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Monday 16 February 2009

So long,,, Farewell...

Well, it is my final night in the house. Amidst packing (and crying) and trying to work out how I will fit back into the London Life again, I thought I would write a little snippet for my last blog entry.

I want to start by saying thank you to the girls! I have had such a lovely time, and that has been due to the sweet smiling faces that throw back the covers in the morning to greet me in whichever language they may have been dreaming in! They are such special girls, so kind, loving and generous (especially with their kisses) and I know they will go far due to their experiences in the house.

I must thank all of the people of Asni and Imlil, and the Kasbah, for their welcoming attitude and the genuine way that they have welcomed me into their lives. I have felt so at home and such a valued part of the community.

I am also so grateful to the families of the girls and Latifa for also welcoming me into their homes, giving me endless supplies of food and mint tea and for extending such a warm welcome. I loved being a part of Moroccan life and experiencing everything (lungs, hearts, liver and all) as Moroccan people do. Morocco will always hold a very special place in my heart.

To Maryk, Cees, Birgit and Mark I must say a huge thank you for allowing me to come to work in the house and for being so supportive and complimentary of my work. I have had such a great experience of Morocco, so I am very grateful to have had the experience of being here in Asni! I thank you so much for popping out to visit, and I am sorry that I spoke rapidly about anything in everything – I was just so excited to speak English without confusion!!!

I extend such a huge, heartfelt thanks to Mike for his overwhelming support of me since I have been in the house. I have felt so valued and, when days were hard, but I received an email from Mike that was full of praise, I was able to plough on. Thank you for taking a chance on me. Thank you for being there for me and for your pragmatic approach to situations. But, most of all, thank you for helping these girls so much.

Finally, and this one is a little bit harder than all of the rest (thank God I learned to touch type as I can’t read the keyboard through the tears) I have to say such a big Shukran Bezzzeeefffff to Latifa. I know that I am not saying goodbye as we will always be a part of each other’s lives, but I am so grateful to Latifa for being so open and accepting. I cannot believe my luck in working with such an open-minded person who is so willing to learn and to try new things. I have watched Latifa grow so much over these months, and we have had some brilliant conversations that have left both of us thinking. When I spoke to Latifa last week, she told me that every night she goes to bed now making a list of things she would like to do the next day to make the house better. The girls are SO lucky to have such an inspirational woman guiding them in their lives and their studies. But, most of all, I am so proud of Latifa for being the man and the woman!

I will never forget my time in the house and I will always willing to be involved in Education For All.

Thank you also for your support of me by following my blog!

And, that’s the end of that chapter!

Healthy Futures

After a frenzied day at the souk, we rushed home to prepare a gourmet lunch for our guests! Christina and her friend, along with Birgit, joined us for lunch on Saturday. After the meal, Christina (a trained nurse and healer) spoke to the girls with her excellent Arabic about the facts of life.

The discussion revolved around health, hygiene, taking care of your body and a small chat about what life is like as a woman. This was an excellent experience for the girls as these issues are not openly discussed in Morocco.

The girls thoroughly enjoyed hearing quality information from Christina, whose warmth and care made them feel safe.

Not only has this experience given them some tips for healthy living, but it has also opened the door to these conversations. It is a brilliant step forward for the girls.

Thank you Christina and Birgit!

Thursday 12 February 2009


Last weekend, the girls were presented with new awards according to their participation in the life of the house. We feel it is important to teach the girls household skills and how to be good citizens and to reward them for their efforts.

The awards went like this:
The Best Bedroom – Number One – Khadija Aithmed, Nezha, Fatiha and Atika
The Girl with No Marks – Fatima Bachki
The Cleanest Cupboard – Khadija Aithmed and Nezha
The Cleanest Clothes – Zahra
The Best House Cleaner – Zahra
The Most Helpful in the Kitchen - Fatima Bachki, Khadija Aithmed and Fatiha
The Kindest Girl – Hayat and Hasna
The First to Get Ready in the Morning – Hayat, Fatiha and Khadija Taib
The Most Punctual – Souad
The Most Studious - Khadija Aithmed
The Best in English – Mouna

The day started with everyone heading to school or the souk. Then, everyone cleaned the house thoroughly and we had the lunch that I had prepared whilst Latifa and the new cook Latifa were at the souk sourcing yummy vegetables for the week.

After lunch, the girls had to fully clean the house (again) and then get ready for the awards. The girls dressed themselves in their finest clothes as they were very excited about the proceedings. They applied makeup, and some of them even went without their hijab! A very special occasion indeed.

We started with some tea and halwa, then the awards were presented and then some tributes and singing were given by the girls. I was very impressed by the organisation the Latifa put into the awards and celebrating the girls and their efforts.