The High Atlas Mountains are home to the Berber people, also known as Imazighen, who have lived here in mountain villages for thousands of years. We spent much of our time on this trip in the mountains, cycling and hiking, and caught a glimpse of these people with their unique culture and close communities. Like most of us, they do not care to have their photo taken, at least not without permission so I took few photos of the people we met.
Typically, each of the families in the villages, owns livestock such as a cow for milk, a donkey for plowing and farm labor, and sheep for wool and meat. One day we hiked near a young sheep herder with his flock grazing on the side of a mountain. I noticed that he was petting and scratching the head and ears of one of his sheep as if it were a dog. After a few minutes, he returned the sheep to the herd with a gentle pat. Later, we ate a picnic lunch in the nearby village and a few feet away from us, a mother and her children tended their cow. The woman held the cow on a tether, walking with it as it grazed next to a terraced garden. I watched her pet the cow’s back as they moved along. I am sure that neither of these villagers viewed their animals as pets, or gave them a name, but what I saw showed that they treated their animals with care and respect. The images of the sheep herder and mother with her cow, even though I could not capture them by photograph, are warm memories of this day for me.