BG 187 – Ajam and her Oriental rugs

The road through Ajam’s village on the dry plateau is a soft and colorful carpet almost all year round. Literally.
Ajam’s mother runs the local carpet workshop, where carpets in many different designs, colors and sizes are woven or knotted by hand by women and children.
Her mother told her that some of the most intricate designs have been made the same way for hundreds of years.
And when they’re done, Ajam helps spread the carpets out on the sandy road, so their colors can fade in the bright sunlight.
The villagers walk over the carpets. And they even let their donkeys and goats walk over them. Ajam and her friends play on the carpets, and the boys from the village play football on them.
And every now and then a car or a motorcycle drives through the village, also over the colorful carpets.
About once a week mum and aunt Maryam decide which carpets are sufficiently faded. They then shake them out and turn them over, so that the other side can also be faded.
Ajam’s aunt Nafisa owns a farm down in the valley, together with her husband, uncle Ahmed. They have a lot of land. Aunt also owns a carpet workshop.
Uncle grows wheat and when that has been harvested and the fields are dry and empty, aunt and her employees spread hundreds of freshly woven or knotted carpets on it. Just like Ajam’s mother does on the road through their little village.
Ajam sometimes goes down to the valley with her mother to help her aunt turn the carpets.
Once a month a truck comes, on which the men of the family load the carpets to take them to a large warehouse in the city, where buyers from abroad place their orders.
But why does her family put the carpets in the sun and lets people and animals walk on them? Because wealthy Westerners and Arabs pay ten times as much for “antique” Oriental rugs!