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Marrakesh city of 2 faces: How the Rich People Waste Water When the Poor People Survive

Updated: Mar 5

Hey barefoot walkers,


As you must have seen from the trip I made to Morocco (if you haven't seen it, read the article "Getting Lost in Morocco: Exploring Without a Map, Shoes Optional"), the trip started in Marrakech.


Today we will talk about this city that has two faces: on one hand, poverty with places where survival is difficult and on the other hand richness where everything seems easy.

When I first arrived at Jemaa el-Fnaa square, it was full of people from various nationalities and it is with these people that the locals sustain themselves. The whole city or at least the city center is completely geared towards tourism.


Now you might ask, but tourist areas are usually expensive, so if it's geared towards tourism, shouldn't people live well? You're right that there should be a better quality of life but that doesn't happen (in my opinion) because despite having many shops, there is little variety, so many merchants sell the same thing and when this happened prices are lower because they have to compete with the neighbor who sells the same thing.


Usually, the shop is the family business. As you might be thinking, with low prices and the possibility of buying what you want in different places, merchants don't have much money for themselves and their families. In addition to that, the central area of Marrakech mostly consists of old buildings and extremely narrow streets, which are not prepared for the high number of people who live there (approximately 1 million) and those who visit (almost 4 million per year). At least for now, development of this central part of Marrakech is impossible while basic things like waste treatment, sanitation, or accessibility have not been improved.


On the other hand the richness part is Gueliz and Hivernage, when I say richness, it's as a comparison term in a dry country where water is a public health problem they have roundabouts with fountains in the middle. In this part of the city, the way of life is completely different, tourists are not important but rather the people who live there. Most of them are successful entrepreneurs who have found in Marrakech a place where their companies can pay less taxes and their businesses are outside of Morocco. It's as if they use the name of Morocco for the benefit of their companies but make this part of Marrakech a city that has nothing to do with the reality of the country.


Socioeconomic disparity is a common phenomenon in many cities around the world and Marrakech is no exception. Like in many other cities, the coexistence of rich and poor areas can raise questions about social justice and equality of opportunity.


However, there are several factors contributing to this reality and influencing how people accept living in these circumstances. In many cases, poorer communities may be trapped in cycles of poverty due to lack of resources, limited access to education and job opportunities, as well as issues like unemployment, poor health and inadequate housing. Breaking this cycle can be extremely challenging for residents of these areas and we must not forget that wealthier societies often tend to be served and make the poorer societies their slaves. Is difficult but not impossible to change that.


It was interesting to see this reality with my own eyes and if at first time I felt almost a sense of revolt at how this could happen, I learned that we must respect the reality of the places we travel to, but we may not agree with it.


I just ask you one thing: go there and see with your own eyes, then send a message if you agree with me.


Don't forget:

If you go there, walk barefoot.

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