Craftsmanship can be found in countries like Morocco or Egypt everywhere. Many things are still created by hand, be it carpets, shoes, leather goods, lamps or bowls. Also for us Europeans, craftsmanship is infinitely enriching and a balance to computer work. I recently watched a YouTube video to learn how to fold an origami star. I had to watch the video over and over again and needed some attempts. Suddenly a ready Origami star lay before me. It was really a small feeling of success and a nice change.
Enrichment by experiencing other cultures
Although I am probably purely German from my origin, I have been carrying the European and Oriental cultures within me for almost 20 years. Both cultures strengthen me and enrich my life. I was born and raised in Germany, went to school and university there. My values have also developed during my travels in the Orient and through life in these cultures. I have often immersed myself in another culture and have found that it is much more like me than I thought. I have become aware that you can only understand another culture if you take the effort to get to know it. Other cultures can enrich our lives. But we must take the time to treat them with respect and openness. Only then can we really immerse ourselves in another culture and benefit from this experience.
On every journey in the Orient, whether in Morocco, Egypt or Oman, I met endlessly friendly, laughing and helpful people. On my last guided trip through Morocco, one of my participants said that the Moroccans had kept something childlike and carefree. I also notice again and again how much is laughed and enjoyed in the streets of Marrakesh, Tunis or Cairo. It is unbelievably beautiful to often observe this lightheartedness of people and to be carried along by it. Perhaps it is precisely the encounters with these people that give me the feeling that we can really learn a lot from the people in the Orient.
They have preserved things that we have often lost, also regarding craftsmanship. In the Orient many things are still created by hand. In Fez we visited on our journey ‚Magical Morocco‘ a pottery where every step is still made by hand. One visitor asked critically whether such a craft business would be worth it at all…
Preserving values such as originality and a sense of the original
I believe that life should not only be about profit maximization, but also and above all about originality. These are values we must preserve at all costs. Craftsmanship helps us to be with ourselves and verifiably prevents depression and burnout. If we are dealing with some artistic work such as pottery, knitting or painting, we concentrate on this work at this moment. So we are less likely to get bad thoughts. By repeating simple steps, the whole thing even gets something meditative.
The Middle Ages are still alive in Morocco
To this day, women in the Atlas Mountains and the oases of Morocco wash their clothes in the river, carry baskets and their children on their backs. When you look at these veiled women sitting in the river, you feel like you have been transported back to the Middle Ages. Somehow the Middle Ages are still alive in these places of the world: be it through the women on the river who wash their clothes by hand or through the many handicraft businesses throughout Morocco, where most of the work is still done by hand. in the medina of Fez goods are still dragged through the streets by mules. Fortunately, there is still the chance to experience old traditions and activities. I am grateful that such places still exist in the world. Especially at these places I am able to switch off and recharge my batteries for the stressful everyday life in Europe.
Craftsmanship versus digitization
And when I hear the digitization critics here in our country who warn us about where we are heading, then I think exactly of these places. I think to myself: Thank God that these original places still exist. Probably they are a very important counter-component to higher, faster, further. If you asked me if I would prefer to live in a futuristic high-tech city with flying cars and self-ordering refrigerators or in an old oriental city, then there’s only one answer for me… An Alexa won’t come into my house for sure.
In this sense, take time to pause and do things with your own hands.