Dar Si Hmad for Development, Education and Culture is an independent nonprofit organization founded in 2010 promoting local culture and sustainable initiatives through education and the integration of scientific ingenuity in Southwest Morocco. We operate North Africa's largest fog harvesting project, providing villages with access to potable water. Our Water School and Girls' E-Learning Programs build capacity in the Anti-Atlas Mountains. Through our Ethnographic Field School, researchers and students engage with local communities in Agadir, Sidi Ifni, and the rural Aït Baamrane region for meaningful cross-cultural exchange.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The Closing of a Cycle

For these past three months, we have invited our readers and followers to meet and know of the personal experiences of the current Dar Si Hmad staff. Each person spoke of how their day is composed, what their challenges are and how they manage these challenges. As the co-founder of Dar Si Hmad and its director, I feel privileged to work with all these individuals and I especially treasure the fact we embody the spirit of civil society at its best. We believe in our mission of helping vulnerable communities learn and prosper; that is we are the bridge for the communities we service, from the villages in the Ait Baâmrane, the high-schoolers of Agadir or the University students, to gain from possibilities of growth that may not be easily accessible to them otherwise. As we prepare for our 10th anniversary in April 2020, we tally how many lives we have positively impacted and we feel proud, happy and yet humble. Humble because we have been trusted by these people who opened their lives and hearts for us. Happy and proud because the good work we have delivered has had a return. Students, volunteers, interns, community members all have given us the immense pleasure of infusing life and spirit into Dar Si Hmad mission. As we prepare for our next blog-series and for our continuing community-engagement, this is to the team of Dar Si Hmad and to everyone to have worked, learned, and supported our activities.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

From the Logbook: Employees of DSH Tell their Stories/ Hussein Soussan and Abderahman Nassiri, Respectively: Fog-Water Manager-Assistant, Driver and Technical Maintenance

 Both Abderahman and Hussein joined the organization in 2011, when we first started the initial building of the fog-collection project. We had a conversation this past 2019 spring during our annual retreat.  This is an abridged section from this exchange: 

 Abderahman Nassiri, Driver and Technical maintenance
Abderahman:  Some of the hardest moments of the fog collection project was in the beginning in July 2011 when we had to take up the building material to the top of the mountain. It was hot, the road extremely difficult and we were still discovering how to do the work
Hussein: Yes, it is true… it was a record year of heat and the work was very physically demanding. We also needed to get the truck on top of the mountain and remember how we simply could not do that because it was simply impossible
Abderahman:  Yes, I remember and how we ended up having to take down all the long steel pillars out of the truck and try to do that by walking to soon discover we really could not do that either; extremely heavy, hot and hard… and finally we had to ask for the donkeys from the villages to let us use them but they insisted that they have to be with their own donkeys for one, and second, most of the international volunteers disliked the idea
Hussein Soussan, Fog-Water Manager-Assisstant
Hussein:  It was very hard at this time, but we did succeed after a week of non-stop work to deliver all the material to the mountain and it is only after that we started building.  That too was difficult, the rocks were too hard to break and we could not make the necessary holes for the anchors. One time, the contractor said he wanted to use dynamite and the managing team refused. We were, though, able after a lot of physical work to finish the holes. 
Abderahman:  Each one of the program that we host at Dar Si Hmad comes with its set of challenges, but what is important is that we always talk and find the solution as a team.
Hussein:  I’ve worked in many places before joining Dar Si Hmad and this is what I always like and treasure in this experience: the ability to problem-solve together, for all of us to come together and consider what the best solution to a given problem is and then work towards adopting the solution. 

Monday, November 4, 2019

First month on the job: Juggling Moving-In and Starting Work

Written by Perry Demarche

Since I joined the Dar Si Hmad team one month ago, things have been hectic! In addition to moving to a new country, I have had to adjust to a completely new job. Through all this chaos, however, everyone in the office has been incredibly welcoming and helpful in teaching me the ropes.

When I first arrived in Agadir, I had to find an apartment, move-in, unpack, learn where to buy groceries and apartment necessities, meet my new neighbours and make new friends, explore a new city, and finish all the onboarding processes for work. So many colleagues helped make this a smooth transition for me by driving me to look at apartments, helping me acclimate to the office, teaching me about Dar Si Hmad, showing me around the city, and sharing delicious food with me.

I have also hit the ground running with work. Within my first few weeks, I have learned how to use all Dar Si Hmad’s internal software, created English content for various projects and our website, made all new flyers and forms for our programs, found new language students and teachers, worked with potential researchers, reviewed program materials and academic research, met our partners, applied to conferences, taken 10 hours of Darija lessons… and so much more! Work is always busy, but I have been loving every second. 

Balancing moving to a new country and starting a new job is a challenge, but everyone at the Dar Si Hmad office has been extremely welcoming and kind. We’ve already had quite a bit of fun as well, including eating welcome couscous, celebrating a birthday for one of our language students, and enjoying some Halloween treats. I can’t wait to see what the next few months bring!