the shade, chatting away.
In the medina in the seaside town of Assilah, a girl carries dough atop her head to the local baker to bake in his oven.
Strolling through the oasis in Merzouga, Omar makes his living by providing tourists with Sahara desert experiences, complete with camel treks and sandboarding down sand dunes. He is one of the kindest people I met while in Morocco.
My camel trek guide, Ibrahim, takes a few moments of solitude between tending the camels and preparing dinner to enjoy a Saharan sunset.
Another Sahara Desert camel trek guide arrives after dusk with some extra camp supplies.
This man from Chefchaouen works on a loom that is hundreds of years old, weaving beautiful Berber rugs with intricate patterns.
In the mountains outside of Chefchaouen, a lone shepherd tends his flock from a distance.
Between the hustle and bustle there are moments of calm… moments of quiet lounging on stoops or sipping tea at a café.
This “critique of daily life” records the disintegration of the marriage of a young urban couple. The narrator, given to excessive drinking, retrospectively sketches a series of domestic clashes that highlight the nature of the conflicts between him and his wife, Wanda, and their unnamed child.
The narrator and his wife quarrel, sometimes violently and finally almost lethally, about various domestic matters, among them their child’s behavior, a game of chess, the narrator’s stinginess, and his abandonment of her. The father’s relationship with the child is marked by his irritation with the child’s requests, by his exasperation with the child’s behavior, and by his fury at the child’s inferences about his character.
In the final section, a separation has taken place, and the wife is visiting the narrator’s bachelor quarters. A round of friendly toasts to each other quickly degenerates into mutual recriminations, and Wanda pulls a large pistol from her bosom and fires at her husband. She misses and instead shatters the bottle of liquor on the mantel. The concluding scene shows the wife in Nanterre, France, studying Marxist sociology while the husband is at home, content with his favorite brand of scotch: “And I, I have my J&B. The J&B company keeps manufacturing it, case after case, year in and year out, and there is, I am told, no immediate danger of a dearth.”