It was early December 2010 when we found ourselves, quite by accident, at the Date Palm festival, held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

Most of the stalls were selling dates and date products from various parts of the Middle East.

We enjoyed the demo of the date tree climbing which reminded us of our childhood coconut tree climbing back home in India (as a pointer, we, as children, didn’t climb the coconut tree to pick ripe coconuts; we left it to a local expert who would climb without using any support or safety system). Without a camera or video camera, we relied on our humble blackberry to capture some video clips and photos.

One of the stalls that captured our attention was Sougha. Here was local handcrafted work at its best – woven baskets, bracelets, placemats, handbags, you name it, they had it. We had a chat with Leila Ben-Gacem, Manager of Entrepreneurship Development Department at Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, who explained to us what Sougha was all about.

The talented Arab women who create handicrafts, ensure that they can weave in tradition with making a living. We heart the book covers as well as the baskets. The hard work that goes into making each individual piece of work was quite evident; we had a hard time making our mind up as to what we should purchase.

Here is a vimeo video (provided by Ben-Gacem) on a local lady, who is part of Sougha, weaving away.

Weaving from DB on Vimeo.

Ben-Gacem recommended visiting the western region for the Camel Festival in Liwa which happened late December 2010 but we couldn’t make it this time. There is always a next time, as we delve more into the cultural heritage aspects of arts and crafts in the region, for the purpose of this blog.

You can read more articles on Sougha and Ben-Gacem’s work in the National newspaper online, here and here.
To know more about the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, please visit the website.

And here questions of type such if honestly strike me not much as I wrote everything higher. It is visible you simply you don’t want to read all this. As my parrot does.