The Washerwomen of Chefchaouen
Just outside the walls of the Medina a spring, Ras Al Ma, gushes from the side of a hill and flows down the wadi. Further downstream just past the bridge that leads up to Bab Onsar, local women come everyday to do the family’s laundry. Special wash rooms have been built, one on each bank of the Oued el Kebir river.
There they chat, sing and joke amongst themselves while carrying out their tasks. everything gets washed from clothes to carpets. The wash rooms have built in stone washboards and basins for rinsing the clothes.
Carpets are actually taken into the river and opened out for soaking and then taken to a large concrete floor where they are scrubbed with soap and then rinsed again before being hung on the railings above to dry.
The water supply to the wash rooms comes from purpose built channels that divert the water from the river, after it has turned the flour mills, through the wash rooms and out again. The river was quite low when i visited but during the rainy season months can be quite a torrential torrent.
The spring is also an attraction for Moroccan tourists to the town who think it lucky to drink from the waters. They dress up in traditional Riffian costumes hired for a few minutes from local entrepreneurial women and have their photo taken and fill their water bottles from the spring.
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I love that doing the washing is a social activity. And pretty smart setup for the washing. Much better than having to head down to the river like you see in so many places.
I wanna try! Hahahaha… Actually, I can wash my clothes with my hands and I think it’d be interesting to try the way of the Chefchaouen women.
Communal washing must be fun with fresh river water flowing through and all that gossip going on too.
A beautifully written piece.
What an interesting insight. It’s always really interesting to see how other people live, and so simply!
Looks for peaceful, for some reason. I wonder what their usual “laundry conversations” are 😀
Wish i had a microphone to evesdrop on them. Must be interesting
Wow! What a unique and creative place for washing! I like the washboard design of the washroom 😉
Makes you appreciate the little things in life!
We have forgotten the simple life with all our technology Shobha.