The day we visited the Step Pyramid in Saqqara, and had lunch at The Saqqara Palm Club, nobody really felt like leaving the bus when it stopped in front of a big yellow building. Everyone was hot and tired. It was around 3.30 pm by then and we were all looking forward to getting back to the hotel – but being part of a tour the choice is to go along or sit in the bus……….I was glad I went along!
We entered the building by the lower floor where we saw children as young as seven and as old as 17, sitting on looms weaving carpets. With my western trained mind ‘child labour’ was my first thought – it wasn’t so. These children were orphans which had been taken off the streets, and had been given a home here. This was a Carpet School
And for a few hours a day, part of the children’s education is to learn weaving carpets from the older craftsmen who work here. – Their little fingers tied each new knot effortless, and quickly, following a pattern hanging in front of them.
After seeing how these carpets are mad, the only thing on everybody’s mind was how can I buy one I didn’t need a carpet, but I was as keen as everybody else to go upstairs were hundreds of carpets were waiting for us – piled up, rolled up, and hanging on walls.
It made it hard to find the right one (I needed one after all) – “Sorry I am so slow making up my mind, but they are all so beautiful.”
And with a friendly grin the young salesman answered,” Ok – is what I do – you want more to see?”
“Yes, can we look at that stack over there?” And when Ismal held up the next one, I felt as if the bright, happy colours and its natural fauna design had all the sunshine of Egypt woven into it.
No, I am not using it as a carpet, it has become a wall-hanging, brightening up my office and my days. Here some close-ups of the work
More from Egypt soon