I finally sit down with Meryanne after three days of hosting Ibu Foundation donors at her alluring villa in Marrakech, Jnane Tamsna. She has welcomed our group into her garden with dozens of Moroccan carpets strewn underfoot, spoken by the fireplace in an intimate welcome to her world, and then led us to an allée of trees lit up with magic. . . and a sumptuous dinner.
This is Meryanne - the enchantress. 21 years ago, I walked into her Marrakech home, a stranger, and she took me in with the same warmth and interest, making us friends for life. This is my 7th return to her enticing haven.
So we put heads together, finally, and I hear about her remarkable gathering of the African diaspora - women in all fields throughout Europe and the US who are changing the worlds they live in - and Meryanne hosting them for support and collegiality later in the month. How I would love to crash that party of Ibus!
I hear about her work with designers and creatives, changing the way that African design is viewed worldwide and reaching new audiences. All of a sudden, her son Edward appears, fresh off the field of working with refugees; as well as husband, Gary, after an expedition into the mountains to save a water supply. They are part of my family. They are part of the world family, always responding to the needs far and wide that call to them.
Meryanne tells me about a major book in the works, almost ready to pop, and we plan a book-signing in New York and Charleston. Since I've known Meryanne, her hospitality business in Marrakech has been torpedoed by news of distant terrorist bombs frightening away tourists as well as the 08 recession sinking a major project of hers about to bloom. But she, like so many Ibu of the world, persevered, never slowing down, but constantly in action to create beauty and betterment in the world.
Hailing from family in Senegal, the French West Indies, and Paris, Meryanne's voice carries the lilting cadence of the world on her tongue. Chic, oh yes. And stunning, yes. And intrepid, bold, high-minded, big-hearted . . . all. As Ibu Ambassador, she brings her global force to the world of Ibu. We're just getting started. Watch out. Great things are in the works. . .
With love and respect for my friend,
Susan Hull Walker