Primates Have Talent

28 August, 2013 § Leave a comment

Hello lovely monkey people,

Sorry for my silences. I recently got a full time job, in both theatre and education too! I have been away from computer and my brain filled with other things. That said, we have a MASC event at Beale Park this weekend. It is a new event so if you are free then come down and see us in the Toy Museum area. Primates Have Talent is a talent show where you will be taught 5 facts about a primate of your choice and then you can do whatever you like as a talent and answer the question. We will have people on hand to help you create your talented performance and support you all the way!

Monkey Hugs

Conservation in a vacuum

14 May, 2013 § Leave a comment

When we went out to Morocco, Sian asked us to find some Vitamin E oil or similar for reducing scarring. This was for a young girl in the village of Lahcen where they work who had had some hot oil splashed on her face and hand the previous week. The woman had approached Sian and Ahmed to help and of course they rushed her to hospital and made sure that she was admitted and got the right treatment. Sian wanted to make sure that the girl had the minimum scarring from the incident, especially since the wound was on her face.

The whole affair made me think about in situ conservation projects and their interaction with the local people. I think all too frequently conservation projects focus on the animals or the habitats without considering the impact on the local people. Without building a positive relationship with the people whose lives are impacted by both the wildlife and the efforts to protect it I feel success is limited. While we were driving around with Sian and Ahmed we often picked up shepherds and school kids and families and gave them a lift to wherever they were going. We stopped to talk to everyone and everyone recognised the monkey bus and waved. Without this kind of relationship with the people how much success can conservation achieve?

I found it incredibly inspiring to see the respect and affection that the project has for the people and the people for the project. I look forward to having a chance to work with BMCRif in the future.

This is the view from the BMCRif house in Lahcen in the morning!
DSC04942

How the tortoise got his shell, oh Best Beloved

11 May, 2013 § 2 Comments

You may have seen that we had a shell made for us in the UK, it was made of wicker-work by a local artist. It was environmentally responsible and beautiful. Once we got here, however we saw that it would not be able to take the kind of beating it would be expected to in the monkey bus from place to place. So we decided to see if we could get one made in Morocco that could take more abuse. We went to a few different stalls that sold weaving but all their products were either made elsewhere or they were selling to the trade rather than making. Ahmed had the idea of seeing if we could make it out of leather, over a wooden frame.

DSC04868We went down to the Artisan Centre and spoke to the leather-workers there and after some long conversations which made us giggle with Ahmed wearing a shell having a completely serious chat with the worker as though there was nothing amiss! Ahmed then set about making the frame by bending a pole to a shape and then attaching strips that curved to this. When we left it wasn’t finished but I am looking forward to seeing photos once it is done. I think in total it cost around 20 to 50 Euro.

Dressing Teshta

10 May, 2013 § Leave a comment

We bought or acquired the human characters’ costumes in Morocco in order to make them as genuine as possible, to increase the space in our luggage for our personal stuff and things we couldn’t get in Morocco as easily and to save some money! DSC00657We had several characters that would need area-specific costume such as the Village Man and Woman, the Grandfather and the Seller. Ahmed very generously donated things for the Village Man and the Seller and BMCRif had some fezzes which we could use for the Grandfather (only one!). So we went to the Artisan Centre, where the people are working on making their products and you can watch them while they do then they sell them directly to you so you don’t get a huge mark-up and they get to put all the money in their pockets. We bought two futas which are what the village women wear, they are stripey bands of fabric which can be wrapped round the waist or over the shoulders and keep the sun off and keep you warm in the winter.

For the young children in the show we spent a few days looking round in Tetouan and Martil to see what they wore. It turns out the boys all wear sporty jackets, tops and caps and the girls mostly wear pink! The young girls have a great variety of clothes from more traditional style clothes to kaftan-style things to t-shirts and jeans or skirts. The only common denominator is that there is a lot of pink for girls, particularly under 10. Once they get older they seem to lose the obsession. There are also a lot of pigtails.

DSC00610Once again Ahmed came through for us with a sporty jacket and a pink jacket for Yasmin and Dani. Then a cap and a head scarf for the children in the villages, the girls in the villages do tend to cover their heads. So in the end we only bought two futas for under 8 Euro and the tortoise shell. But that, oh best beloved, is a story for another day.

Off to Morocco and the new website

27 April, 2013 § Leave a comment

One more day here before we fly out to Morocco, bags packed, set made, costume done and now… website finished! I will blog when we are back from Morocco but wish us luck.

I leave you with a new picture from the photo shoot with Steven Foster yesterday. Showing the work of Hellen B on the backdrop and Christine Brewster on the shell.

Thanks to them all.

Monkey hugs til we get back
Tortoise forest 1

A brilliant week – Thank you everyone

5 March, 2013 § Leave a comment

Last week we did three different events that brought funds into MASC. We did an after-school session of Monkey Biscuits at Alto Lounge in Caversham. Children decorated biscuits, masks and entered the colouring-in competition which we ran all week.

On Sunday we had two different things. Firstly MASC was the charity that had the collection after Meeting for Worship at Reading Quaker Meeting House. We raised a whopping £315.93! That is not including GiftAid which we will be claiming where we can. An enormous thank you to not only those who were so generous with their money after Meeting but all the wonderful people who came up to me and had kind words of support and encouragement. I felt so privileged to be supported like that.

In the evening we had a pub quiz at the Alto Lounge where we had 77 participants, which is one of the highest they have ever had for a pub quiz. The questions may have been a little hard but I think most people had a good time. A particular thank you goes to the people who came to support and amongst those the people who came from Reading Meeting to take part. As always, I am humbled by the kind and generous things that people have done for me and MASC.

These three things resulted in us taking over £400 for MASC last week, which will help us get to Morocco!

Much monkey love to all

Speak up for the rainforest

5 March, 2013 § Leave a comment

The Sumatran Orangutan Society are asking people to write to their MP to prevent the government giving subsidies to bioliquids for fuel since it is predominantly palm oil and to grow it in the necessary quantities will endanger even further critically endangered species like orangutans, leopards, Roloway monkeys, insects, plants, and lots of other good things! You just need to find your MP and use the template letter to ask them to help.

Please do, we can have power when we all stand together to stop this ‘greenwashing’ where we replace the harmful fossil fuels with far more planetarily destructive bioliquids.

Empowered monkey hugs

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the Charity info category at monkey unmasked.

%d bloggers like this: