- shut up. "Please, visit the Tensket Roundabout school, don't forget it during your tour of the Haouz area, please visit it," in a sad, burning tone addressed one of the teachers who passed through here years ago, who was shocked to learn of the fate of this stricken school after the violent earthquake.

The fate of the school is no different from that of the village houses, and the residents are still waiting – about two weeks after the earthquake – for the arrival of the large tent that will be used to teach primary school students temporarily while waiting for the reconstruction of a new school.

As for the preparatory and secondary school students, the authorities decided to transfer them to the city of Marrakech to continue their studies under the auspices of the state, which will bear all costs.

But what happened at this school was a big thing, and the residents of Tanket are keen to tell you the smallest details.

The three halls of the school were completely demolished (Al-Jazeera)

In the lap of the mountain

Douar Tensket is located about 77 kilometers south of Marrakech, in the arms of the towering Atlas Mountains, and is supposed to reach it in about two hours, but because of the ruggedness and narrowness of the mountain road and its filling with ambulances and trucks carrying aid, as well as the cars of media professionals and curious people who came to see the repercussions of the violent earthquake, it takes more than twice as long to reach it.

The Tensket School was located on a hill overlooking the buildings of the entire small village, and only the people of the area studied in it, and it was distinguished from the residents' homes by the colors of paint that usually adorn schools, as well as being built with cement.

Then the earthquake struck, and the cement did not spare the school anything in the face of a violent earthquake of seven degrees, so it became a trace after an eye, like all the houses of the village and its large mosque, and like all the schools of the stricken Al-Hawz area.

The violent earthquake of Al-Hawz passed from here at the school of Tansket (Al-Jazeera)

Harsh view

"The sight of the school in ruins was a difficult sight for me," tells Ibrahim, a young man from Douar Tensket, who studied primary school here from 2000 to 2006.

The school consisted of 3 small classrooms, a simple administration office, and another hall dedicated to providing simple meals to students during the break.

From the scenes of destruction at the Tansket Roundabout School (Al-Jazeera)

"Our morning at this school started at 8 a.m. – Ibrahim continued – so we joined the class, then studied until 10, where we would go out to recess and riot as children, run and play in the yard, and then return to class until midday."

The students then go home for lunch, then join school at 2 p.m. and don't leave until 5 p.m.

Ibrahim confirmed that the sight of the school where he spent his primary years was a sad sight (Al Jazeera)

Ibrahim recalls the day he arrived at school two hours late after falling asleep, and when the teacher met him she asked him to come to the board and solve a difficult mathematical equation. "At first I was afraid that she would punish me, but she asked me to solve the difficult equation, which I succeeded in and I told the students that she was honest when she assured them that only Ibrahim would solve it."

"Then I returned to my place looking at my peers from above," he continues, smiling, but a smile soon disappeared as he turned away, with a tone of seriousness and sadness returning to his voice: "Unfortunately, all these memories have now been shattered."

Authorities will set up a tent in the roundabout yard to receive students after the school demolition (Al Jazeera)

In such remote roundabouts on the peaks of the Atlas Mountains, children are hardly as preoccupied with their counterparts in cities and urban centres.

Here their lives range from school, playing with peers, helping with ploughing, harvesting or selling simple agricultural produce, or grazing. That's why the children of these hanging roundabouts in the mountains grow up quickly, and take responsibility at a young age.

Difficult mountainous terrain and harsh weather conditions further hone their life skills so that they learn how to face dangers, how to deal with sudden challenges, and most importantly how to deal with people.

The residents thank God very much that the earthquake occurred at a time when the school season had not yet begun, and that it happened at night when no one was inside the school, because the scenario of its occurrence and the students and teachers inside it is a terrifying nightmare that gives the bloody scene an even more terrifying dimension.

The destruction of the Tensket school is the same as that witnessed in all schools in the circles of Al-Hawz (Al-Jazeera)

The earthquake struck on the evening of the eighth of September, a period that usually witnesses the enrollment of administrative and educational staff in schools to see the latest preparations for the start of the school season.

But for remote schools, these steps are slightly delayed, especially since the school inside these mountain roundabouts is two or three halls, and often has fewer than 3 teachers who often teach different levels within the same hall.

Hundreds of students have been through these classrooms over the past years (Al Jazeera)

Although the Tensket school was empty of its pupils and teachers at the time of the earthquake, among those injured in the village were a teacher and her mother, the house in which they lived fell on them, and the mother suffered several fractures, while the teacher's injuries were light, and they were rushed to a hospital in Marrakech after being pulled from the rubble.

Single scenario

What happened to the Tansket Roundabout School happened to all schools in the Al-Haouz area and other areas that were violently hit by the earthquake, as they are completely destroyed, or have serious cracks that make it impossible to resume studies inside.

Tensket students wait for an alternative to their demolished classes (Al Jazeera)

The Moroccan authorities are pushing for alternative solutions pending the start of the reconstruction program, for which the state has allocated a huge budget of about $ 12 billion.

The competent authorities have begun to erect large tents inside the squares of the affected villages and roundabouts, which will be used as halls for the resumption of classes, and the Tansket roundabout is still waiting for a tent to receive primary school students.

"This is the solution that is currently available," Ibrahim tells us, so that the school season is not wasted on children who are still suffering from the trauma of a violent earthquake and the pain of losing parents, loved ones and neighbors.

A temporary solution Although it will allow primary school children to engage a little with their peers in the arms of the stricken roundabout, for those studying middle and high school, it will mean staying away from those who remain alive, including parents and loved ones, as the authorities will transfer them to Marrakech to resume their studies.

This is how the school of Tensket overlooked the houses of the roundabout before the devastating earthquake (Al Jazeera)


At first, those who spent many years in a school like Ibrahim thought that their memories were shattered and lost as its walls collapsed and completely shattered, but the truth that unfolded after the earthquake shock is quite the opposite.

Ibrahim himself assures us that although the earthquake succeeded in breaking down the walls and concrete ceilings, it cemented the clinging of all those who passed by there to their memories inside the school, memories that will remain as long as the Tensket roundabout remains, and the earthquake only increased its steadfastness and firmness in hearts.

Here, amid the peaks of the Atlas Mountains, Ibrahim and his peers – and before and after them – studied the letters of the alphabet, and sang many songs, including the anthem that none of them can forget: "I draw a door, I paint Mama in color, I draw my flag over the peaks, I am an artist", a hymn that seems to have withstood an earthquake of magnitude 7, so that the youth of the village now remember it and draw a faint smile on their faces tired of the weight and sorrows of the earthquake.