Morocco: 3 Sheep, 7 Men, 1 1980s Mercedes (green)

Posted on November 25, 2010 by


There is a lot of dry, barren land between Chefchaouen and Tetuan, interspersed with extensive olive groves. On our return from Chefchaouen we suddenly hit a traffic backup on the two-lane road. At first we thought it was an accident of some sort. A wise guy driver in an old van tried to drive along the drainage ditch to our right to get ahead of everyone and came quite literally within a fraction of a degree of tipping his vehicle over on its side. Just when he saved that situation he was stopped by someone walking in front of him. It was a plains clothes police officer, who had a fit, signaled the driver to stop, and immediately confiscated his documents.  I suspect the fellow is still in trouble.

Anyway, the issue was not an accident; it was overflow onto the road of an enormous livestock market.  Thousands of people were gathered along a hillside to purchase sheep. It turns out we were at the end of Ramadan and in a couple of days people would again be able to eat lamb so they needed to buy sheep for slaughter for their feasts. There were people everywhere walking tied up sheep along the road, loading them into all manner of vehicles or, believe it or not, on bicycles. Interspersed with this mass were enourmous trucks loaded with bails of hay. We’re talking bales loaded (somehow) to extend 5-6 feet past the back end of the truck and several bales higher than the bed of the truck. People were also buying hay for the sheep.

Suddenly, we saw a scene that defined the whole place. We looked out the bus windows and saw on the side of the road a bunch of guys “tossing” three sheep into the open trunk of an old Mercedes. They threw the three animals in there, slammed the trunk shut, and then the seven guys crammed themselves into the beat-up vehicle and drove off.  That scene was worth the whole trip! We don’t have pictures of it because we couldn’t get cameras out quickly enough to shoot the scene, but these pictures will give you an idea of it.

Posted in: Morocco