For the people of the remote Moroccan village of Timahdite, nestled in North Africa’s highest mountain range, heavy snowfall brings weeks, or months, of isolation.
Nomadic Amazigh tribes living here rely on sheep that graze in the lush forests around the village, which sits at an altitude of 1,800 metres (5,900 feet) in the Middle Atlas Mountains. But as winter sets in, they are gradually cut off from the world.
The mountains, known for their red-shaded soil, give way to what seems like an endless white. The isolation remains until the road leading to the village is reopened by local authorities’ tractors. But they are often delayed.
After just a week under the season’s first snowfall, the pool and foosball tables that youths use to pass the time are fully covered with snow. The sheep are tucked together in a small barn for days.
Heavy rain and snowfall are generally welcomed in Morocco, a coastal country on the edge of the Sahara with few sources of freshwater. Farmers look forward to the rainy season as agriculture depends on storing rainwater in dams, and prices of vegetables and fruit can be affected by levels of rain.
But for people like Aqli Fatima, standing in her home as her daughters feed the chickens and clean a rug, winter weather brings hardship. In spite of her family’s best efforts, using bricks or nylon bags, water from rain and melted snow leaks into their small living room.
“It’s like this every year, there is nothing to do but pray.”
Mohamed Miloud sits in his home as his children are dropped off in a school transport vehicle. A solar panel is perched on top of his brick home as his daughter Ihsan peeks out of the door.
“Maybe things will be better for them,” he says.