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8
Nov

living shop sign - full length copy

It’s not often these days that I come across a shop sign that I love but I saw a great one recently, while walking through the souks of Aleppo. It wasn’t your average enseigne but rather a beautiful young boy sitting on a stool by the entrance of a rather elegant shop, decked out in almost every single item of traditional Syrian clothing, from the sherwal (baggy trousers that have been translated for westerners at different times by great couturiers), to the embroidered cap, to the striped gilet and striped tunic. He sat there quite impassive, neither ushering people in nor doing or saying anything to encourage would-be buyers to go inside. I looked at him quite intrigued, wondering why he was dressed this way then it dawned on me that he must be advertising the clothes and fabrics inside the shop. And he was!

living shop sign - giggling copy

I asked him about his ‘job’ and where I could have a sherwal made for me. Then the owner of the neighbouring shop (who was also sat on a stool by the entrance of his stall though not looking so pretty!) butted in saying it was time Hussein (the boy’s name) stopped being his father’s shop sign and started thinking about marriage, which made Hussein giggle. He looked a little young to get married and of course he was at age fourteen, but he could easily end up like my lovely driver, Abd, who married at seventeen and already has four grown up children at age thirty one!

I loved Hussein. So sweet and so obedient although I am not sure I would have been so compliant if my father had decided to use me in the same way. Luckily he never threatened to, perhaps because he didn’t have a shop selling fabrics, nor anything else for that matter!

Sebastian — 2 old souk of Aleppo, Khan el Sabun, tel: +963 21 332 3672, email: mimo_aka@yahoo.com, www.sebastianaleppo.com. They also have a shop at 1 Citadel Street.

Ps. I went back today and my beautiful boy had a Hoxton fin which is not a welcome development. I told him to wash the gel off and go back to his beautiful curls but more interesting is that the shop does not belong to his father as I was told, but rather to Sebastian himself who employs the boy to be his shop sign. Rather sad really but Sebastian explained that the boy’s family is very poor and that he is helping him by employing him as well as paying for him to learn English. At least that.


There is 15 comments on this post


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    I’ve been to Aleppo souks this year in March, I really love it especially it built since 1570 ( i think )
    I bought the Kebba Nayeh spices from their, also rosewater and some oils
    love it
    Hugs


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    yes, the souks in Aleppo are wonderful. am doing some spice shopping today 🙂


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    Isn’t he gorgeous!! Thank you for posting that on this rainy Monday London morning. In a matter of months he will have a slim moustache and a leather jacket and a smoking habit, so his beauty and innocence is worth preserving in a photo!
    I’ll be in Sham on 21st til 27th – will you still be there by any chance? x


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    i went back today and he already has a hoxton fin. i told him to wash the gel off his gorgeous curly hair. do you have the email address of the owner of narnaj? the service there was atrocious last time i ate there and i have to write to him to see what is going on. and sadly i will not be in sham. gorgeous weather there still. xx


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    Hi,
    Intrituging story! If some money is sent to you by Western Union, can you give it to the boy’s family?


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    not the family but the boy himself and i am sure he would be very happy to have some extra cash, but if you going to do this, you’ll need to do it fairly quickly so that i can give it to him before i leave.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    He looks well-nourished and well looked-after for someone who is from a very poor family. This leads me to conclude that he is from a loving and wise family.
    However, I feel (based on his Hoxton and on the fact that he spends a lot of time in a market where he is exposed to many temptations) that he would blow the money on his desires rather than his family’s needs. There is a struggle between my heart and my head about whether money should be given directly to him. When do you intend to leave Aleppo?


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    Also, if the money is given directly to the boy’s family then you can be sure that he is from a very poor family and eligible for Zakat. I understand that this may be difficult for you given your busy schedule and short stay in Aleppo.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    When will you leave Aleppo?


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    Love it! Oh I want to return to Fez now…


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    it’s funny, i had the same thoughts but i decided that if you did send him the money, i would give it to him. unfortunately, i will not have time to go to his family and even though i have friends in aleppo, i cannot really ask them to do this for me. he looks like a lovely boy, and i think the best thing would be to send him a little money now, and i can check in on him next time i am in the city, and then see how he is doing and if you feel like sending more money, i will then be able to give it to his family. let me know which you prefer. and thanks for being so kind to him. i love the idea that my post has attracted your attention enough to help him.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    going there early next year. it’ll be very different from aleppo…


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    Hi,
    I have sent him 1426.29 SYRIAN POUND by Western Union. I will email you the MTCN number to your address ah@anissas.com; this is for security reason.

    The boy is blessed with good looks and patience (I assume). When I saw his photo, his handsome features made me think of biblical Joseph.

    I give charity to fulfil my religious obligations. It is better to be sure that the person receiving help is eligible and often we face ethical dilemmas in sharing limited resources or giving away a small amount of charity. In Hossein’s case I am not certain that he is eligible but I have given from my heart and sometimes ‘the heart knows what the head does not’.

    We have met a couple of times and I also think that you are a kind hearted and unpretentious person. Also your smile is just as nice as Hossein’s.


  • Warning: Undefined array key 36 in /data/40/0/131/109/783598/user/802494/htdocs/anissahelou/wp-content/themes/Anissa/functions.php on line 377

    yes, he is lovely looking, with a beautiful classical face and he seems to have a sweet character. i am sure he will be very grateful for the money. i will supplement it to SL 2000.00 which is quite a lot for him and we’ll see how he deals with it. will keep you posted and thanks again. i hope you will tell me who you are in the email given that we have already met. and thanks for the compliment 🙂

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