Moroccan Bellow

Relationship: Child of im/migrant
A Moroccan bellow with decorations engraved into the metal.
A Moroccan bellow with decorations engraved into the metal.

This Bellow was given to my mother from my grandfather when he came to visit us in New York. My grandfather and my grandmother from my mother’s side are both Moroccan but they couldn’t be more different. My grandfather grew up in Casablanca where he learned Arabic and French and wanted to leave the country to live and work in Europe. My grandmother on the other hand is Berber which were a nomadic people living among the Arabs in Morocco. She didn’t grow up speaking Arabic and instead learned it on her own through books. When they met, my grandfather wanted to leave for Europe and my grandmother refused to go with him. When push came to shove my grandfather couldn’t take it and left for Amsterdam, he eventually landed a job making watches and sent money back to my grandmother whenever he could. He came back after six months but eventually went back. This kept on repeating until one time my grandmother got fed up and hid his passport. My grandfather finally got the message and hasn’t been back since. They ended up having six girls and all of them, like my grandfather, left for Europe. All except for my mom who ended up going to the United States. This bellow given to us reminds me of the humble origins we had as Moroccans and despite not being used for its original purpose of strengthening fires. Whenever I see this bellow the metaphorical fire within me strengthens. Increasing the passion I have toward my origins.

Place(s): Morocco, New York
Year: 1995

– Mohamed Hamzane

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant