Friday, June 11, 2010


OK, so I didn’t get this posted yesterday, nor will I today, but have time to write, so will take advantage of that and post later….

Good week in Rabat-pretty productive meetings.

Started with helping to run a workshop on Tuesday with the 1st year SBD PCVs. Mike had done the planning, and 3 of us facilitated Workshop and Project Development workshops-mine focusing on Marketing. Finished late in the day and I made an early night of it-was really pooped. Must have felt a cold coming on, as woke up w/it on Wednesday. Realized that it’s one of only 2 colds I’ve had my entire time here in Morocco. That’s what getting all the sleep you need can do for you-go figure-you ought to try it!

Wednesday was spent at the PC headquarters over in Agdal (different part of Rabat). We can get on wi-fi there and met w/different staff. I had a productive meeting w/the SBD program staff on a variety of topics. I’m lobbying to be replaced by 2 PCVs in the next group coming in September. I think that a couple would be terrific, especially if one has product development expertise and the other has business experience. No less than 5 new Associations or Cooperatives have formed and are active in REK since the first of the year. Each one of them has approached me to help them with their business and product development. In addition, REK is such a good site for PCVs-very welcoming, receptive, understand that we’re not coming w/money, but skills, etc. I hope that this happens, for the sake of the REK organizations that could really benefit from this type of help. I also wanted to talk thru the future of Marche Maroc w/the program staff-to get their input, support and share my vision, especially as we work on a proposal to get Ministry support for the future ($$ especially).

One of my hopes was to get a pedicure before going to Paris, and tried (unsuccessfully) to book one at a salon I’d been to before here in Rabat. They’ve changed hands and don’t have a technician right now. Bummer. Went down the street to another nice hotel that has a spa. Got their number and called them in the morning-booked at 5pm. Kristen and I walk over-arriving at 5:02. They say they have someone already, and something about 15 minutes, then can I come back in 1 hour. Huh? I’m here for my appointment. Oh, but we just took someone in. Can I come back tomorrow? No, I’ve got an appt. Did the other person have one? No. So why did you take her? You were late. By 2 minutes? No, it’s 15 after-yeah, now that we’ve been discussing this for 13 minutes, but I was on time. Realize that it doesn’t matter what I say or how upset I am, I’m not going to get my pedicure at 5 or 5:30 and now don’t want to have it done by them at all. Pissed. You should see my feet. Embarrassing calluses-I’ll spare you the details, but really, you wanna see how desperate I am? Tfoo! So what do we do? Go to Kristen’s favorite hole-in-the-wall salon where she always gets a zwin haircut when she’s in town. As luck would have it, they can take me right away for a pedicure. God bless her parents-the woman who gave me my pedicure should go straight to heaven-no questions asked. I couldn’t even stand the thought of touching those bad feet, and she had me walking on air on the way out. Felt so good, decided to get my long hair trimmed and blown out as well-won’t I be ready for Paris? And all for a grand total of about $16. Lovin’ it.

Today was Craft Fair day-ran the training for the morning to get the 1st years thinking about what they can do to help their artisans w/craft fairs and exhibits and got the next committee chairs for the 2010-2011 Marche Marocs signed up-we’ve got their commitment to keep this initiative going. Staff from the Ministry of Artisana also came over for a session-led to an interesting idea to take back to the Adwal women. The Ministry is supporting Cooperative branding (we’ve got our logo) as well as Ministry Quality Certification (Adwal’s not yet up to their standards). In addition, they’re supporting regional branding, aka wine appellations of France. For example, there are the Rabati rugs-zrbya hand-woven in the patterns and colors unique to Rabat. I spoke w/my Ministry quality contact about Adwal’s black and white design and whether we could “brand” it as from REK, even tho’ others in the Middle Atlas weave this pattern. Adwal was created to help preserve this pattern, and not many others do it. She said we should pursue this-could be a great marketing opportunity if I can make it happen. Stay tuned.

Just back now from dinner-a Chinese restaurant-finally found it-heard about it before, but never made our way there. Lemon chicken, sushi, alcohol, prawn chips, what’s not to like? Anything besides chicken panini, falafel, pizza or Italian is a welcome change. And this was good. Not great, but worth repeating. Gonna finish up this post and read my International Herald Tribune. Hard to find-only English paper in Morocco and find one about every 2-3 months, so this newspaper-loving reader is going to dig in.

Kristen and I got up this morning and headed to Khemisset to visit Lisa for the day before heading to Paris tomorrow for a week. Little did we know how easy it was going to be to convince Lisa to join us. We have extra space in the apartment, she can get on our flight, fares are reasonable and she’s a foodie too. She’s finishing the booking now-it will be so much fun! She also now has internet in her place, so I’ll get this posted. B’slama.

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