Women of Morocco

 

Sunday September 11, 2011
It's no secret that my favorite thing to do when I travel is to meet the women of that country. I often ask permission to add their informal photo portrait to my international collection of wonderful females I've met along the way.

Our first Semester at Sea port was Morocco. I'd never been to this African destination and was truly excited. In anticipation I carried not only my point and shoot camera but a spare one as well.

Our tour bus stopped at a woman's cosmetic co-op. I don't speak Arabic but I do have a smattering of French (both official languages in Morocco). So, with some words and lots of gestures I tried to ask the women working on the informal assembly line if they would pose for me. No luck. To them I was just one more tiresome tourist with a camera and they ignored me completely.

Of course, I was disappointed and was about to move on when out of the corner of my eye I saw an older woman signaling to me alongside a very young girl. Grandma was in the process of moving a worn purple sack close to her and she directed her young granddaughter to sit on the makeshift pillow. It was obvious they were preparing for their 'close-up.' I quickly took the photo and congratulated myself on the fact that I would, at least, not leave empty handed.

However, Grandma must have been the co-op's unofficial leader because once I had taken that first shot some of the other women became curious and showed interest in the result of the mini photo-shoot. I guess they liked what they saw because, lo and behold, one by one they agreed to join the process. Our only communication was an exchange of tentative smiles and two words that bridged the cultural gap. 'Email?' 'Office?'

It was very clear to me. Grandma, her 11-yr. old granddaughter and Hotmail had saved the day.

Here are some of the lovely faces I captured at the co-op...

Finally, I thought it would be fun to introduce you to two more females I met as well. The first is an American student from Semester at Sea who travelled with me (I'm reflected in her sunglasses). The second is a little girl in a playground. Yes, her mom gave me permission to take the photo but the little girl made it very clear to me that she was not amused. I obediently put my camera away.

 

More photo essays...

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