We’ve just completed the first two weeks of our CSC assignment – time to reflect about the first half time!
JM Suites is a very good hotel with friendly and helpful staff. I’m good with my room, except that is just above the restaurant and bar: Thursday till Saturday the walls are shaking to the beat of the lout music below me. And some of us got even better rooms with separate bath tub and big terrace. Fortunately the lucky guys shared… well, the terrace, not the bath tub. Oh yeah, we actually came in a bad time, a lot of construction work is going on, the French restaurant is now a Pizzeria and currently we don’t know if the spa will be usable before our leave. But that’s complaining on a very high level.
We stay in a quite modern city with contrasts. A new electric tramway connects distant points of the city metro-like, but does not reduce the hectic car traffic on the streets significantly. You can spend your time (and money) in the alleys of the old medina or go to a super-modern mall. You’ll get traditional moroccan food, enjoy a Hamam session, listen to the prayers from the minarets, glimpse women in burqas – or have a burger at McDonald’s, observe Moroccans ordering a six-pack of (alcoholic) beers in a local (non-touristic) restaurant, see young (Moroccan) ladies in mini-skirt and go for clubbing at weekends… . Casablanca is not black-white, it is a vivid city with many contrasts, but also with charm.
We 15 IBMers from all over the world have been assigned to 4 different organizations, each with different challenges. Nevertheless, many teams face similar challenges, too. The data gathering phases took a lot of time, many, many interviews have been conducted so far. And of course the language: each team has a team member or a translator who speaks French – nevertheless, a lot of time and information get lost in translation. My French skills are useful to me and it’s somehow cool to use it, but translating from one foreign language to another foreign language… that would be too much. Luckily we have Patrick from France in our ALCS team! Many of us are eagerly waiting to produce some tangible work products, which will happen during the next two weeks…
insha’ allah (if God wills)!
One objective for me was to get out of my comfort zone, which definitely occurred, being in a foreign country, culture, new colleagues and project targets. But so far I can manage it well, thanks to the great team spirit, the motivation to work for a great AIDS prevention organization, the amazing weekend trips, a lot of fun and the support from home. So far I’ve never been in bed before midnight, but somehow it works.
Funny stuff (at least for me)
- The laundry form – you have to indicate what’s inside your laundry bag using predefined check boxes… but you can only choose between around 4 options. For the rest like socks, underwear, T-shirts, … well, you put them into the bag, hope they are returned and that they don’t cost the world. After the first laundry I decided to wash socks and underwear myself: removing all staples was one of the reasons not being in bed before midnight, despite the help of my Swiss Army Knife.
- I once made a short shopping list: Detergents, coloring pens, beer, water. I returned with detergents and beer… .
- I have four cell phones with me! One for my Swiss business number (#1), one for my Swiss personal number (#2), one old Arabic Nokia (#3) for local calls… which I never used, I put the SIM card into another old smartphone (#4) for convenience and usability reasons.
- Traffic – I experienced Indian and Indonesian traffic, so I know hectic traffic situations. In Morocco it is relatively well organized, but not always understandable to me. Especially strange to me: why do almost everyone drive exactly ON the central line of two lanes instead of deciding for one of them?