Since our hammer had been broken for some time, but I had a few nails to hammer in, I packed it in my shopping bag one day. So I went to my „carpenter“ at the market with my hammer with a broken handle and asked him if he could help. Well, asked?? More like gestured, because he could only speak Arabic, and I only (broken) French, and my smartphone translator doesn’t speak Arabic either. But somehow we still understood each other very well. The problem was visible. Laughing, he took my hammer, turned around, and grabbed something out from behind a pile of wooden sticks. Then he put the two hammers on the work table, one without a handle (mine) and his. On his, the handle was whole, but the hammer head was broken. So there we had two useless hammers. Without further ado, he took his hammer handle and planed it to fit my hammer-head. That was a bit of work, but after a while the handle fitted in the hole of my hammer-head and we were both satisfied at the end and smiling at each-other.
A few days later I went to him with a plan for a shoe rack / wardrobe. I had been thinking about it for a while, because there was just nothing suitable for our hallway in the stores, or nothing, which was pleasing to us. So I then drew a construction plan with Klaus. That is, Klaus drew it according to my measurements. He can do that better than I can. When I arrived at my carpenter, his colleague was working and said that his co-worker was still on his lunch break. (It was already after 3pm). I should just wait, in 10 minutes he would be back. He came quite soon and together we looked at my plan. We talked, drew, explained, tried to understand…. for about half an hour. We also laughed and tussled 😉 but everything seemed to be „clear“ (from his point of view) and he gave me to understand that he already understood his craft and that I should not worry. In a few days the shelf would be ready. Well, I wasn’t worried, but I did have a few concerns. It seemed to me almost a little that in other countries plans are not drawn and read in quite the same way as „at home“….. Still, after so much friendliness, relating, smiling, eye-rolling, helpfulness, and haggling over the right price, I just didn’t have the courage, didn’t have the heart, not to order my coat rack. So it is now ordered, and in a week it should be ready….. Just before I said goodbye, I explained to him that I wanted the shelf to be only screwed, not glued. He couldn’t quite understand that, because „glued, it would be more stable“, but he understood that I wanted to disassemble it for a possible move.
One week of construction time then turned into two weeks. But that was not due to the slowness of the carpenter, but to the weather. Because we finally had a little rain every now and then. And when it rained, my carpenter explained to me, he couldn’t varnish, because the varnish wouldn’t dry in the damp air, and delivering it home wouldn’t work in the rain either. Well, that made sense, I could understand that. Nevertheless, I was getting a little impatient. I was looking forward to my wardrobe and was really excited and curious of what the carpenter would have build from my plan.
Then finally the time had come: I was to come to his booth at the market and then we would organize the transport home. I was there on time. The shelf was very nice to look at and with the varnish I had chosen, the wood grain really came out great. And it also looked really „according to the plan“. At first glance, because when Klaus stood next to it, I saw that it was shorter than Klaus. According to my memory, however, it should be 190cm high, that means a little taller than Klaus 😉 also, the top shelf seemed to be further up than my memory of the plan suggested to me. But well, I still liked it a lot and didn’t want to grumble. I didn’t like to disappoint the carpenter in his enthusiasm. I liked him too much 😉 and the whole thing was a great experience. Moreover, he had been so pleased with his work, (which had so nice and much space in the middle for the TV screen, he explained). In his opinion, something so beautiful could probably not be a wardrobe/shoe rack, but a piece of furniture for the living room 😉 Also, I was not quite sure whether I had expressed myself correctly with the numbers, (they are always quite tricky in foreign languages), and whether they had been really legible on the plan… So I paid the remaining amount, a little extra and he called his transport friend. He was there a few minutes later and we were able to load up and head home. Whereby one said goodbye with many „Thanks a lot and see you again soon“.
The space for the wardrobe shelf at home I had already cleared before. It also fit wonderfully, only there was a little too much air at the top and a little too little length in the middle to hang the jackets. But that was not a big deal. In our many years in different cultures we have learned to improvise and Klaus many manual skills could be used again and again well. So also here: We began to „redesign“ the shelf, to better suit our needs.
How good that it was really only screwed and not glued!!! So the redesign was completed after we had unscrewed a few screws, moved some boards and screwed them tight again.
The joint work now serves its purpose and we are richer by a few laugh lines, cultural experiences and differences and have one more story to tell 😉