Chefchaouen, the city with different shades of Blue. It was beautiful to walk through the narrow alleys, take thousands of pictures and get lost on the streets that look so similar to each other but, at the same time, so unique and distinct from each other. It was also beautiful to sit down, look around and look up at the sky and only see different shades of blue. It felt like the sky mixes somehow with the ground, the three hundred sixty degrees of blue gave me somehow the feeling of pure belonging to this “world of blue”. It gave me a timeless feel of inner peace and relaxation — perhaps because I grew up on the seaside, blue brings up the feeling of relaxation the ocean used to give me. But, despite all the dreamy blue decorations, two elements would always stand out from the blue landscape: the cats and the kids.
Although stray cats should not be a highlight neither be on the streets, it was interesting to capture their moments in the “wild”. The number of cats on the streets was insanely high. But, on a positive note, I was delighted to see that they were not fully abandoned and mistreated, but somehow people would feed them, treat them well and taking them as a positive addition to the blue environment. They were mostly friendly and used to people. It is a pity to know most of them do not have a family and a roof, but it warmed up my heath a little bit to see some people giving them the conditions to survival and care.
The kids of Chefchaouen were a different story. It is not news that there is some poverty within the country, but the number of underaged people, mostly kids under ten years old, begging on the streets of the city was heartbreaking. Some of them, you can feel they were taught to do it without fully understanding how, why, is it acceptable or not. That was made very clear with situations like the following one. I was walking around with my blue polaroid and a group of three kids, around eight years old I guessed, and speaking perfect English, approached my friends and I. They first asked for money. When they did not get what they asked for, they asked for a polaroid picture. They asked for a couple of polaroid pictures in the end. And when I took them and gave them to one of the kids, they were thrilled. It was perceptive that they were taught to ask for something, without really understanding the value of things yet, if it wrong or not, what makes sense or not. It felt they were potentially thought to get something because they might not have enough of anything. It was a sad realisation. It was disturbing in one way to feel an educational hole that can shape these kids lives and their adulthood. And an eye-opener that, as a society, we keep failing in the worldwide right and need of education for all. I hope all these kids will have a bright future and better opportunities to grow in the right direction.