As the pandemic was crashing down on the world, a group of ladies was exploring Morocco with Open Doors Morocco. One of the ladies was Sandy Cross, a lifelong artist and watercolor painter. Sandy says that painting Morocco has kept, “Morocco on my mind.”
The “Bernie’s Mittens” memes are such a big hit, we thought we’d join in the fun. Over the years, US Senator Bernie Sanders (VT) has promoted a view toward improving the well-being of the developing world. While we work on a more granular scale, we value improving the well-being of Moroccan communities, specifically single women.
Without further ado, we present unique places in Morocco to visit with or without mittens.
This article was written in 2016 after Maria-Teresa Allaire traveled with us. Since that time she has chosen to reformat and rename her blog, but sent the article to us so that we wouldn’t lose what she had to say about Ethical Tourism and Open Door’s strong commitment to it. Without further adieu I turn it over to Maria-Teresa:
I want to preface this by saying that I will possibly offend some people with this article. It is not my intention to do so- there are many different styles of travel and people have various priorities.
I have a love – hate relationship with tipping, especially in developing countries. In the case of Morocco, the west is responsible for bringing the custom to the country. While I agree that tipping can be positive in that it recognizes a job well done. I’ve also seen first hand that the practice enables employers to pay workers lower wages because it is assumed that tips will make up the difference. This is where the hate part enters into it for me.
Unfortunately, it’s counterproductive refuse to tip in hopes that employers will step up to fill the gap. That’s not going to happen anytime soon. So like it or not, many workers in Morocco, as well in other countries across the globe, exist on tips.
So you’ve gotten your customized Morocco tour arranged. Flights are purchased. The dog is booked at the kennel. You’ve started packing. One final thought occurs to you… What about spending money in Morocco? Since this is one of the most commonly asked questions, I decided I’d cover the information you need to know in an article.
Our guest blogger, Margaret Cornfield, tells the story of visiting two homes in Tamnougalt, Morocco. The Cornfields, Open Doors Morocco, and our good friend Mustapha in Tamnougalt managed to provide much needed roofs for two homes in the village. Margaret tells the story best.
I’ve noticed that Moroccan cities are either cat cities or dog cities. Without exception, the cats win out in the medinas, or old cities. It’s probably because cats are smaller than dogs, and can fly under the radar easier. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of dogs to go around in Morocco. But in the close quarters of a medina, dogs aren’t present in large numbers. Also, in general, Moroccans have a fear of dogs. To illustrate, one evening while having dinner in our apartment, we heard loud, shrill screaming outside our window. Without even looking up from her plate, Ava said, “Someone probably saw a dog.” I’m 99% sure she was correct. There’s not much else to scream about.
Recently, in the famous blue city of Chefchaouen, I ran into the best Bissara soup I’ve ever tasted. Bissara is a popular Moroccan soup prepared with dried and peeled fava beans. This soup is hearty with plenty of protein and is often served for breakfast in winter, especially in the north. The dish was originally known as a meal of the poor, but these days it’s found its way into the homes and restaurants of all social classes.
I am excited to introduce Tony Hoffman as a guest blogger. Tony recently took part in a Giving Lens Morocco Photography Tour. Following the tour, I noticed Tony’s Facebook posts were insightful reflections about his experience in Morocco. Since Open Doors Morocco is all about “Returning Transformed,” I asked him if he’d be willing to share some of experiences, and he agreed. This article describes how he serendipitously encountered a Berber Fire Painter in Ait Ben Haddou.