I’m not a morning person, never have been, never will be (no apologies LOL!!). I get this from my grandmother (RIP) on my dad’s side who, while most grandmothers would be busy cooking at 5 / 6 am, instead said, “Don’t bother calling me before 11am, I’ll still be in bed”. So Saturday, when I was awoken at 5am by a rooster in Chefchaouen, I was not too pleased. However, I just rolled over and went back to sleep.
Chefchaouen is a beautiful mountain village in northern Morocco, famous for it’s blue walls and buildings. Blue paint is used, I’m told, because mosquitoes don’t like blue and therefore stay away from the houses. Has anyone heard of this? If this is true, why hasn’t Toronto or everywhere else for that matter, employed the same technique? Blue is is a nice colour, very cool and calming. Who wouldn’t mind blue buildings everywhere, especially if it would save everyone from mosquito bites?!
We enjoyed the day walking the Medina and the nights in a very charming hotel with extremely nice staff. Northern Moroccans speak Spanish (along with Moroccan), rather than French. This was the first time in my life, I used 4 languages in one day, French, Spanish, English and Moroccan (even if it was just hello, goodbye, please, thank you, etc…).
Sunday, we ventured out of Chefchaouen into nearby Akchour. Akchour is located in the Northern Rif Mountains (8000 ft. altitude at the highest point), and one of the mountains has a natural bridge, also known as “God’s Bridge”. You can see by the photo of the natural arch, why it’s garnered such a name, so we had to see it for ourselves. We hiked for about 1.5 hours to reach our goal. Once at the bridge, we enjoyed a drink, served by a local bartender at a makeshift hut, before climbing down the mountain and making the 7 hour trip back to Casa.
Back to work Monday. We ended last week with our redefined scope, our goals and activities we need to complete to prepare our final deliverable. The best news is, we believe we can truly positively impact INJAZ and help stabilize their communication system so they can sustain and grow their company. As an emerging economic market, empowering, motivating and training youth to be entrepreneurs is so important for Morocco. This will allow students to create their own opportunities rather than relying on foreign companies to provide jobs. It will go along way in the sustainability of the country.
Morocco is a very interesting country and in my, non-educated opinion, is primed to be a stable and developed economic market in the near future. The King and governments have done an excellent job with infrastructure. All of the roads that we have been on, even in the mountains, are smooth. There has only been one brown out since we arrived and it was only for 15 minutes. There is construction all over Casablanca, including building condos. One of our IBM CSC teams is working with the government of Casablanca on their long term strategy for growth and plans to become a major economic centre. Compared to other emerging countries I have visited, Morocco is on the cusp of greatness.
That’s all for now. Lots more work to do, but enjoying this amazing experience.
P.S. I found a tennis court (no surprise there) and I’m putting the racquet I brought to good use!! Red clay, baby!