Children have often to walk several kilometers to go to school. Here, in the background, the school and in the foreground four children waiting the time to go to school. When there are not enough schools, half of the children go to school in the morning and the other half in the afternoon. Tunisia is trying to improve this, but in the poorest part of the country, I am not sure that there is now school all day long for everybody.
The minaret of the mosque is topped by a coupola built on a four way arched terrace. It is from this terrace that the "muezzin" calls for the prier, five times every day, saying verses from the Koran. Now, there is usually a loud speaker.
This is the cemetery around the marabout. Grave are completely unsophisticated, as required by Islam. The grave of a man is signaled by one standing stone, the grave of a woman by two standing stones. This part of the cemetery shows only men graves. In the foreground, a freshly dug grave, covered with stones. Along the time, plants grow on the grave and the standing stone is the only thing that can be seen.
This is a close up on the small building in the plain, seen from the village (previous tip). Even when you are close, it is small. It is one of this numerous "marabout" that you find in Tunisia. On a previous tip, 5 of them could be seen as little dots on the picture. If you enlarge the photo, you will see that it is surrounded by the cemetery. Each marabout is built to honor a saint. In the largest one, a family lives and takes care of the marabout, leaving on the donations given by visitors.
The mosque is the only white building of the village. On this photography, it is seen from the upper part of the village and it shows that, clutched at mid height of the hill, it overhangs the plain. If you enlarge the picture, you will see on the left of the minaret, as small white building (see next tip).
When you get closer to Douirat, you see that what looked like a cliff is actually the highest part of the village. The cliff has been carved and the extracted material have been used to build the outer part of the houses ! This is why they melt so completely into the landscape !
At first, Douirat seems much less impressive than Chenini. It shows only two rows of houses under a cliff and a white mosque in the middle. If you enlarge the picture, you will see in the plain but right at the foot of the hill 5 small buildings. They are "marabout" (see following tips).
Still between Chenini and Douirat, it seems to be laundry day. Linen and clothes are washed at a spring where water is kept in several basins. The drying takes place at the same place. Everything is spread on the rocky soil, and makes amazing color dots on the mountain. They will be soon completely dry.
On the trail from Chenini to Douiret, this woman wears a red garment with dark stripes and wide whitish shale. She is leading a donkey holding several metal tanks to get water. Note that, though the trail is rocky, she is walking bare foot.
This close-up on a part of the highest part of the village shows that most houses are in bad condition, as they are no more inhabited. Water is in the plain and women have to bring it to their house. No wonder that the lowest houses remains inhabited while the upper are almost abandoned.
The houses, the walls and the soil have all the same reddish color, which is not a surprise as all the material to build the houses have been collected locally, in the close neighbourhood. A lane winds up to the top of the village, under a burning sun.
Suddenly, behind a bend of the winding and rocky trail, the village of Chenini appears. It is clutched to the mountain, on several levels. Each row corresponds to a narrow path between the houses. It is almost looking like some ruined and huge castle.
This close-up on the same spot shows better the various crops : several "betoum", giving pistachios, a few fig trees, smaller and greener and a few palm trees. The ground level is mostly occupied by wheat or barley, sometimes alfalfa for the cattle.
This photography shows this small unsophisticated dams can improve the crops : everything is dry (though this was taken in late March) except the small flat areas behind the dams. Another crop are pistachios, grown on the "betoum", the round shaped trees that can be seen on this picture.
This is a typical countryside of the Dahar plateau. A small valley is barred by several small dams made of crude stones. When it is raining in late winter and early spring, they will keep some of the water and allow some farming : palm tress, wheat or barley.