In Fez, there is an amazing, almost magical, place. This is the American Fondouk, an animal hospital founded in the 1920s by Sidney Haines Coleman, who cared about the health of the working animals of Morocco. Almost a century later, the Fondouk - which means hotel in Arabic - still treats for free thousands of animals every year. Lots of working animals - mares and donkeys -, but also cats and dogs (though I guess they didn’t treat many of those in the 1920s).
Of course, I don’t have to tell you that the existence of such a place is both fantastic and weird, in a country where the public hospitals are awful, and where most of the people don’t have health insurance.
When our cats needed to be vaccinated, that’s where I wanted to go. Because it’s free, obviously, and also because it sounded like a strange place. Also because Paul Bowles, an American writer that I love, worked there in the 1930s.
And once there, I wasn’t disappointed - we even saw a mare having her teeth cleaned.
Of course, we left a little something in that box. Because most clients of the hospital are very poor.
Read the history of the American Fondouk here.
And they have a blog too.