As the sun was setting behind the pass, we sat on the balcony of our room in a cozy guesthouse run by our friend and guide Mohamed. It is built on the hillside in the small Berber village of Ait Souka in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. The village cascaded down below us, layers upon layers of rooftops, supporting walls, and connecting steps. We watched families sort their harvest of walnuts on house roofs shaded by their laundry blowing in the light breeze. While we couldn’t see them, we could hear the livestock that live in the spaces underneath or right beside their homes. Many homes have been built over generations, with grandparents, parents, aunts, and uncles living in same house with a husband, wife, and their children. It was easy to see that all aspects of life in this village centered on the home.
Sadly, our vantage point above the town also gave us a view of the damage done by the recent earthquake. Cracks ran through roofs and supporting walls. Rudimentary repairs had been made in some places, if only to prevent an entire collapse. It was evident that many homes weren’t occupied. We could see tents tucked under trees beside empty houses. This is where many have been forced to live since the earthquake, not knowing if their house can be fixed or will have to be torn down. The government is promising a small stipend to families most in need, but that may not come for years. Many families in the area rely on tourism for their income, and so many visitors have cancelled because of the earthquake. It is uncertain how most of these family will be able to afford to repair or rebuild their home. We knew we had to help.
Just down the hill from where we stayed is the home of Rachid and his wife Rachida with their three children, Omar, Fatima, and Mohamed. They are currently living with neighbors because their house was too damaged by the earthquake to be repaired. They would like to build a new home near the village but have no financial means to do so. The cost to build the house is $8,000. Pack Paddle Ski has contributed $4,000, and we need your help to raise the remaining funds. Please consider supporting us in our effort to bring this family home.