“My grandfather had a nut shop in Aleppo. Back in the days, he would roast the nuts by hand, above a fire. His name was Saber Saber. He died a long time ago. Now, we have around fifteen “Saber Nuts” in Aleppo, six stores in Belgium, one in the Netherlands and one in Germany. Still today, we roast the nuts ourselves, although using machines.” Achmed left Syria 3.5 years ago. His brother had left two months before him and was able to travel to Belgium directly from Greece. “I was less lucky. I had to wait for six months in Greece. If the war were over today, I would go back to Syria tomorrow,” he sincerely says. “In Aleppo, everything is open 24/7, even now during the war. People are happy, the streets are very lively day and night and there’s a beautiful energy around. Just like in the capital of Damascus. Here in Belgium, people go home at five,” he smiles. “Our first store in Belgium opened on October 10, 2016,” he says timidly. “But today is October 10,” I say surprised. “Yes, I just realized that we have been open for exactly three years today.” What a coincidence that I came to Achmed today. This makes me happy. “Do you want to take a bag of nuts with you?” he asks me before I leave. “Yes, please!” I thank him with a full heart. “Bye!”, he says.
* Series for 2060 My Hood (5/9)