Three Generations Find Pride and Opportunity in Family Leather Business

by Emily Vega

RABAT, Morocco – Ayoub El Khalifi stands against a wall covered in his family’s handmade traditional leather goods. He wears a black felt fedora hat. Every square inch behind him displays polished and hand crafted leather bags, cushions, belts and more. As customers explore the store, the smell of tanned leather follows them. Hanging from the ceilings and lining the walls, hundreds of designs are displayed.

This traditional craft has provided the El Khalifi family with an escape from a troubled region and livelihood in a country where many young people struggle to find jobs.

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Cheese and Camaraderie in Rabat’s Old Medina

By Zoe Hu

Photographs by Eloise Schieferdecker

RABAT, Morocco — They know when to expect him. Among the stuttering moped engines  and the rumbles of street-life in Rabat’s traditional medina, Abdelatif Reda’s customers wait.The small cart before them stands unmanned. Its owner, they speculate, must be out for his afternoon prayer. But Reda will return — as he has done for years, every day after 5 p.m. — to sell his homemade cheese.

Rabat’s medina is a pastel-washed huddle of squat shops and alleyways, fortified by walls that stand on 17th-century lines.

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Challenging Illiteracy in Morocco, a Bookseller Pursues Paradise

By Hannah Rehak

Photographs by Will Matsuda

RABAT, Morocco – Magazines spill out onto a busy street and blue painted shutters stretch open, exposing Aziz Muhammed sitting on a dusty pillow. As always, he is reading, eyes focused on an orange-bound book, spectacles resting on his prominent nose. Though tucked away behind the work of hundreds of authors, Muhammed is known throughout the medina, the oldest part of Rabat, for his unique aesthetic. He is a 66-year-old bouquiniste, a proud bookseller, in a country with an adult literacy rate of approximately 67 percent.

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Café El-Griny

By Lauren Kopchik

Photographs by Rachel Woolf

RABAT, Morocco — On a lazy Sunday afternoon, El-Ayadi El-Griny sits in a dimly lit garage watching the people of Rabat stroll along Lalou Avenue. They walk past hole-in-the-wall shops like his that surround the old medina marketplace, with its narrow streets and close-knit neighborhoods, without casting a second glance.

El-Griny, 39, makes a comfortable seat using plastic bags filled with the only product he sells: wool. It surrounds him, with overstuffed bags filling the corners of his shop and excess white and blue fabric spilling onto the floor.  

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A Brotherly Butcher Shop

By Rachel Woolf

RABAT, Morocco – A line of cow legs hangs on hooks above a counter containing a bleeding brain and an assortment of meat. Behind the counter, Abdlmola Rochdi wipes his forehead with his sleeve before slicing into a raw lamb’s leg late one evening in January. Abdlmola is the co-owner of a butcher shop along Rue Mohammed the 5th in the ancient medina of Rabat, the capital.

Two brothers own this butcher shop: Abdlmola, the elder brother, and Noureedine Rochdi, the younger brother. Each day, the brothers work for two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon.

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