Two weeks ago, I got the note that I am invited to join the CSC Morocco 4 team. Yipee – so excited !

For the non-IBMers, CSC stands for Corporate Services Corps which is a global leadership program that brings together a selected number of IBM employees with communities in developing countries for month-long assignments. Basically, this is your corporate Peace Corps program, except that you have folks from various countries and they all work for IBM (and the places they send you are not so dangerous :-))

I have to admit that when I applied and said Africa was my first choice – I had Kenya, Tanzania or South Africa in mind. I didn’t really think the Northern Africa was an option due to the political instabilities in Mali, Nigeria, Algeria, Egypt and Libya. So Morocco was a little bit of a surprise – but I am already thinking about couscous, mint tea and some good lamb !

Nine of my colleagues and I will be doing lots of cultural and skill training in the next 3 months, so we are mentally and culturally ready to make a difference. So this will not be a surprised to many of you – but I have already started my vigorous preparations.

  • Signed up for a month long Arabic class at Emory (have zero skills here in reading and writing), my other languages will do nothing for me in the French influenced country !
  • Signed up for a photography class so I can master the new Canon T3i and capture the beauty of landscape and people of Africa
  • Started planning my post-assignment vacation week so Brian can join me 🙂
  • Signed up the boys for camps so Brian and Kathy (my dearest nanny) can pick them up and drop them off together ! (critical logistics)
  • Bought 2 Morocco travel books and spending about 5 mins a night trying to go thru the basics
  • Dug up the book Stolen Lives by Malika Oufkir that I bought a few years back about the story of a daughter of Moroccan’s king’s confidante who was accused of assassinating the king himself – and the consequences the family paid for it – pretty much the only historical knowledge I have at this point !
  • Started thinking about transition of my work activities during the month of May !
  • Started this travel blog so I can keep folks updated (and hopefully will have access and time to update in Tangier)
Tangier Bay at night
Tangier Bay at night

Besides that, it hasn’t really hit me much. On Sunday, Brian and I were watching the last Bourne movie and I was so excited to see portions were in Tangier, where I will be from May 17 to June 15. White roofs, great seaside, diverse people, fantastic looking markets – pretty lively so I am sure the month will go by quickly. So much for my first entry…. hopefully will be able to spice it up later…