Finishing my fourth week at work, I have now started to feel well integrated in the life of Casablanca, Oriflame and the Moroccan society. Work thrills me, I feel challenged and am learning a lot at the same time as I really get to explore Casablanca thanks to the reduced office hours during Ramadan. In other words, I have no complaints and life is really good here.
My projects have by now started for real and I am planning my own time and progress with the support of my mentors. The first two weeks were mainly focused on learning and absorbing as much as I could about how Oriflame works. I have learned what it means to act in the direct selling industry and in a market such as Morocco. A key take-away has been the importance of relations in this kind of business and how strong the network of Oriflame is. Only in Morocco the network consist of no less than 90 000 consultants. I have also had the opportunity to travel a lot, visiting different branches and getting to meet many of the inspiring people working as consultants and selling Oriflame's products. This has been one of my favorite parts of the job, hearing their stories, and without wanting to sound cheesy or selling, realizing that Oriflame is really working ”to fulfill dreams” and ”empowering women”. I also want to highlight the aspect of the company as being a very open-minded and entrepreneurial firm, despite it being a big global enterprise. I have always received positive support when presenting ideas or while brainstorming new solutions, and everyone is taking time for me, no matter at which level in the hierarchy the person works. In this way, I am experiencing a motivated workplace with a good atmosphere, where people dare to try to solve things in new creative ways.
Since the reduced office hours I have also been very lucky to have a lot of time to explore Casablanca and its surroundings. Casablanca is a real big city with, according to wikipedia, 5 Million people (I have heard this number varying between 5-7 and sometimes even 8 Million, so I am not really sure). Anyway, it is big, with the typically ”big-city” lifestyle. There are tons of restaurants, cafés, malls etcetera and, apparently, clubs as well (even if they now are closed during Ramadan). Ramadan is quite an experience, where you go for ”Iftar”, meaning the traditional breakfast after sunset around 7.50 pm. At the Iftar friends and family are having their first meal of the day with each other, sharing all the different meals and dishes. You have your Iftar either at a restaurant, someones home or even by bringing your food to the beach. I have really started to appreciate this giving part of the culture, where we sometimes even are sharing lunch at the office. The culture is focused on the giving and sharing rather than strict lines, parting what belongs to me and what belongs to you.
In the vicinity of Casablanca you also have the opportunity to experience some magical places where you can hike, hang out at beautiful beaches or go to the small fish villages along the coast. For the last two weekends, I have spent them in Qulidiya, just 2 hours drive from Casablanca. It is originally a fishing village and we have bought fish straight from the fishing boats when they are reaching land. The city is also located next to a lagoon where the water is warm and calm, and and you can go surfing just where the calm lagoon meets the Atlantic ocean full of waves.
I hope these pictures will give you some insight into my life here in the northern parts of Africa,