Summary of a number of articles in Billed Bladet #37, 2013.
Himmelsk oplevelse - Heavenly experience.
Written by our North Africa correspondent, Ulrik Ulriksen.
This covers the last part of Mary's visit to Morocco.
In Casablanca Mary went to the Hassan II Mosque, the seventh largest mosque in the world and with a minaret towering 210 meters. The mosque can hold up to 25.000 worshippers.
Here Mary was shown around by a guide, with whom she seemed to develope a good rapport, because the two women shared some good laughs. At one point Mary was asked to look up and admire some ornamentation under the ceilling of the mosque, when the roof parted and let in the sunlight. - This is evident in the pictures where we see Mary wearing a scarf while looking up.
Mary stood for quite a while and enjoyed the scene, before she went to sign the guestbook.
After the official part of the visit to Casablanca, Mary went on to the city of Marrakesh, three hours drive away. Here she would have had the opportunity to visit the busiest traditional market in Africa, a souk.
But it was soon back to business!
In the capital of Rabat, Mary visited one of the less splendid neighborhoods, drawing quite a crowd of people who wished to come near her and touch her. Freaking out Morrocan security. Mary took it in her stride.
Domestic violence is still very much a taboo in Morocco, as it is in most countries in fact, so Mary's visit and her message got a considerable local coverage. (*)
But things are changing. Mary went to a local courthouse, where she learned about new legislative initiatives aimed at helping women sufferering from domestic abuse. - Because once women leave their husbands they are more often than not cast out. Without family, network, even friends. Alone.
With that in mind Mary then visited a shelter for women, which co-operate with KVINFO, Danner (a wellknown and old organisation helping similar women in DK) and LOKK. The shelter, Tilila, housed women with or without their children, who had all been abused and she learned their stories.
One woman had given birth the day before at the shelter, after having been kicked out by her husband, he refused being the father of the child. That means that the the child have lesser rights than children who are acknowled and they can't get an education and schooling like children who are acknowled can. So all the poor woman wished was that the husband would take her back, so that her child could have a decent life.
Upon leaving the shelter Mary said to our reporter: "I also get personally affected by the stories I hear and that's also the case with the personal narrative from the woman who arrived yesterday and gave birth here in the centre.
Some of the stories I've heard on the trip in Morocco have been some of the toughest I've ever heard. It's difficult to comprehend what you hear..
That's one side of my experience. You become deeply affected by the situation. At the same time there is also something positive - that there are strong parties and authorities and womens organisations here in Morocco, who fight a hard struggle. And with the support from Danes under (the auspices of) the Arabian Spring (**), you do become glad that there despite it all is help for some of the women suffering from domestic abuse. But there are still many challenges left. And it's a small step each time. But you get a sense that it will succeed. And it simply must succeed"!
Mary also went to a activity centre for women in Casablanca and here she admired a young women dressed in an elaborate green dress. A traditional bridal gown. Mary and the young still unmarried woman had a chat about being married at a perhapt too young age and the dress of course.
(*) Perhaps by being a foreigner, Mary can better put focus on a subject that might be somewhat controversial by the MRF?
(**) An initiative run by the Danish Foreign Ministry.
I love work, it absolutely fascinates me. I can sit for hours looking at people working.