Help Build House in Morocco
Hello! I am an American who traveled to Morocco in May 2017 and had an unforgettable experience staying with my friend Rachid Tassaounte in Asfalou, a small village next to Ait Ben Haddou , during my first Ramadan. He and his family generously shared their native Berber culture, and amazing homecooked food even during the difficult first week of Ramadan. The beauty and kindness of this place is something I hope many others will get to experience.
However, behind the beauty is a lot of struggle, poverty and corruption towards the common man, and gradual disintegration of these indigenous communities and cultures. Tourism is essential for these communities to survive economically today, and hosting guests is an immediate benefit to both hosts and guests. Local hosts can make a sustainable income to stay in and provide for their community, and be exposed to people and cultures they might never otherwise meet. Guests can connect directly with locals to learn about the "real" Morocco and go deeper into the history and culture. This also helps fight and offset the Islamophobia and racism against Muslims much of the Western world harbors today, as travelers return home more educated and aware of these cultures.
THE PROBLEM: Rachid already has a lifetime of experience being a guide and helping tourists, and has finished building most of his dream guesthouse. He is in a location with a steady stream of visitors who need places to stay, and his past guests can vouch for the quality experience he provides every time (Check out his Airbnb reviews here ). However, he cannot get a permit legally until it is finished, but he cannot finish it without continued income from hosting guests. And he can no longer host guests before getting the permit, without risk of jail/fines/bribes which would prevent him from ever finishing it.
While he is doing everything he can to make money other ways to finish the house, not being able to host guests makes it much slower and harder to do so in a less economically stable country like Morocco. Funds contributed will go toward finishing the house to obtain the legal permit, finally allowing him to work and host guests without having problems with authorities. His guesthouse will then be an honest, sustainable way to make a living for himself and his family once finished, and an open door for others like myself to authentically experience this incredible place!
WHAT'S NEEDED TO FINISH:
- $1200 for the construction of showers and toilets in the rooms
- $1000 for constructing the kitchen
- $800 to finish painting the house, interior decorations and furniture
After getting funded, he will need only 3 months to finally finish the house! Please consider helping a good man finish an honest and beautiful project he has already put so much energy into, and kickstart his simple goal of surviving and sharing what he has with others. Offset Islamophobia and help hosts and guests continue connecting and learning from each other. Any amount is hugely appreciated and goes a very long way in Morocco!
There is still one more room to renovate with bathroom, and 2 within the main house to convert for the guesthouse license, which will allow Rachid to host guests legally and make a living from it fulltime. He is helping build another house in the bigger city of Ouarzazate nearby, and also assisting in a hotel in Ait Ben Haddou in the mean time. That said, there is still a lot that needs to be done, with about $900 still needed to finish building the house. Every cent seriously helps to expedite a process that would otherwise take years to complete, as building tools and materials are much more difficult and scarce to gather in this location. And now after experiencing how people must survive out here, I can confirm how much of a difference we have already made to help people that have had to struggle in so many ways otherwise to reach simple goals of supporting family and having independence. They deserve so much better, and their perseverance and patience in light of obstacles is truly humbling. It has been a huge reminder of how easy and convenient we have it in comparison. They are so grateful for the generosity so far from us friends in the West, and want to meet you all!
Thank you for keeping this cause in mind and sharing it with anyone who may be able to spare a few dollars during this holiday season that will go a long way to help good people thrive and preserve their peaceful, beautiful way of life and culture in a country that has not been easy on them. More updates to come as the final construction progresses!
The roof has also now been reinforced with cement, a process that involved several people and had to be done all in one day, which meant waiting for the perfect weather. But the day finally came and now the roof is much safer and protected against all elements.
There is still much work left to finish 3 more rooms with bathrooms, and kitchen. The donations so far have been successfully transferred to Rachid to continue with the construction, with a little extra included to bring the new goal down to $2000. I know many of you have already donated, and will be glad to see some real results thanks to you! Rachid has been working day and night on what he can, and with only $1200 more needed, hopes to finish it by Fall if everything can come together and open the house up as a legal, beautiful shelter for travelers. It’s been frustrating for Rachid to have to turn away travelers looking for places to stay because the house isn’t legal and finished yet, so the sooner he can open for business the better for everyone. It's been incredible to learn about the processes involved and see how motivated Rachid and his community have become to finish it thanks to your hope-giving efforts. Please continue sharing this campaign with any of your networks, every bit helps and makes a huge difference getting closer to completion!
We are both floored at the generosity of everyone who has helped so far, thank you so much again. It has been super exciting and motivating for Rachid to persevere against all obstacles. Thank you for sharing this campaign with anyone else you may know, the networking counts as you can really see.
Also did you know it could snow this much in the desert?! Here is Rachid trying to maintain the house through an extra snowy winter; more photos to come when it thaws and the building continues!