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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

Poem

On loved ones we have lost or never met| There | I will always be hurt there pain there can’t describe there sometimes there is on my mind when I imagine that you may have been there too pause break Une douleur imortalisee* let there be Sabar* for me for you there. Phrase and Proverb Glossary: Une douleur immortalisee (a pain immortalised written in French), Sabar (the patience wished on those who are especially grieving the loss of a lovedRead more

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Marrakech Series | Musical Chairs | An impromptu tour of the Kasbah leads me back to questions around the nature of North African street socials. It has been a thing and continues to be a thing since the region’s pre and post colonial liberation periods. Men drag their wooden stools and ideas from corner to corner in pursuit of a conversation. They speak of politics and daily struggles, family woes and causes for celebration. Depending on cultural and religious etiquette,Read 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 | 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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Doha Series | Maghrib |The call to prayer echos throughout the older parts of the city and across the centralised Souq. Men rush to perform oblution before the call is over. It’s a magnetic force of good to remind them all that whatever happens from day to day, a collective prayer keeps them hopefully united, humble and giving.Read 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