My heart is still in Tunis

Posted on 26/07/2018, Michaela Hoferová

Francesco Volpi, our Trainer, visited with couple of colleagues vendor site in Tunis to deliver customer support training to the new colleagues. Francesco describes not only how he felt about the local culture, vibe, food and people but also what were the challenges of training, how he relaxed after work and what are his travel tips.

Francesco Volpi, our Trainer, visited with couple of colleagues our vendor site in Tunis to deliver customer support training to our new colleagues. Read more about his experience with training and Tunisia as such.

If somebody asked me what the most important element of travel is, I would reply “People”. They are the soul of the place you visit; they enrich you with their culture and by basically being themselves. Please reader, join me in this fascinating Tunisian adventure.


First impressions

I arrive in Tunis in the evening and I am immediately struck by a charming scene that you can expect in a spy movie when the undercover agent lands in a southern country: palms and the Tunisian flag flapping in front of the last shades of the African sunset. Oh my God, I feel like Robert Redford and Tom Cruise now!

Charming Tunisia. (Francesco Volpi)

Habib, the driver, does not speak English very well, but we somehow manage to communicate and we leave the airport towards Gammarth where I will sleep for the next three weeks. On the way to the hotel I keep discovering Tunis; hundreds of palms stud the streets full of “crazy” drivers. They overtake cars from both sides, and the rules of the road are only a long forgotten book. However, I feel at home because I used to drive like this in my beloved Rome.


Italy meets Tunisia

Now, it’s time to introduce two other characters, Miguel and Tereza, my colleagues. They welcome me and we go to a fantastic Italian restaurant. Yes, my first dinner in Tunisia is pasta avec legumes, pasta with veggies, but Au Bon Vieux Temps is definitely worth a visit.

From front to back: Amal, Klara, Salma, Barbara, Ana & me. (Francesco Volpi)

Miguel and Tereza are the best company I could ask for, and my first night in Tunis proceeds happily between laughs and stories about this, still for me, mysterious country. By the way, Tunis feels like a real Babel Tower because everybody, really, everybody speaks multiple languages, and Italian is one of the favourites. Walking on the streets of Tunis and speaking in my language is insane, and I love it!


Training kick-off

It’s June 18th, my first day of work, and I am nervous because I have never trained people abroad. Habib takes us to work and we meet the Operation Manager, Samir, who immediately smiles at me and shows me the building. After a brief tour, I go with Miguel to meet the trainees. And our training journey begins. They are energetic (even though Ramadan finished just the week before), eager to learn, full of questions about processes and friendly; the perfect trainees for a trainer!


Chill & relax in Tunis

The next afternoon, I am in medina (the old walled part of a North African town) with Miguel and Tereza. We want to try the famous mint tea, so we ask a local for directions and he literally leaves his shop and guides us to the tea house! Yes, you heard well. He left his shop! Tunisians are like this. If you need something they will try to help you as much as they can.

For 50 Tunisian Dinar I had the chance to be pecked on my arm, shoulder and head by this noble bird of prey. (Francesco Volpi)

Italy meets Tunisia vol 2

Ah, I forgot to introduce four new characters of my adventure. Meet Barbara, Klara, Ana and Antonin, my other colleagues. As the training continues, I get to know the trainees more and more. They are always kind (Tesnim and Salma sometimes laugh a bit, most probably because of my strong Italian accent), and during breaks they suggest some Tunisian dishes for me to try. One evening, we arrange to go to the medina with them and they take us to a characteristic bar at the top of an ancient building. On the way to the roof, we see the bed where the Pasha used to sleep with his spouses. The view from the bar is just breathtaking with its buildings shining in the night. Surrounded by the sea on one side and the hill on the other. A show for the eyes. We celebrate this moment smoking shisha and listening to Ikram (a trainee) singing traditional songs. We end this awesome night taking selfies together.

When it comes to sunbathing, my approach is a bit different. (Francesco Volpi)

Final moments

During my third and final week in this beautiful country, trainees begin working on the floor and are using the knowledge they have acquired in the training sessions. They are well prepared and with the help of the walkers they solve difficult cases, and make our customers happy. We are proud of them. The mission is complete!

Now, I am back in my apartment in Brno, and I am behind the computer writing about this adventure: Tunis part 1. Yes, I will go back soon to have a vacation with the trainees! I can’t wait to see them again and explore Sahara, Djerba and much more!