Friday, May 9, 2008

Shjr n Zitoun Sale

We had our olive tree sale yesterday. I think we have a picture of each person receiving their two trees! We didn't get quite the outpouring we expected, so we are continuing the sale today. The Association members have been great – they completely ran the show yesterday and we kind of hung out and took it all in. The town has one machine that grinds their wheat into flour and it lives in a small house near our school. It is commonly known as the "Machina n Ali" around town. Ali is the man who runs and cares for the machine. We stored the trees and sold them from there. It was kind of surreal to sit in that room with the men from the association. We were sitting on flour sacks, some full and functioning as stools and others empty and laid out on the ground like a blanket. The Moroccan men were at one end of the room and we Americans and Hoda were at the other...not sure what the men were discussing but we were playing cats cradle with some string we found on the ground and generally shooting the breeze.
Everyone in the village seemed quite happy to have the olive trees. The trees are still very small and won't produce many olives for at least 5 or 6 years. When they mature, the olive harvest will supplement the income of the families in the village. I was amazed when I learned how many olives a tree makes in one year – its 40 kilos! Depending on olive prices, one tree could generate 500 Dh (approximately $70) per year. That might not sound like much, but it could buy school books for 3 or 4 children. This is sometimes a prohibiting cost that keeps families from sending all of their children (usually the girls stay home) to school.

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