An unusual old Medina
Trip Start May 01, 2001
44Trip End Jun 30, 2001
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Day 390: 5 hours, 4.7 kms
It's still a couple of hours before the sole bus that goes to Moulay Boazza, up in the "empty quarter" north of Khouribga(there’s only one bus a day) so I decide to go ahead and check out another town first: Boujniba, a decent size little town not far down the road.
Boujniba immediately strikes me as a clean, middle class town with a divided boulevard—which seems strange for this otherwise very poor part of the country
Heading back into town, following along a yellow wall, I come across an arched entrance. That seems strange… Boujniba doesn’t seem to be a historical type of town that would have an “Old Medina”… But I go inside, and sure enough… It’s an “Old Medina”… built by the French! There’s a plaque telling how the French mining company built this town for the Moroccan workers—and clearly wanted to make it in a quasi-traditional style that Moroccans would feel comfortable with—just like they built chalet style homes for the French workers in Khouribga.
I am immediately impressed by this concept… that the colonial French powers would make an effort to create a pleasant and attractive specifically for their Moroccan laborers
I wander through the quasi-medina, to it’s central square with a stately mosque and up and down its pleasant, straight alleys. All a bit faded, but still preserving a bit of its original charm. A couple of curious fellows call me over for a chat, and seem flattered that I like their town. It’s clear that, thanks to this mine, Boujniba has a prosperous air, in contrast with other towns in this area.
So were these workers being exploited or being blessed? Were the French robbing the land of its resources, or helping to develop it? I’m not really in a position to determine that. But I will have to say that my visit to Boujniba has made me question some of my previous assumptions.