Touiza | Volunteering in Kabylia – Village of Azeffoun
Touiza | Volunteering in Kabylia
Touiza is a kind of collective work that members of a group and a certain age group do to respond “seasonally” to a production and or a construction imperative. Members of family, neighbor or clan benefit from these community services in turn. Adrien Ndayegamiye definded in his book this Self-help system.
In Kabylia, some villages are still working under the authorithy of the “Djemaa”. A kind of an assembly (of men) that talk about how to improve the life of the community but also it exisiting to solve some. ” The governement is non-existent in our villages. They only remember us when they sends us the gendarmes to deliver the summons of the military service. “The one who has the leisure to crisscross these parts of Kabylia will certainly be marked by it’s wild beauty, but not only.[Courrier international] In some villages, people organized themselves to take care of their locality in many aspects. Being in charge of the wastes, water and electricty and also roads and paths. In the kabylian area some villages are isolated, especially in winter when there’s snow, sometimes above one meter. You can’t wait until the authorities are coming up to help, so villagers organized themesleves to be able to help each other.
As Djamel.M. from “La depeche de Kabylie” is saying, in the introduction of his post. Some ancestral traditions that tend to gradually fade away for new modes of socio-economic organizations, more adapted to the requirements of modern societies, “Touiza” (volunteering in English), is a rare traditions that still resist to the mutations of societies to which the populations, particularly Kabyles (North of Algeria), still have recourse.
It is by touiza that “poor” Kabyle builds his house. It is with the help of a group of women and children that he harvests his olives.
If the received touiza does not give rise to the legal obligation to recognize it by any benefit, the one who has benefited from it has too much self-esteem (de nif) not to give back to his neighbors, on the occasion, the assistance they have lent him.
My father told me once a story about a village, where everytime they have to burry a defunct in the village, all men have to assist and to help as for the Touiza. If someone is missing and has no serious reason to not be there. He will have to pay one day of work to the village or to the community. One man of the village was always missing, because he was a taxi driver so he prefered to work and to pay the penality wich was not a big deal compared to the amount of money he was earning per day. One day his mother died and when it came to burry him no one came to help, instead they all gave some money. So he found himself alone …
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