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Algiers Series | Timimoun Connections | A young boy orders some snacks from the tea hotspot in central Algiers. Customers are plenty at this favourite snack hut in the heart of the capital. Friendly chat is exchanged as people wait for their orders of fresh mint tea. The tea shop resembles a hole in the wall but one that is not easily missed. In a box-like store in the wall, a window allows passersby to peer in from the sidewalkRead more

Book

Recommended reading on poets that speak hybrid languages: bint il neel I no surprise it was your father started it taught you allah’s word and said sing daughter sing a bird you sang from your belly to soar over all of egypt in the delta’s villages muwlads weddings ramadan breakfasts you flew your voice no surprise it was god started it put a burning in your mouth and said open up and sing you were young and a novelty voiceRead more

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Algiers Series | Grande Poste Family | Some time has passed and life opens like a beautiful flower. When the people speak of La Grande Poste, my heart flutters with each syllabe as I hang on to every word my father had told of an époque filled with art and creativity. My father spent the best of his youth in an apartment adjacent and arm in arm with the big old architectural beauty that people frequent for their daily mail,Read more

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Algiers Series | Unexpected Love Story | Didou swore by his love for his wife. So much so that he decorated every corner of his inner city apartment block in ceramic celebrations of her life. After all it was her dying wish. In the entrance hallway of a European build, he has plastered pictures of his beloved, family members and memories from his boxing days. Didou talks through every picture like a tribute, each attached to a story he insistsRead more

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Atlas Mountains Series: Berber Woman make Argan Oil I Berber women in the Moroccan Atlas Mountains show me how to extract argan oil from the argania spinosa fruit using traditional methods. The argan nut is carefully cracked and the containing kernal grinded down to a thick paste using a stone quern. The paste is then squeezed by hand to produce the oil. For making argan cooking oil, kernels are often roasted before the grinding process. These women sit outdoors inRead more

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Madinat Shamal Series: Wooden Boats l Two wood carvers sit under a tent in the Al Zubarah desert land located on the north western coast of Qatar. They are making miniature model dhow boats – traditional and specific in style to the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. These wooden vessels were often used for carrying goods around the Persian Gulf, South Asia and East Africa. Smaller dhows were used for pearling around the peninsula.Read more

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Sti Fatma Series: Flour Grinder l A local inhabitant of the Sti Fatma area in the Atlas Mountains shows me a traditional stone grinder used to make flour. Grains are tossed into the funnel shaped basket which ensures the right amount of grain falls onto the stone grinder. A handle is turned in a circular motion and grains are crushed to produce fresh flour.Read more

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Zahle Series: The Baklava Vendor l A baklava street vendor showcases his freshly baked Lebanese pastries, nougat bars and nuts on a promenade along the banks of the Berdawni River. We are surrounded by mountains, limestone cliffs and a pleasant breeze that flows through the valley. He invites us over for a tasting session and we wonder why we ever had lunch.Read more

Book

Recommended reading on universal spirituality in Arab literature: And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. – Khalil Gibran’s 1923 classic The Prophet Image:  Motorbike on Atlas motorway. Marrakech, Morocco.Read more

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Beqaa Lebanon Series: Street Fruit Market l July 2015 On the day of Eid Al Fitr, the local Muslim community of Beqaa Valley shop for fresh fruit and groceries for their first big lunchtime feast as Ramadan comes to an end. The market place is set up outside a mosque in a largely Christian area and mountainous region. Nearby is a highway leading from Beirut to Damascus. I am very near the Syrian border which has seen a few clashes inRead more