Sunday, June 28, 2015

Ramadan Diary ~ 2015 ~ Day Eleven

Ibn Warraq continues his Ramadan musings...

Back on Day Eight, I talked about the concept of Sadaqah, or voluntary giving. The Qur'an emphasises the importance of charity, particularly during the holy month of Ramadan. 

Probably the biggest example of Sadaqah in Morocco is Operation Ramadan, an initiative of the Mohammed V Foundation for Solidarity. This national food support operation has been in operation every Ramadan since 1999.

King Mohammed VI, accompanied by Prince Moulay El Hassan, launch "Ramadan 1436"

The Foundation undertakes to help the poorest in the community. This includes the elderly, disabled, widows, and those from rural areas. It is estimated that this year "Ramadan 1436" will benefit 2.37 million people  from 473,900 households. The beneficiaries include  403,000 households in rural areas.

The operation "Ramadan 1436", has a budget of 55 million dirhams, but the success of the initiative is not about money but rather the efforts of thousands of people, social workers, students and volunteers, who assist in the massive operation.

This week "Ramadan 1436" arrived in the M'diq-Fnideq region. where the program was launched by Abdelkrim Hamdi, the governor of the prefecture of M'diq-Fnideq.

In M'diq-Fnideq region the initiative has benefited 329 families in need. Between them the families received around 9,690 kilograms of flour, 3,876 kg of sugar, 4,845 litres of oil and  242 kg of tea.


At the other end of the scale, this week I witnessed three great examples of events which made a positive contribution to their communities. Sadaqah in action...

Blash Mika! No Plastic!

This week visiting a supermarket brought a surprise. At certain hours, there were no plastic bags to be seen. Instead, young people, such as Ikram (pictured below), helped customers pack their groceries into reusable canvas bags, which had the slogan in Arabic, "We have to change our habits and use these bags."

Every year more than 5 million tons of waste is generated in Morocco, and that is growing annually by 3%. A significant proportion of this is plastic bags. So this year, over nine days during Ramadan, there is an initiative by the Moroccan Ministry of the Environment to give away canvas bags at the major supermarkets, including Carrefour, Acima and Marjane. It's hoped that the customers who receive them will get the message and take them when they shop in future.

Fez Medina Children's Library - Charity dinner

Friday night in Fez was the second last for chefs-in-residence, Canadians Oliver Truesdale-Jutras and Phoebe Oviedo (pictured below), at the renowned Resto 7. Wanting to give back to the community, the chefs contributed the proceeds from the evening's meal towards the Fez Medina Children's Library. 1,500 dirhams was raised.

"We've had an amazing time in Fez, and we'd like to contribute to the local community," said Oliver. "The library is just up the street, and it's a great opportunity for local kids to improve their reading skills."

Phoebe Oviedo and  Oliver Truesdale-Jutras

Donkey Clinic

I have mentioned this before, but it certainly deserves to be included in the list of Sadaqah in action.

Last Sunday, the first donkey clinic was held in Moulay Idriss. Twenty-five owners of donkeys and mules brought their animals to be treated for aliments such as flesh wounds, hoof and teeth problems. Considering there are only around 60 working equids in the whole town of Moulay Idriss, the owners were making the most of the opportunity.

The clinic was organised by local resident and owner of guesthouse Dar Zerhoune, Rose Button (pictured below). "My guests and I are always using donkeys. I have a great relationship with the drivers - they take care of us, and I want to take care of them."

Rose collaborated with the American Fondouk in Fez. She paid for the vet, Hamid and his assistant Ali to attend, while the American Fondouk paid for the medical supplies.

"It's taken a year to set up," she said. "But this is intended to be the first of the clinics to be held every month."

What is this obsession with the time?
Maghrib ~ is the name of the call to prayer that announces the end of the day's fasting. The most common sight in the ten minutes before the call comes is that of people checking their wristwatch - every thirty seconds.

A heatwave reminder

With temperatures on the rise around Morocco it is essential to avoid heat exhaustion and collapse. Remember, people do die of overheating.

This week will see temperatures oscillate between 31 and 36 degrees Celsius in Casablanca, Rabat, Tangier and Agadir. In Marrakech, Fez and Meknes, the mercury will hit 43 degrees.

Many Moroccan know the dangers and do take discrete sips of water during the day. To prevent you from finishing his day totally dehydrated, the nutritionist Salma Ibn Khayat gives these tips:

This goes without saying, but we often forget to hydrate: so do not hesitate to drink plenty of water.

In the hour of Ftour, avoid salty food, and especially not add salt.
Eat vegetables like cucumber, tomatoes, fennel, lettuce.
Eat melon and watermelon which are rich in water, vitamins and minerals.
Each hour top up with water.

Expats and tourists respecting the fast

It has been particularly heartwarming to see the number of visitors who sit patiently in cafés awaiting the cannon and the call to prayer before eating and drinking.

Another of Hamid's moderately funny jokes...

A company, feeling it was time for a shake-up, hires Rachid as its new manager.

Rachid is determined to rid the company of all slackers, and, on a tour of the facilities just before Ftour,  notices a young man leaning on a wall.

The room is full of workers and Rachid decides it is the moment to let them know he means business! He walks up to the man and asks, "And how much money do you make a week?"

A little surprised, the young fellow looks at him and replies, "I make 1,000 dirhams a week. Why?"

Rachid then hands the lad 4,000 dirhams in cash and screams, "Here's four weeks pay, now GO and don't come back!"

Feeling pretty good about his first firing, Rachid looks around the room and asks, "Does anyone want to tell me what job that boy was doing here?"

With a sheepish grin, one of the workers mutters, "He came to deliver the pizza for breaking the fast. He's the pizza delivery guy from the pizza shop..."

Saha Ftourkoum!

See Ibn's Ramadan Dairy
DAY ONE          DAY FIVE             DAY NINE   
DAY TWO         DAY SIX                 DAY TEN
DAY FOUR      DAY EIGHT        

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