02/02/16 for me was just one of these days where dealing with the mundane hrira of getting out of bed in time and acting like a decent human being was too much to ask for. So I did what everyone does –or so do I hope- in days like this; I wore my pyjama pants to class and painfully survived through the day. Until around 4h30 PM where I had to go cover a conference organized by ENACTUS ISCAE. The conference started and it turned out to be the highlight of my day as I met one of the most inspiring Moroccan people I’ve ever met. The conference was themed “ Other than the touristy look, what does rural tourism leave to the local communities?” and had Allae Hammioui as a speaker.
When you ask Allae to introduce himself he says « i’m 33 years old, i’m someone that is very normal, that did his studies, got a job and everything conventional until the moment where I asked myself why did I follow this particular path? That is when I chose to take another path that empowers my human side because that’s something that is very dear to me.” When I underlined that it was revolutionary as an approach he retorted “ It’s not a revolution, it’s an evolution!”. Furthermore, Allae is envolved in a multitude of social projects; “Sbagha f zen9a”, “Café Créatif”, “Dakhla b ktab”, and the last but not least, Djebli club.
“Sbagha f zen9a” which translates to “ Street Painting/Painting in the street” is a project he initiated that “ brings art out of the galleries to the Moroccan Lambda that does not have access to it as he is afraid to walk into a gallery”. How does it work you ask? “we bring young artists that paint in the streets and we invite the passers-by -all of them, no matter what age, which profession, which statute…we really do not care! because we do not know them-; we bring them, we try to implicate them, we try to make them spend an afternoon far from the mundaneness, to initiate them to art as a discipline” because art, he says, is “ like food; you need to get a taste first for you to be hooked to it!”
As with “ Café Créatif “, we tried to gather people with different backgrounds who do not know each other a priori into heterogeneous groups over a cup of coffee in order to push them to collaborate.” He went on to explain that many are the projects that came out of this and actually made it, art projects especially. “ We believe that ‘kayen m3amen’ (=there are people that are worth it)! You just have to dare, to do! When you dare to do something, you do it and it works “. Allae criticizes the typical common retort -that implicitly illustrates a mindset- that the Moroccan pop culture inherited from a wildly successful Ramadanesque TV series character called ‘Kabour’ and that proves how big the impact of essentialism can be; “ Makayench m3amen “ = “ There are no people that are worth it”, and suggests that instead of ranting about not finding your people, maybe you should turn to the person right beside you and get to know them on a more deep level. Heard that, Kabour & co?
Allae also took part in the organization of “ Dakhla B Ktab” (=”Entry with a book”) a concept initiated by Marwan Naji, a friend of his. It consists in organizing concerts, Theatre plays, Slam cafés and anything performance wise and to have books as entry tickets. So you bring a book to be able to attend a show given by volunteer artists, and those books are gathered and sent to rural areas where libraries are created in order to democratize access to culture for people who would otherwise never have the chance to have books availble for them to read. As he explains it“ I want things to change in Morocco, but I do not believe in guns, I mentioned earlier ‘ If you want peace, go to war” but the said war according to me is implemented firstly, when every one of us does his best at implementing positive change from their own perspective at their own level and secondly, I think that culture is key, if we want to change something, I’m inclined to think that it all starts from the culture!”
As for Djebli Club, it’s a ecological collaborative project of a cultural, social, artistic platform and an auberge at the same time that Allae started with 0dh and the land his father had landed him back in his hometown Mokrisset, Chaouen. “ We are currently working on eco-building an inn in the mountains, somewhere far, not known tourism-wise, we aim to develop there responsible Tourism; Tourism that cherishes the culture and the human aspect as the “clients” are not obliged to pay their stay but in return they have to take a certain amount of time per day to animate workshops for the citizens of the region in their respective field of competency. It’s a collaborative project as everyone takes part in it; we learnt construction techniques by ourselves, the volunteers come from everywhere, the funding is collaborative as we worked by crowd funding…that’s the magical thing about this little project just really! “. He then added “ I’m into an approach that praises the human being, and coming back to the sources because we were like that before! Before, we would help each other! Before money, there was bartering; your neighbor has a knowhow in electricity matters, your other neighbor knows how to fix plumbing, and you, have construction skills : you three build a house together! It was as simple as that and with Djebli Club, we aim to come back to this! ”. When I asked Allae what he had to say to people that may think that this is some form of hippie inspired counter culture movement he stated “First of all, I love the hippie movement! But no I’m not a hippie. I’m not leaving everything to go pursue a hippie lifestyle, I’m not going there to play “ l’mejdoub” (= a sufi person that lives in autarchy), I’m going there to make a difference! “
As he was relating the journey of the Djebli Club, anecdote by anecdote, you could see genuine happiness in his face. “At first, we were 10 chic metropolitan folks lacking any kind of field-related skills, we started doing bricks; the first day we did 25 bricks, 70 the second day and 170 the third day! We were all excited and pumped! Some days later, we organized a “Tawaza”= a festivity where people come over to help you with some chore and in return you offer them food and you all have fun together. 4 people came from the town next door to help us that day. They did 800 bricks!!!! “
In the horizon of 10 years, he would love to see the concept of such inns sprout everywhere in Morocco as he stated that he is ready to give all the knowhow he has acquired so far to anyone willing to start a similar concept. “ it’s open source! “ he jokes.
The conference talk was about passive tourism versus active tourism and so to conclude, Allae asked the audience “Are you ready to change, can you give up on your “ solar panel”* holidays? “. Everyone agreed. Which of course does not mean that everyone will immediatly give up on their five stars hotel holiday but it will open up many to a reflection they never had thought of before which can only lead to positive results.
* = his terminology for a tanning-by-the-pool-in-a-5-stars-hotel kind of holiday
The BIDOU Q&A is a set of 10 standard questions going from some very basic fun ones to some pseudeo-deep ones that i will be asking my guests each time to get to know more about them in a light way.
Therefore, today’s Bidou-Q&A guest is Mr.Allae Hammioui.
Atay in the morning, 9ahwa in the evening!
The two do not especially appeal to me but i’m gonna choose bestilla as couscous for me is a concept that means nothing because, I eat to get hungry right afterward!
Enough ressources to make this project work!
Glass! It would be beautiful! Transparent glass! But none-slicing glass, something like little glass balls maybe? That would be so beautiful!
- Ali, my father.
- Naima, my mother.
- The song : https://goo.gl/fA3qFV
- Black. “ why black?” i asked. “ why not black!” he reponded.
The sum of experiences, a history, an exchange, humanism…learning endlessly !
What makes me happy is to see the human above all, and what makes me afraid is the opposite; when I see that there is no humanity!
Hum…construction! It’s not easy at all!
Vote for “Dkhla B ktab” in Morocco Web Awards!
link : http://goo.gl/voSKQ3
Wake up the human being in you, it will change everything!