Sunday, February 21, 2010


Figuratively speaking yesterday in Fes. Literally and figuratively today w/the Coop.

I’ll start w/Fes. Broccoli. Safi? First known spotting in Morocco in 1 ½ years. So excited, I didn’t even note the price. I could just end it there, but there was asparagus and lettuce. Right there. Wow. I also got a lot of prices on cheese to share w/the milk coop when they do their cost/benefit analysis-need to know the competitive prices. Of course, all of this was at Marjane (like a Target, but mostly groceries, in major cities only), not available here in REK. But broccoli? Hamdullah!

I also thought I’d enlighten you on some routine prices, since when you shop in Marjane, you actually get a receipt.(In hanuts here, you never get a receipt, so don’t have individual prices unless you ask and write them down). OK, here goes (remember, about 8DH to each $1): baguette 1.1 DH, liter milk 2DH, pita bread (pkg of 6) 8.95DH, 4 batteries 39.90DH, Tabasco 5.50DH, pgd crackers 10.50DH, 12 oz peanut butter 24.50DH, 300g cheese 47.49DH, 3 avocados 13.47DH, 1 lg pkg tortilla chips 54.00DH. Note: selection based on what I can't get in my site. Can you tell I’ll be cooking Mexican? And you can tell what people do and don’t buy based on prices. Needless to say, hard to find tortilla chips much of anywhere at those prices! And it's obvious why bread is such a staple in the diet.

I also (finally) got my Carte de Sejour. This is the National identity card for a foreigner living in Morocco. Only took 1 year longer than the PCV in Sefrou (where my application was also processed). Go figure.

OK, so it really was enlightening today at the Cooperative. I was supposed to do the next workshop in the series-this one on Product Development. However, due to heavy rain, there were only 3 women there; Zahra-the President, Aicha-one of the weavers, and Malika-a new trainee. Turns out it was probably better that I went through what I did w/Zahra before everyone else saw it anyway.

See, Emily (PCV in Oulmes) has shared a Fiber Burn Test w/us in the past, and I really wanted to do this w/the Coop women, as I didn’t believe that everything they called “sufa” was wool and “ktn” was cotton. So I had taken samples of their yarn home with me to test the Burn Chart myself. I also used (my new favorite tool) Google Translator to translate it into French, since Zahra knows French.

Sat down w/Zahra to explain what this was and we started with what I knew was wool. Burned it, took Zahra thru the chart and she identified that it was wool from the chart (see I then had Zahra bring the materials she wanted to test and had her walk thru the chart to identify the fibers herself. Not surprisingly there was a lot of acetate. Most of which they had called “sufa”. I was happy to see how open and interested Zahra was in this information. You never know-did she know what it was and was trying to pass it off as something it wasn’t? Did she not really know what the fibers were and trusted whoever sold it to her? Was everything just considered “sufa, xit wla ktn”? Again, it could have been sticky doing it with her in front of all the women if something wasn’t right. However, she was most interested, asked me to do the demonstration with all the women, and I gave her the chart and told her to take it and a brika (lighter) with her whenever she’s going to buy materials.

I also had a good discussion w/Aicha as to why this was important. It is essential that they know what they are paying for and that they don’t pay wool prices for acetate material. It is also important that they label their products accurately. I don’t know if this will change what they use, but I will incorporate this into the Marketing and Sales workshops when we discuss reputation, quality, labeling and what the customer wants.

Most enlightening. Literally and figuratively.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What an interesting and important lesson. Hope the women take it to heart. Love,Tammy