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High in the Anti-Atlas mountains of southwestern Morocco, there are several isolated villages where the Berber people have lived for centuries.

The Anti-Atlas mountains of southwestern Morocco. Image via Dar Si Hmad.

The Berber people, also called the Imazighen, have lived in scattered settlements across Morocco and its surrounding countries for thousands of years. As the descendants of the pre-Arab inhabitants of North Africa, their history dates back to prehistoric times. They have preserved their own language and culture despite numerous attempts to colonize them throughout history. Today, about 14 million Berber people live in Morocco.


Over the past 30 years, life has become increasingly difficult for the Berbers living in the Anti-Atlas mountains because of desertification and abnormally intense droughts, including one in 1986 that dried out the region so much that it has never fully recovered.

A Berber woman pouring hot water into a tea pot. Image via iStock.

Before, while it had always been warm and dry there, they had sufficient rainwater and well water to survive and raise livestock. But these long dry spells forced women and children to spend an average of four hours a day on round trips to gather drinking water for their families and cattle. And during particularly dry summers, they had to hike even further.

When the water shortages got dire, water had be hauled in by tanker truck, which was time-consuming and expensive. They urgently needed a solution to their water problem, especially since climate change was likely to make the task of finding drinking water even harder.

Luckily, their unique climate offered them a potential solution.

Fog in the Anti-Atlas mountains of Morocco. Image by Ayman Abdelilah/Wikimedia Commons.

There is a lot of fog in this area of southwestern Morocco because of some interesting meteorological phenomena.

There is a large, stationary high-pressure system (called the Azores anticyclone) that circulates air off the coast of Morocco over a cold-water current from the Canary Islands. This causes air to pick up moisture and form clouds — specifically statocumulus clouds, which are low-lying and full of water. Wind then pushes these clouds from the coast toward the Anti-Atlas mountains, but since these mountains are high and colder than the coast, they form a natural barrier — trapping the clouds and forming fog against the mountainsides.

Fog in the Anti-Atlas mountains. Image via Dar Si Hmad.

This means that while there is very little rain on these mountains, there is a lot of thick fog, which, thanks to some new green technology, can be harnessed and turned directly into drinking water.

Dar Si Hmad, a women-led NGO in Morocco, designed and installed a fog-water harvesting system — the largest in the world to date — on the summit of one of these foggy mountains, Mount Boutmezguida.

The fog-harvesting system being installed on Mount Boutmezguida. Image via Dar Si Hmad.

The way fog-harvesting works is actually fairly simple: On the summit of Boutmezguida, high above the villages, finely meshed panels — or nets — were installed.

The mesh in the fog-harvesting system. Image via Dar Si Hmad.

When wind pushes fog through the specialized mesh, water droplets are trapped. They then condense and fall into a container that collects the water below the nets. This water flows downhill in pipes to reservoirs, where it can be stored until it is needed.

The construction team setting up pipes to capture the fog water. Image via Dar Si Hmad.

From those reservoirs, the water is piped directly to the villages and individual households. So far, this project in Morocco has provided running water to 92 households, or nearly 400 people, most of them women and children.

The best part? Fog water is pure, free from any contaminants and pollutants, so it can be used for drinking water without any treatment.

This makes fog-catching an incredibly affordable, efficient and environmentally friendly way to harvest drinking water, and it can be used in other places where there are few or no viable means to access water.

Image via Dar Si Hmad.

Dar Si Hmad’s project was awarded a United Nations Climate Change prize in 2016, and there are already plans to extend the fog-catching system to other villages and parts of Morocco.

“Where there’s fog, we can harness it for the community, store it when it’s needed and use it later, instead of looking for very expensive and fossil-based solutions like desalinizing water, or digging more bore holes looking for even deeper aquifers,” Dr. Jamila Bargach, director of Dar Si Hmad, told CNN.

Aissa Derhem, the president of Dar Si Hamed. Image by Fadel Senna/AFP/Getty Images.

The technique could be used in other parts of the world, as well. In fact, FogQuest, a Canadian nonprofit, has already set up fog-harvesting systems in South and Central America, the Middle East, and North Africa.

Where there is fog, this technology has the power to not only deliver clean water, but also to change people's lives — especially women and children — all over the world. And the technology will undoubtedly become more important in the future as droughts and climate change affect water supplies globally.

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Actions speak far louder than words.

It never fails. After a tragic mass shooting, social media is filled with posts offering thoughts and prayers. Politicians give long-winded speeches on the chamber floor or at press conferences asking Americans to do the thing they’ve been repeatedly trained to do after tragedy: offer heartfelt thoughts and prayers. When no real solution or plan of action is put forth to stop these senseless incidents from occurring so frequently in a country that considers itself a world leader, one has to wonder when we will be honest with ourselves about that very intangible automatic phrase.

Comedian Anthony Jeselnik brilliantly summed up what "thoughts and prayers" truly mean. In a 1.5-minute clip, Jeselnik talks about victims' priorities being that of survival and not wondering if they’re trending at that moment. The crowd laughs as he mimics the actions of well-meaning social media users offering thoughts and prayers after another mass shooting. He goes on to explain how the act of performatively offering thoughts and prayers to victims and their families really pulls the focus onto the author of the social media post and away from the event. In the short clip he expertly expresses how being performative on social media doesn’t typically equate to action that will help victims or enact long-term change.

Of course, this isn’t to say that thoughts and prayers aren’t welcomed or shouldn’t be shared. According to Rabbi Jack Moline "prayer without action is just noise." In a world where mass shootings are so common that a video clip from 2015 is still relevant, it's clear that more than thoughts and prayers are needed. It's important to examine what you’re doing outside of offering thoughts and prayers on social media. In another several years, hopefully this video clip won’t be as relevant, but at this rate it’s hard to see it any differently.

Family

Two sisters ask their stepmom to adopt them with sweet memory book

"We were already calling her mom because it felt so natural."

Gabriella Ruvolo/TikTok

Gabriella and Julianna Ruvolo asked their stepmom to adopt them in a touching video.

Sisters Gabriella and Julianna Ruvolo know that they're extremely lucky. Their stepmom Becky Ruvolo has been there for them for most of their lives and it's clear that they're grateful to her for it. On May 9, Gabriella posted a video to TikTok to share the very special way the young women honored their stepmom for Mother's Day.

In the short clip, you can see Becky flanked by the two girls, flipping through a book. On the video are the words "After 12 years… we finally asked our step-mom to adopt us." As Becky goes through the pages, you can see her becoming increasingly more emotional before she gets to the last page. By then, all three of the women are crying.

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