Emily Keene arrived in Morocco at the age of 24. She was to be governess for an American family with Greek origins by the name of Perdicaris.
The Perdicaris family gave lavish parties in their home in Tangier, and it was at one of these parties that Emily met the Cherif of Ouezzanne, hajj Abdeslam Bin Larbi. The chief fell in love with Emily, and they married in 1873, Emily became the Cherifa of Ouezzane. Emily spent much time improving health care provision for the women in Rural Northern Morocco, and to a hospital for the needy. As a result of her tireless charitable and social work Emily was appointed Officer of the Order of the Ouissam Alaouite and also promoted to Officer of the French Legion d’honneur.
Emily saw tremendous progress in Morocco and in 1911 she published ‘My Life Story’ her memoirs of her life in Morocco. She wrote… “ I have not a single regret, and hope that my forty years’ residence among the Moors may reflect some benign influence on the future.”
Josephine Baker was also a woman with a passion for Morocco, Josephine was also awarded Honours by France for her good work in North Africa. You can visit Josephine’s former home in Morocco. A stay overnight in Jospehine’s room is even possible!