Silvia Irace

Silvia Irace (Ain Leuh Weaver's Cooperative): Silvia was born and raised in Naples, Italy, where she studied Arabic for her BA at “L’Orientale” University. To help her studies, Sylvia travelled to Cairo and Saudi Arabia, where she interned at the Italian Embassy in Riyadh. In Riyadh, she taught Italian language and culture at cultural associations affiliated to the embassy. Sylvia was studying for an MA in Arab Studies at Georgetown University on a Fulbright scholarship when she went to Morocco for AP. After her fellowship she wrote: “I have learnt about the legal steps to set up a non profit in the Moroccan legal framework, how to frame an Association mission, as well as video taping, editing, and using social media in a more effective way. I improved my Wordpress and website building skills, and my knowledge of Amazigh and Moroccan culture and language. Finally, I have learnt some handicraft skills, by weaving for advocacy.” Email:

Belly-dance under the night stars

19 Jul

I should have probably anticipated this moment. And found myself regretting the black large-sleeved ‘abayah à là Morticia Addams that I had purchased in Saudi Arabia 3 years ago. Not exactly comfortable if you are eating soup – for the sleeves would be all over the place – but definitely perfect for showing off a little bit. Instead, I forgot to pack it when it was most needed.

I realized my unforgivable mistake yesterday night, when I happened to find myself invited at a party for the celebration of a new-born here in Ain Leuh. A strictly girl-only event – sorry, guys – where I could not but pale at the superiority of the dancing skills of ALL the ladies present. All those years spent in a disco on Saturday nights try to boost some good moves! What a waste of time. Even the banat could do better than me!

The lady beside me in the picture below must have felt pitiful for me, because at some point during the ahidous – the dance performed in occasion of a wedding – she came to rescue me and gave me some tips on how to execute the steps correctly. How am I ever going to find a husband if I dance so clumsily, she must have thought. I could not but agree.

Learning ahidous-wedding dance

But the ladies are making sure that this musibah (catastrophe) will be averted: among other things, they are feeding me to the point of no return, to make sure that I get into proper shape by the end of August. Being not used to eating so much, I try to inquire previously about the next course, as to calculate precisely how much I space is still left in my stomach. Sometimes this is a double-edged sword, as it occurred yesterday, when I investigated whether there would be harira (traditional soup) after the iftar. Well apparently that was not on the menu, but since I asked they prepared that for me. Ouch!

So after a night of total unwinding, today I finally got to design the small rug I will produce as part of a series of activities the Association will offer to visitors and aimed at raising greater awareness on the issue of Amazigh women weavers. I got the idea from a design I spotted on the loom at one of the women’s house. It should be an easy one – or so I have been told- but I liked its since first moment I saw it. And it has very evocative name: nujum ‘lleil, night stars.I am looking forward to it.

Designing my own rug

Posted By Silvia Irace

Posted Jul 19th, 2014


  • Mao

    July 20, 2014


    is this rug for me? be careful, don’t do the “cloudy” night stars.

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