Archives - ‘Morocco’

Un travail significatif

October 2, 2019 | Étienne, Maîtrise en Développement international et mondialisation, Maroc, Forum des fédérations, Projet MENA

Le début de mon stage avec le Forum des Fédération ne pouvait mieux se dérouler. Premièrement, l’équipe est très énergique, engagée et soucieuse de l’apprentissage qui m’est transmis. Je suis arrivé à Rabat un lundi et on m’attendait à la gare, l’hospitalité marocaine se faisant déjà sentir. Le projet « Autonomisation des Femmes pour des Rôles de Leadership dans la Région MENA » est un projet qui demande beaucoup de travail et d’effort de la part de l’équipe régional au Maroc.

Pour la première fois de ma jeune carrière professionnelle, je sens réellement que l’équipe dans laquelle je travaille à besoin de mon apport. Ce travail teste tous les enseignements qui m’ont été enseignés lors de mes études de 1er cycle et de 2e cycle. Je dois rédiger des notes de cadrage où la synthèse et la concision sont de mise, je participe à des discussions très interactives où mon avis et mes questionnements sont pris en considération, je travaille sur des projets où leurs réalisations sont essentielles à l’avancée du travail. Ainsi, la distinction entre stagiaire et employé ne se fait sentir que très peu. Lors de ma première semaine de travail, j’ai dû plonger dans le vif du travail. Toute l’équipe préparait le comité de pilotage (voir la photo ci-dessus), une grande réunion de direction regroupant tous les partenaires du projet de développement. Au sein de réunion et seulement après 7 jours au sein de l’équipe, j’avais comme tâche de réaliser le procès-verbal de toute la réunion. Cette tâche est primordiale, car elle recense les recommandations faites par toutes les parties prenantes en lien avec le plan d’action annuel 2018-2019. À la fin de la réunion, le représentant d’Affaires Mondiales Canada, M. Patrick Lemieux, m’a même demandé de lire ces recommandations. Je ne pouvais demander mieux comme expérience professionnelle dans le domaine du développement international !

Cette première expérience passée, je ne pu m’empêcher de considérer ma chance d’être dans cet environnement de travail, où je sens mon expertise être considérée. Mis à part le travail, Rabat et le Maroc furent très bons pour moi jusqu’à présent. Rapidement, je me suis fait une amie dans le train allant de l’aéroport à Rabat. Voyant que j’étais un étranger en transit, Safae, une Marocaine de Meknès, a proposé de m’aider à me repérer dans la ville, de me présenter ses amis et de participer à des activités les fins de semaine afin que j’évite de me retrouver seul. Que de gentillesse ! Cette rencontre m’a permis de visiter des endroits où très peu de touristes ont la chance d’aller. Je suis allé faire du surf en groupe, j’ai été présenté plusieurs personnes de mon âge et j’ai pu observer la manière dont ces jeunes adultes vivaient. Cette expérience culturelle unique fût très enrichissante.

Mon dernier commentaire concerne mon appartement. Il est facile de sous-estimer l’importance du lieu où nous dormons, puisque nous passons la majorité de notre temps à l’extérieur de cet endroit. Cependant, pour mon cas, expatrié et dans un environnement qui m’est inconnu, je dois remercier le Forum des Fédérations des efforts qu’ils ont faits pour que je me sente chez moi. Mon appartement est parfait pour moi, dans un endroit sécurisé et à quelques pas de mon travail. Je ne pouvais demander mieux. Lorsque je rentre à la maison après une longue journée de travail, je peux me reposer calmement, profiter du confort et de la propreté de ce logement et me sentir comme « à la maison ». Sans les efforts du Forum des Fédérations, je n’aurais pu avoir cette qualité des vies. Merci !

Beautiful memories

July 29, 2019 | Oumaima, Major in Criminologyand Minor in Women's Studies, Morocco, Forum of Federations

Interning in Morocco for three months was incredibly a beautiful experience. As mentioned in my last blog, I was born in Morocco so completing this internship in my homeland is something that I looked forward to. The first two months here were hard because I had to adapt to a new work environment and a new culture even if I am originally Moroccan. Everything here is different from back home. The culture, the traditions, the norms, the mentality, the lifestyle and the people here. I’ve been able to travel during my days off to different parts of Morocco. Every trip was just an unforgettable and I’m happy I had the chance to explore my native land.

After visiting Northern Morocco, I wanted to travel somewhere where I can get lost in nature and get out of the city. My cousins and me planned a day trip to Ouzoud Falls which is the collective name for several tall waterfalls that empty into the El-Abid River gorge. This popular tourism destination is located near the Moyen Atlas village of Tanaghmeilt, in the province of Azilal, 150 km northeast of Marrakech, Morocco. I was always stunned by the nature in Morocco but part of me didn’t want to go because I have motion sickness and I can’t stand long car rides. Ouzoud Falls are approximately a four hour (250km) drive from Casablanca. We left early in the morning and we made several stops to take pictures and just enjoy the beautiful view of the mountains. Once we arrived to Ouzoud, a tour guide showed us the way through the mountains to see the falls. It was approximately 45 minutes of hiking. Walking up and down hills was yet exhausting and magnificent. I would’ve never knew that the nature here is breathtaking. There were many trees and small waterfalls. The smell of the water and the nature was definitely something I enjoyed during this trip. When we arrived at the bottom of the falls, alongside a beautiful view, we had a delicious Moroccan chicken Tajine ; slow-cooked stews braised at low temperatures, resulting in tender meat with aromatic vegetables and sauce. They are traditionally cooked in the tajine pot, whose cover has a knob-like formation at its top to facilitate removal. After our meal we explored around the city and bought some souvenirs for friends and family. After exploring we drove to a small island near Ouzoud. The water was crystal clear blue and we went on a boat ride. We started driving back to Casablanca around 6 pm and I took the train back to my apartment in Rabat at 10:30 pm.

This trip was so much fun and I enjoyed every moment with my cousins. I absolutely loved the nature in Morocco and I’m definitely going to travel to other parts of Morocco in the future. Travelling helped me stay positive during my internship and I was able to create some beautiful memories with my loved ones.

Anna of Arabia – My Desert Experience

July 22, 2019 | Anna, International Studies and Modern Languages(French Immersion), Forum des Fédérations, Maroc,

In my time in Morocco I have been fortunate enough to travel and explore the country. One of my most memorable trips was to Zagora Desert which is on the edge of the Sahara. It is located around 700 km from Rabat the capital where I work and so I spent the majority of the weekend travelling.

Two friends and I traveled to Marrakech by train which took about 4 hours. In Marrakech, we joined an organized tour group called Marrakech Desert Trips who basically took care of everything for us. Our tour group consisted of 3 Greek men in their 40s, a Japanese man, a quiet American woman and us. We left Marrakesh at 8:30am and Jamal our driver began to drive through the Atlas Mountains. The Atlas Mountains are a mountain range which stretches an estimated 2,500 km through Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia and separating the Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines from the Sahara Desert. The mountain roads were very crazy and often times we were driving with only a small barrier between us and the bottom of the mountain. Jamal drove with ease and an air of calm which helped me to relax and enjoy the trip.

At lunch, we stopped at Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou a UNESCO world heritage site located in Ouarzazate province and is described as “a perfect synthesis of earthen architecture of the pre-Saharan regions of Morocco”. The historical site is featured in many movies and TV shows such as Game of Thrones which I thought was super cool.

After our lunch of lemon tagine chicken, we got back in our van and drove to Zagora. When we arrived just before sunset, we were put on camels and led to the desert camp. The camel ride was about an hour long and while I enjoyed every minute of it, the reality is that camels are very uncomfortable. Camels are not a smooth ride and you sway a lot when you are on them and therefore, it is difficult to keep your balance. There are also different types of camels, the ones with one hump which are the ones used in Morocco are called Dromedary camels. Dromedaries are native to Northern Africa and aren’t found in the wild anymore since they have been domesticated after hundreds of years of use by nomads.

After arriving at our desert camp, we settled in and had tea on the dunes with our guide Youssef who led us by camel through the desert. Moroccans love very bitter mint tea with lots of sugar and to cool the tea and make a foamy top they will pour it into the cups and back into the pot several times. At around 10 pm, we were served a dinner of chicken tagine chicken and watermelon which was delicious. Then at around 11:30, the guides made a campfire, got out their drums and began to sing. They sang in their native tongue Berber while we watched in fascination. Youssef and the other guides are Berbers or Amazighs (which is what they prefer to be called) meaning free people. They are an ethnic group of several indigenous peoples of North Africa who predate the Arab invasion. The Amazighs do not have their own country because when colonizers divided Africa, they created borders straight through their lands meaning that the majority of the estimated 30 million Amazigh are divided across North Africa.

We went to bed in our tent at midnight knowing that we had to be up for our 6:30 am breakfast. As you probably know the desert is really hot! During the day it was +45 degrees and at night, it was a cool 30. It was an absolutely brutal night because I had to keep drinking water (which was so hot it could have been tea) to stay hydrated and because I continued to sweat more than I ever have in my life despite not moving. The desert is an eerie place especially at night because there is no sound. It is not a peaceful silence like you get camping in Canada because there is no rustling of trees, birds or any other sound. It’s like a void. Any sound you make seems to travel so even whispering sounds loud. It was also a full moon so the entire desert was illuminated, and you could see everything meaning that one didn’t need a flashlight to travel between tents. It was like a huge blinding streetlamp. Understandably, I didn’t sleep very well and maybe got 3 hours of sleep.

In the morning, we had a small breakfast of toast and tea before taking some last photos and getting back on our camels. After a short 30-minute ride we got back into our van with our tour group and began the long drive to Marrakech. During our trip back to Marrakech we stopped at Ouarzazate nicknamed the door of the desert chiefly inhabited by Amazighs it is the site of many Kasbahs for which the area is known.
I finally made it back to my apartment at 11pm feeling gross from all the sweat, sunscreen, and sand but also incredibly happy to have seen and experienced something so incredible.


June 14, 2019 | Oumaima, Major in Criminologyand Minor in Women's Studies, Morocco, Forum of Federations

My name is Oumaima and I am currently interning in Rabat, Morocco with Forum of Federations. Before I share my experience with you all, it’s important to mention that I was born in Morocco and I immigrated to Canada 15 years ago. I visit Morocco at least twice a year but I have never stayed longer than one week. This internship will be the longest time I’ve spent in Morocco and away from home. The main reason I visited Morocco was to see my family and learn more about my culture and traditions.

Morocco is located in the northwest corner of Africa and is bordered by the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. I was always aware that Morocco is a popular tourist destination and known for its beaches, deserts, and mountains. I’ve been spending most of my weekends in Casablanca with my family. I’m grateful and thankful to have family here. Being around them has made me feel less lonely and they are always ready to give me plenty of advice on the lifestyle and culture here. Even if I am Moroccan, I still feel like a foreigner among the locals. I speak Arabic-Moroccan (Darija) fluently so I never had an issue with communication but oddly when I speak to locals they automatically pick up that I am not from ‘here’ and ask me: ‘Where are you ‘really’ from?’. I would laugh because I definitely look Moroccan but I guess the way I dress and my accent gives them the impression that I’m not a local.

Last weekend, Anna (the other intern) and me went on a weekend trip with my cousin and three other girls we met in Rabat. This was my first time travelling alone without my family and it was an experience that I will never forget. I visited northern Morocco: Tanger, Chefchaouen, Tetouan-Martil, Akchour, M’diq and Fnideq. Every city was so different from the others. Each city is so unique and even the people there had different accents. Chefchaouen is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen and all of the city is painted in blue. Every corner of this city is picturesque and wandering around with the girls was just so relaxing and peaceful. The first thing that attracted my attention was the doors, doorknobs and the different shades of blue on the same street. We explored almost the whole city and I just couldn’t stop myself from taking over 100 pictures within 3 hours. The architecture in Chefchaouen was something I have never seen before. The city is located on a mountain side and is surrounded by hills and mountains. The view on top of the mountain of the whole city was just breathtaking especially watching the sunset. I definitely fell in love with Chefchaouen and I wasn’t ready to leave after only a day of exploring. The beach in Tanger, Martil, M’diq and Fnideq were so beautiful. The sound of the waves crashing against the shore, the smell of the salt water, the blue sky above the sea were very calming and peaceful.

The moroccan cuisine is considered one of the richest in the world. Trying the food here is definitely something that I enjoyed the most during my trip. The taste of fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, and spices are just so delicious. I can’t get over how amazing cooking at home is with all the different spices. Hence, discovering my native land is something new to me and I’m looking forward to other weekend trips in the upcoming six weeks that I have left.

I hope you all get to visit Morocco one day and get to explore the cities here because I promise you that it’s definitely a destination you wanna add to your list.

When family and friends come together

June 10, 2019 | Anna, International Studies and Modern Languages(French Immersion), Forum des Fédérations, Maroc,

Ramadan in a majority Muslim country like Morocco is truly an incredible experience. I have learned so much about the country, the culture and the people who call Morocco home during my short stay here. I was very fortunate to be invited to a handful of Iftars, a meal taken after sunset in which Muslims break their fast. Each breaking of fast has similar dishes with some variations here and there. Many of the dishes are what I would call “figure foods” like little pastries, rolls stuffed with spiced chicken or seafood, and bread with egg, cheese, and turkey sausage. One traditional dish that was found at each sitting was Amlou which is a nut paste that is like a very thick and grainy peanut butter. I loved it and each home seemed to have its own recipe which meant that each Amlou had its own unique taste and texture.

Another traditional dish was a soup called Harira a tomato soup with chickpeas, lentils and chicken which was almost always served at Iftar. Some nights I had a hard time eating the soup because even at night, the air can feel hot and hot soup is the last thing I want when I am dying of heat. But I always had a bowl of it because it was so good! Anther dish is Msemmen a Moroccan bread/pancake which you can put things like cheese, butter, honey, egg and other toppings on. However, the most staple food of any Iftar are dates, dates are always the first thing to be eaten and is the food that everyone breaks their fast with. While I was not a fan of them before arriving, I have grown to love them. Iftar is a time when family and friends come together, and it is truly incredible when the majority of the country stops after sunset and eats together. I have never seen the streets out my window so quiet then between 7 and 8 pm.

My internship is in Rabat which is located on the Atlantic and the beach isn’t far from where I am staying so I enjoy visiting the coast often. I was fortunate to be invited to an Iftar on the beach and it was an incredible experience. The beach was pack with people who had brought their dishes and sat together with their friends and family. The whole beach watched the sun disappear into the ocean filling the sky with the most beautiful colours. Then a silence seemed to settle on the crowded water front as the beach waited for the sound of canons announcing the end of the day and after the canons, the call to prayer begins. Everyone immediately started to dig into their picnic Iftar and the music and laughter joined shortly after.

It was truly a magical experience since one immediately feels connected to all those around you waiting for the same thing and enjoying similar foods. Ramadan is a time where people slow down and take them time to appreciate what you have. Experiencing it for myself was so different from reading and hearing about it and I will never forget what it taught me.

Forger ma passion et explorer l’étranger

March 5, 2019 | Lydie, Spécialisé - Dév. international et mondialisation, Maroc, Forum des Fédérations, Projet MENA, stagiaire

Depuis mon jeune âge, visiter de nouveaux pays et découvrir de nouvelles cultures, me passionnent. Après plusieurs voyages à travers le monde et 4 années d’études à l’Université d’Ottawa, j’ai décidé d’enrichir mes connaissances et de me lancer dans une nouvelle aventure. Faire un stage à l’international me permettrait de forger ma passion et explorer l’étranger me donnerait l’occasion d’entrainer mes habiletés sociales et mon éthique personnelle et professionnelle.

Il est difficile de croire qu’il fait déjà 2 mois que je me retrouve au magnifique Royaume du Maroc. Après mon arrivée à Rabat, je me souviens du revirement très rapide du nouvel environnement, la conduite tout à fait différente, la chaleur accablante, la langue incompréhensible et l’hospitalité de manière insistante. Quel choc culturel ! J’ai compris que ma première expérience sur le continent africain restera vivante dans mon cœur et gravée dans mon esprit. Après avoir pris le temps de m’adapter, j’ai découvert que le Maroc me réservait de grands secrets. Son large éventail de paysages et d’activités me laissa étonnée et fascinée. En effet, chaque ville que j’ai eu l’opportunité de visiter était riche de différence et marquante de leur histoire. J’ai maintenant une vision différente du patrimoine culturel du pays et je ne partirai pas du Maroc sans pincement au cœur.

Au cours de ce stage au sein de l’Organisation canadienne non gouvernementale, le Forum des Fédérations et la mise en place du projet : « Autonomisation des femmes pour les rôles de Leadership dans la région du Moyen-Orient et l’Afrique du Nord : Jordanie, Maroc et Tunisie », j’ai eu la possibilité d’assister et de participer à plusieurs activités de sensibilisation, conférences et formations concernant l’égalité des sexes, la gouvernance inclusive et le leadership féminin. Ces évènements sont organisés avec des acteurs institutionnels (Ministère de la réforme de l’Administration et de la fonction publique), des acteurs civils (Association Démocratique des Femmes du Maroc), des acteurs internationaux (ONU Femmes) et des acteurs académiques (Université Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah). Ma participation aux activités préparées par le Forum Leadership Maroc, m’a permis de mieux connaitre la culture, la situation économique, politique et sociale, l’histoire, les acteurs importants ainsi que les divers défis du pays.

J’ai été particulièrement concerné par la persistance des inégalités en ce qui concerne la question du genre. Dans de nombreux domaines, les filles et les femmes marocaines rencontrent de grandes difficultés culturelles et structurelles. Que ce soit sur le marché du travail, à l’école ou dans la sphère politique, les femmes sont victimes de multiples formes de discrimination. Dans le cadre du projet de mon organisme, je me réjouis de participer activement au renforcement des compétences des femmes leaders établies et celles de la génération future, à l’accroissement de leur influence dans les processus de prise de décision et à la prise en conscience du leadership féminin dans les différentes structures de pouvoir. C’était un grand plaisir d’appuyer les femmes leaders, les partenaires et les jeunes, ainsi que de communiquer avec eux l’importance d’agir tous ensemble pour l’effectivité de l’égalité entre les hommes et les femmes.

Tout au long de ce stage, j’ai acquis beaucoup d’expériences et de connaissances, j’ai agrandi mon savoir, développer une plus grande ouverture d’esprit et un désir profond d’apprendre et d’explorer encore davantage. J’ai développé des aptitudes d’observation différentes et enrichissantes pour ajouter à l’apprentissage en classe. On en sort grandi ! Sans aucun doute, j’encourage vivement cette expérience instructive de stage à l’international

‘If you do not risk anything, you risk even more’ Faouzi Skali

February 20, 2019 | Kaltoum, Spécialisé - Études des conflits et droits humains, Maroc, Forum des Fédérations

It’s been just over a month since I have arrived in Morocco and I’m still mesmerized by this beautiful country. I’m a 4th year student in the Conflict Studies and Human Rights program. This internship puts everything I’ve learned in my academic life to test. For me, what distinguishes a mediocre experience from an exceptional one is how the experience itself shapes us. An unexceptional experience still allows us to discover our deepest inner self, but an exceptional experience totally transforms us.

I’ve decided to pursue humanities studies to better understand the world that surrounds us, the international policies that shapes us and the organizations that ensure that these policies are not only respected but revised to answer today’s reality.

So far, the decision of allowing myself to go through this experience has exposed me to many obstacles but also many proud moments.

Living the experience through the Forum of Federations - Understanding the Forum

Created in 1999 by the Government of Canada, the Forum seeks to promote and strengthen inclusive governance, pluralism and gender equality in federal, decentralized and transitioning federal countries. More than 20 countries around the world have worked with the Forum and contributed to its success.

This being said, working as in intern for the Forum in Morocco and assisting them in their mission to promote and fight for gender equality through their project « Autonomisation des femmes pour les rôles de Leadership dans le Moyen-Orient et l’Afrique du Nord : Jordanie, Maroc et Tunisie » has opened my eyes to so many new issues. Issues I’ve never crossed nor exchanged during my lectures at the University.

As a Program Officer, my tasks include but are not limited to:
● Preparing contracts between partners, members and clients.
● Assisting and participating during workshops. Engaging conversations between the participants and me.
● Logistic and administrative support.
● Writing summary and progress reports of the activities and workshops.
● Drafting presentations for my director.
● Conducting comparative and analytical research.

From the theoretical journey to the practical journey

Although my program of study seeks to promote intellectual dialogue and debates regarding important issues such as food security, wealth inequality, climate change etc., rare were the occasions where we took the time to apprehend and grasp the struggles women go through outside the context of war.

Provided that, ignoring the issues surrounding women and only focusing on the harm done to them leads to no solution nor substantial conclusion. This internship, particularly working for the Forum of Federations, has helped me to understand the importance of recognizing and valuing the role women play; not only to endorse democracy but also to find solutions for other social issues. You quickly realize how everything is interconnected.

Participating in activities led by my organization and witnessing how the women interacted with each other by sharing their ideas and testimonies proved to be a great learning experience. Listening to these women and talking to them was a humbling experience. You quickly notice their strength but most importantly how resilient and courageous they truly are. I started working at the organization with the mindset of “Wow they are so behind compared to Canada” that changed to “Despite the lack of tools and resources available, these women are standing up for themselves and creating their own tools collectively”.

Finally, being an intern really gives you an insight of the “Real world”. It allows you to understand the role you play and can actively play to transform this forever-changing world.

« As-Salaam-Alaikum »

February 11, 2019 | Lydie, Spécialisé - Dév. international et mondialisation, Maroc, Forum des Fédérations, Projet MENA, stagiaire

Une salutation que j’entends ici au Maroc, plusieurs fois par jour. Ces paroles arabes signifient « que la paix soit avec vous ». Que ce soit dans un contexte de travail, social ou autres, c’est la manière dont les gens se saluent.

Cela fait 4 semaines que je suis à Rabat, dans la capitale du Maroc du continent africain. Ville moderne et historique, elle représente le cœur politique et administratif du pays. Je travaille au sein de l’organisation Forum des Fédérations, le réseau mondial sur le fédéralisme et la gouvernance dévolue. Financé par le Gouvernement canadien, le Forum Maroc Leadership participe à la mise en oeuvre du projet intitulé : « Autonomisation des femmes pour les rôles de Leadership dans le Moyen-Orient et l’Afrique du Nord : Jordanie, Maroc et Tunisie ». Le projet tente de parvenir à une gouvernance inclusive en soulignant l’importance du renforcement de capacité des femmes et des jeunes femmes leaders afin de leur offrir la possibilité d’avoir accès aux postes de décision. Aussi, le Forum tente d’accroître la connaissance des hommes et des femmes pour qu’ils soient apte de construire les politiques, les programmes et les actions qui influence de manière positive l’inclusion des femmes dans les domaines culturels, politiques et sociaux.

Dans cette organisation, mes tâches en tant que stagiaire sont variées, elles s’articulent principalement autour du leadership et de l’autonomie des femmes. Mon travail est bien structuré, il m’expose à plusieurs domaines de recherche, de logistique, de soutien administratif, de rédaction de rapports sur les activités et du suivi et de l’évaluation de ceux-ci. Dans l’aisance de mes fonctions, j’ai eu la possibilité d’assister à des conférences sur l’importance de l’institutionnalisation de l’égalité entre les sexes et les droits de la personne, de participer à des formations concernant la promotion du leadership féminin et de la gouvernance inclusive, de contribuer à des ateliers relatifs à l’intégration du principe de l’équité, de travailler auprès de femmes fonctionnaires au sujet des compétences et stratégies juridiques, etc. J’ai eu également l’opportunité d’acquérir de l’expérience dans le cadre de l’autonomisation des femmes, d’identifier les divers enjeux et d’explorer le pays en voyageant dans différentes régions concernées par le projet. Au bureau hôte à Rabat, je suis responsable de la rédaction et de la production de rapports aux donateurs d’après les activités réalisées. De plus, je rédige des contrats de mission entre les différents membres, participants et experts des évènements. Passionné par le domaine du droit, le Forum me permet d’exécuter concrètement du travail juridique. Ces pratiques enrichissantes me permettent d’accroître mes compétences et mettre en pratique mon savoir. D’ailleurs, ces travaux me permettront éventuellement de poursuivre une carrière dans la sphère de la justice et du droit.

Après déjà un mois de stage, je m’efforce au mieux de m’intégrer au différent mode de vie. Toutefois, je sens que je me suis rapidement bien adaptée. Ayant eu la chance de faire des déplacements avec le Forum dans différentes régions du Maroc, je crois qu’il est important de saisir ces occasions pour explorer et découvrir le pays. Il sera intéressant de comprendre le choix des régions et d’observer les différentes particularités des villes. J’apprécie pouvoir constamment changer d’environnement, d’apprendre du nouveau et de saisir de nouvelles opportunités. À ce jour, j’apprécie chaque moment de mon stage et je suis impatiente d’apprécier et de relever de nouveaux défis.

In case of an emergency…

October 26, 2016 | Michelle, DVM, Forum des Alternatives Maroc “FMAS” Chargée de communication en appui à la société civile pour la COP22

While we discussed sickness during the pre-departure days, and while I somewhat expected to get sick while I was here, I also (naively) hoped that it simply wouldn’t happen, and that if I set my mind to it, I would be fine. Unfortunately, I was wrong.

In my second week, during a meeting, I started to feel ill and immediately knew that something was about to go badly. On my way back to our apartment, in 28 degrees, I started feeling extremely cold. By the time I got home, I was shivering uncontrollably and putting on every piece of clothing that I had brought to Morocco, including a down coat.

To make a long story short, I vomited and shivered and sweat and couldn’t get warm for the better part of two days. My entire body was in extreme pain, and my head ached like crazy. In a sort of delirious state, I told myself that this would pass if I just waited, but eventually started getting scared and thought I might need to see a doctor.

When this dawned on me, however, I also remembered that I had used all of my cash and would not be able to make it to a bank machine to get more in order to pay for a taxi. If that weren’t enough, when I picked up my phone to call the insurance company and figure out which hospital to go to, it was out of credit. So there I was, insanely sick, with no money, and no ability to phone anyone.

Thankfully, when my colleague got home from work, he called the insurance company and figured out which medical facility we should go to if it came to it. My supervisor also extended the offer to drive me there, for which I was immensely grateful. Even so, I realized that if I had been alone, I could have been totally screwed, and learned some important lessons in the process:

1) Figure out where the (most appropriate) hospital / clinic / medical facility is, what its hours of operation are and how to get there before you get sick.
2) Make sure you have enough money (cash) for a taxi to get to a medical facility.
3) Make sure you have enough phone credit to call the insurance company or someone else to help you.

In the end, I did start feeling a tiny bit better, and gradually regained some strength. There happened to be a scale in the apartment, and when I was finally well enough to get up and walk around a bit, I was shocked to discover that I had lost 3kg in such a short time frame.

I don’t really have a clear idea what caused this - perhaps a sip of tap water, or perhaps some fruit offered to me from some very kind local people on a train. Regardless, I have been quite careful ever since and pretty much given up on the idea of “getting used” to tap water here in order to minimize the amount of plastic bottles that go straight into the garbage, even though this pains me.

Creating your own role

August 2, 2016 | Hana, ECH, Alternatives, Maroc - Forum des Alternatives Maroc,

I have been blessed with my job experiences in that I have learned to create my own role, create my own tasks and make my unique skills of use to others. I study human rights and conflict studies but I have an innate passion for numbers and some graphic making competencies. What I learned through my different work experiences is that people generally are not too great with visualizing data and that my skillset is actually really useful and helpful for just about any organization and especially ones that deal with the public and have to distill information. Knowing this after the first couple days passed and I wasn’t given any work I decided to show my superviser some of things I’ve done so he could make use of my graphic design abilities. This then opened a new horizon, giving me work to do, a freedom with my work as my expertise was trusted and proven and work that I genuinely like to do and helps me strengthen my portfolio.

While I understand my situation is a little unique because my skills are a little unique you never know what will be of use to someone and so for those who are finding it hard to get into the flow of work and who don’t really have work to do, try and talk to your supervisor(s) and show them your skills and interests. That way they can find something that’s tailored to you and so you feel of use at your work place.

I have attached one of the graphics I have done. It is a map of Morocco divided by the 12 regions of Morocco that outlines the election observation committee’s observation capacity. The colors represent the percentage of the regions that have observers, the size of the people represent the number of observers and then there are the names of the observer supervisors under the region names. This is only one out 49 different maps I have done since I’ve gotten here.