Day 5: Casablanca, “Yes, I don’t understand”

Greetings from Casablanca!  These last 5 days have been a whirlwind.  Our group of 12 CSC members have met and spent some quality time getting to know each other. With the help of our partner, Boutaina from Pyxera Global, we have been able to experience the local Moroccan culture in and around our home (Park Suites Hotel, highly recommended should you come to Casa) through a guided tour and pointed places to visit.  We have walked the 120+ year old streets, we have experienced the diverse culture that is Morocco, we have tasted the local cuisine, including my favourite, chawarma.  There was goat brain at many street vendors, but I decided that was a little too adventurous for my taste.

On Monday, we went to the IBM offices in Casa, where 2 years ago, our CEO, Ginni Rometty, opened the first “Client Centre” in Northern Africa.  When you first walk through the doors, in a cube, is a Power8 Server!  So of course, I have a new profile picture. I also had the opportunity to educate my team about Power8, as well as the storage they had showcased – XIV and Flash.  Apparently, Flash is a differentiator in the Moroccan market and the local team is excited about the functionality, especially when attached to P8 to compete against Oracle.  Ok, enough sales…

We met our clients on Monday afternoon.  Since then, we have been interviewing employees, stake holders and partners, to define the scope of our project.  I am working with INJAZ Al-Mahgrib, the exclusive Junior Achievement partner in Morocco.  INJAZ delivers “learning by doing” education to middle school, high school and university students.  It’s a very important program for the youth of Morocco and INJAZ has been recognized worldwide for their success and outreach.  I am happy to be a part of their success.  http://www.injaz-morocco.org/

I entitled this blog, “Yes, I don’t understand” to illustrate the subtleties of the English language that I take for granted everyday.  My team members consist of Masa, from Japan, and Edwin, from India.  English is not their first language, nor is it the first language of our client.  So the interviews we conduct and discussions we have need to be in very clear, basic English to avoid confusion and misunderstanding.  “Yes, I don’t understand” means someone doesn’t understand  But, if I was to convey the same message, I would say “no, I don’t understand”, a double negative.  This can be interpreted differently by someone new to English.  So you can see the challenge that could be faced when people with different backgrounds work together.  I’m happy to say that as a team, we are very understanding and patient.

This evening was spent at the Medina (The Old City).  This is a large market with goods that can be purchased (clothing, shoes, oil, tea pots, jewellery, food, etc…)  The vendors have very aggressive sales tactics.  Perhaps I have much to learn from them.  haha.  They are also keen and experienced negotiators.  Again, another skill I can hone here.  But, I would have to say, the most interesting part of our walk had to be Jordan eating snails as well as seeing a chicken being slaughtered.  I wasn’t expecting either but appreciated the experience.

This weekend, we are heading to the famous city of Chefchaouen.  It is known for its blue buildings.  Read more here:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chefchaouen

Hope everyone is doing well.  Enjoy the photos below and feel free to leave comments.

Me in front of the Power8, 824 an SVC and a Power770.  For those non technical readers, the 824 and 770 are the servers I sell.  The SVC is a SAN Volume Controller, that virtualizes data held in multiple storage systems.
Me in front of the Power8, 824 an SVC and a Power770. For those non technical readers, the 824 and 770 are the servers I sell. The SVC is a SAN Volume Controller, that virtualizes data held in multple, separate storage systems. 

The IBM CSC Morocco6 team with our clients and IBM representatives.

The IBM CSC Morocco 6 team with our clients and local IBM representatives

Masa, Mr. Abbad (president of INJAZ), Me, Mr. Mseffer (CEO of INJAZ) and Edwin.
Masa, Mr. Abbad (president of INJAZ), Me, Mr. Mseffer (CEO of INJAZ) and Edwin.

At the INJAZ offices.

At the INJAZ offices.

Masa, hard at work at INJAZ.
Masa, hard at work at INJAZ.
The view on Boulevard HASSAN II from INJAZ.
The view on Boulevard HASSAN II from INJAZ.
Traditional Moroccan Entrees - pickled vegetables, legumes, spinach, beans, meat in pastry (Deep fried).
Traditional Moroccan Entrees – pickled vegetables, legumes, spinach, beans, meat in pastry (Deep fried).
Everyone knows I love my tea!  Traditional Moroccan tea is green tea, mint leaves and sage.  Plus TONS of sugar.  It's very good but I have to ask for mine without.
Everyone knows I love my tea! Traditional Moroccan tea is green tea, mint leaves and sage. Plus TONS of sugar. It’s very good but I have to ask for mine without.
Traditional Moroccan cuisine includes the tagine.  It's simply a way of cooking meat and vegetables in this clay cone shaped dish.  I've had it twice already.  I will be bringing one home.
Traditional Moroccan cuisine includes the tajine. It’s simply a way of cooking meat and vegetables in this clay cone shaped dish. I’ve had it twice already. I will be bringing one home.

These are empty snail shells from a vendor in the Medina.  My teammate, Jordan enjoyed a bowl full.

These are empty snail shells from a vendor in the Medina. My teammate, Jordan enjoyed a bowl full.

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12 thoughts on “Day 5: Casablanca, “Yes, I don’t understand”

  1. Awesome! love the story so far and the pictures!! You’ve covered a lot in just 5 days.. cheers to a great Moroccan work adventure.

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  2. Glad you are having such an amazing adventure and bringing your knowledge and expertise to tremendous use. I can’t wait for your next blog. We are all very very proud of you!

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  3. So happy you shared your blog with meeee😊💕 … You look awesome..love the pictures keep them going…love the pot of tea pic..green tea is the best…miss you!

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  4. Hey Sarah, i’m so happy you shared your blog with me💕😊… Love the pics. I’m a tea lover myself. Does green tea taste different there? Anyhow, keep the pics coming! Miss you lots!!!

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  5. Loving the blog Sarah! Keep it coming. Such an amazing start to your adventure. Can’t wait for the part where you get to use the sleeping bag lol…Miss you tons xoxo

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  6. Hi Sarah,

    What a beautiful looking country. Thanks for sharing with us. So missing you. Any time for tennis over there? Can’t wait to see more of your adventures.
    Love ya,
    Anz

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  7. glad to see you are enjoying Morocco – and that each CSC Morocco team ventures to La Sqala – Morocco 4 and Morocco 5 both have pictures with the same food 🙂

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