Friday, 15 December 2017

They never forget you

The kindness of the leather repair man

My handbag - of beautiful soft camel leather bought in the Marrakech souks - was coming apart a little at one seam, so I decided to take it along for a stitching job to the general leather repair man, who also doubles up as the shoeshine man. He sits at a street corner next to the news stand and I knew where he was because I had been to see him before with a sandal to repair. And as soon as I began with my painful Arabic - salaam a lekuum and afak, can you fix my bag - he remembered me. He took my bag, looked at what needed to be done and reached for his needle and thread. 

I said I could come back later but no, 'bilati, blati' (wait) he said and offered me a stool next to him, from where I could watch the street life go by.

He sewed away cheerfully and generally tidied up my bag, trimming off odd pieces of thread elsewhere. When he'd finished I asked him how much? But he just smiled and motioned me away. Nothing?! No, no, I could not believe it, but he just smiled at me again. I left something anyway and then we both asked Allah for mutual blessings.

I told a Moroccan friend this lovely story and he said it is quite common for repair men like this to remember you and take to you if you have made an effort in their language. 

I love this type of genuine warmth and generosity that I find in Morocco.

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