Bittersweet timing

This month’s update was going to be a joyful one about how I managed to finish my final, main writing assignment of 15,000 words, a month early, and am about to submit it, thus completing my MA.

The piece forms the ending of my memoir, which is, of course, about my time in Morocco. This particular section begins by detailing a journey from Marrakech over the Atlas mountains past rural villages where the dwellings are made from rough adobe and the living, although picturesque, is hard.

You can imagine how surreal it feels to be handing in this piece of writing in the midst of such a devastating humanitarian crisis. I wish I could suddenly pluck an alternative 15,000 words out of the air and offer that up instead, but this has been months in the writing and, in some ways, is all the more poignant in light of recent events.

I have probably described villages which are no longer there. Perhaps I have spoken to people who are now among the 3000-odd dead, or who have lost everything. It is beyond my imagining and I am finding it excruciatingly difficult to focus on anything else.

Now Libya too – a much larger catastrophe, perhaps, and equally heartbreaking, though I have never been to Libya. And I have never tried to write about it.

I have written more about Morocco in my Vistas blog at so for now I just want to post some links to charities accepting donations towards the rescue and aid effort, and to share a photo of happier times. Kasbah Telouet was damaged in the earthquake. I am not sure, yet, how badly.

I am touched by all the thoughtful souls who have contacted me to ask about my friends and loved ones. Thankfully, they all seem to be okay.

Beautiful Morocco, my heart weeps for you, but you will smile again. It’s in your nature.

If you can, please consider giving to:

Erham cats:

Because we can’t underestimate the effect of this disaster on the animals who have shared people’s homes.