In my last post, I mentioned a couple of the charities that were exhibiting at the Destinations Show at Earl’s Court. Well, as promised, here is a little more about them…
I love henna tattoos. They’re perfect for those who are too indecisive and fickle to get a real tattoo (i.e. me). So when I visited Marrakech, all set to get one, I was a little disappointed to learn that the henna used by the ladies on the square is toxic. I was even more disappointed to learn, upon my return home, about a place in Marrakech where the henna is safe and where you are also helping the local community by spending your money there. Not disappointed that it exists obviously, just miffed that I wasn’t aware of such place until it was too late!
The Henna Cafe is, as the name might suggest, a place where you can come and have a henna tattoo done whilst grabbing a bite to eat. But not only that, the money they make goes towards educating the local people to help them have a better life. There are many free courses available to those in the local community who need them and the lovely lady who drew me a beautiful tattoo at the Destinations Show even told me how the cafe is trying to educate the henna ladies on the square of Marrakech that they will receive more business if they stop using the toxic henna, they even gave them free (safe) henna to use.
If you are going to Marrakech, then you’d do no wrong by visiting the cafe and it is just a pity I can’t speak from first hand experience here. Nonetheless, if I find myself in Marrakech again I will be sure to stop by!
Right Tourism are a charity that promote awareness of “Responsible, Informed, Guilt-free & Humane Tourism”. Their website is there to advise you of potential animal exploitation that occurs all around the world in tourist hotspots, while their aim is to inform and guide you into hopefully making a guilt-free and responsible decision about the activities you choose to partake in on holiday. Put it this way, most of us would shun going to see a bullfight because we know that it is a cruel sport, but what about the stuff you don’t see?
If you look up Morocco on the Right Tourism website, you will learn that the snake charmers of Jemaa el Fna keep their snakes (who are often endangered species captured from the wild) in very poor conditions – without water, food or a good standard of hygiene. It comes as no surprise to learn that these creatures have a high mortality rate.
The monkey men of Jemaa el Fna are no better, the monkeys are kept in cramped cages and often suffer from heat stroke and illness because of the poor conditions and the hot temperatures. They are also kept on chains for when the ‘owner’ wants to throw the monkey on an unsuspecting tourist – thus forcing the tourist to part with their cash in order to have the monkey removed from their shoulder.
Luckily, on this occasion I was well aware of the snake charmers and monkey men so kept well away. If you visit Marrakech, then do avoid them, those men don’t deserve your money. And be sure to check out the Right Tourism website so you can be fully informed of animal welfare issues before you travel.