My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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FEZ, Morocco —This day we began at nine thirty when we turned from the hotel and walked on foot down a narrow street, through a gate and into the old town. There is just room enough for a man and a donkey to pass. No cars or carts can get through, so every little while you see a group of men sitting on the ground, back to the wall, waiting to be given parcels to carry. Everyone plies his trade along the streets, dyers, olive pressers, tailors—you can see them all. Little boys work in the tailor shops. We counted seventeen people sitting on a floor sewing by a very feeble light in one shop.

The baker's shop was fascinating. Everyone prepares their own dough at home, places the loaves on a flat board and takes them to be baked and somehow they all get returned to the right families though I could see no marks to identify them. We went into some rug shops and saw copper, brass and white metal work, embroideries and silver jewelry and some leather work. We looked down little alleys and saw many people in colorful garments before returning to our hotel to go out to lunch at the Governor's house, though he, poor man, was in the hospital.

In the afternoon we went through the old Jewish quarter, again with narrow streets where only walking is possible. We visited a school for 2000 boys and girls with good vocational shops. We explored a family house, a small synagogue, a day nursery for children from two to five whose mothers work or have nine or ten children so they cannot take care of them properly. We went through a maternity and child care clinic where the doctor reported many diseases stamped out. They also run a kitchen where the destitute—the old and sick, are fed daily three meals. They have about 700 a day and when someone is too ill to come they take the food to them. The welfare activities are carried by the American Joint Distribution Committee. The school is run under a French-Jewish Committee of which Mr. Rene Cassin is President and the organization receives from the Moroccan government a contribution equal to that given the Muslim schools which covers about half the cost. The rest is provided by the Joint Distribution Committee which also provides one meal a day for the needy children and milk in the afternoons.

Our last stop in the Jewish quarter was in a tiny jewelry shop where they make things for the Sultan. After that we five ladies went to Mr. Ahmed Mekouar's home where his daughter had invited two other girls who wished to talk about the U.S.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Fez (Morocco) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, April 2, 1957

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

  • Brick, Christopher (Editor)
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  • Binker, Mary Jo (Associate Editor)
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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project

Available under licence from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

Published with permission from the Estate of Anna Eleanor Roosevelt.

MEP edition publlished on 2008-06-30

TEI-P5 edition published on 2017-04-28

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a draft version of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library. Draft column dated April 1, 1957