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FEB. 2010

INSPIRATION for the

CURIOUS MIND No . 0 2

SHADES OF A CURIOUSLY INSPIRED DRIVER

PINK TAXI ‘A glimpse into her world’ Edition TWO Arial Mag_v1.indd 1

THE WOMEN OF

Morocco & Algeria sustAINABILITY BEYOND GREEN

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I N S I DE THIS ISSUE OF SCOOP

FORWARD

02

FROM THE PLANNERS’ CORNER

H O T T H IS M O N T H

03

TRUE BLUE: Sustainability Beyond Green Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental

S P E CIA L R E P O R T

08

THE WOMEN of Morocco & Algeria

W OM E N WH O IN S P IR E U S

15

PINK TAXI Shades of a Curiously Inspired Driver:

HOME TRUTHS

17

A GLIMPSE INTO HER WORLD

SMALL-TALK

29

REMARKABLE ‘QUOTES’

L AU N DR Y W IS DO M

31

CURIOUS TID-BITS

February 2010

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No. 02

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COLLECT IN G

S TO RI E S

F RO M DIF F E RE NT CO RNE RS O F O U R REG I O N

RUSSIA HUNGARY MOR OCCO

TURKEY

AL G E R IA

COCO VIDELA Regional Strategy Director, Ariel CEEMEA HADI ZABAD Senior Strategic Planner, Ariel CEEMEA DOMINIKA BLACHNICKA Senior Strategic Planner, Ariel CEEMEA

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FOR WARD

FROM THE PLANNERS’ CORNER

02

FROM THE

PLANNERS’ CORNER IF YOU’RE CURIOUS ABOUT ‘SCOOP’, GET READY TO BE INSPIRED.

On the occasion of her 100th birthday, Hollywood legend Luise Rainer revealed her secret to a life well lived, “First of all, to be in love. The second way of being very happy is to be able to get the best out of yourself, whatever it is.” We couldn’t agree more. This issue of Scoop was inspired by that principle. From the Atlas Mountains in Morocco to the snowy streets of Moscow, we bring you the stories of women striving to get the best out of themselves everyday, making their world a little better. And in the spirit of touching people and improving lives, we also included a section on TRUE BLUE, a movement that aspires to make a difference through environmental, cultural, social and economic sustainability. The women in our region are already on it. They are preserving national patrimonies, creating safer environments for other women, saving water, and forming cooperatives. Sustainability is a part of their lives whether we realize it or not. Now it’s up to us to make Ariel a part of it too.

Enjoy! Coco, Hadi & Dominika.

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TRUE BLUE - SUSTAINABILITY BEYOND GREEN 1.4

HOT THIS MONTH

TRUE BLUE

SUSTAINABILITY BEYOND GREEN Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental

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HOT THIS MONTH

TRUE BLUE - SUSTAINABILITY BEYOND GREEN 2.4

Most people think of the environment when they hear the word ‘sustainability’ - and while looking after our precious earth is certainly important, so is the way we treat each other and ourselves. This is what TRUE BLUE is about encouraging practices that solve the everyday problems that people face without damaging the opportunity of future generations to do the same. It’s a process that requires a conscious balancing of social, economic, cultural and environmental actions. Since joining the BLUE movement, Saatchi has been on a mission to become the “Bluest” agency on the

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planet and help our clients transform their businesses, their products and their communications to improve people’s lives. To create a world full of happy people, we need to go where the people are. In his speech, “The Birth of Blue” Adam Werbach reminds us that only a few institutions on the planet have a billion-person reach, not the United States, not the United Nations, and not even Wal-Mart, “Who reaches a billion people? The nation of China, the nation of India, Procter & Gamble, and McDonald’s.”

Sounds like we’re in a good place to begin.

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TRUE BLUE - SUSTAINABILITY BEYOND GREEN 3.4

HOT THIS MONTH

WHAT ARE THE

FO U R

PILLARS of B L U E

Cultural Sustainability:

Social Sustainability:

Protecting and valuing cultural diversity. These are actions through which communities manifest their identity and cultivate traditions from generation to generation.

Acting as if other people matter. These are actions and conditions that affect all members of society, like poverty, violence, injustice, education, public health, labor and human rights.

Environmental Sustainability:

Eonomic Sustainability:

Protecting and restoring the ecosystem. These are actions and conditions that affect the earth’s ecology, like climate

Operating profitably. These are actions that affect how people and businesses meet their economic needs- for example,

change, preservation of natural resources, and the prevention of toxic wastes.

securing food, water, shelter, and comforts for the people and for the businesses turning a profit so that they’ll be able to continue for years to come. SOURCES: Strategy for Sustainability & The Birth of Blue- by Adam Werbach

THINKING

BLUE

Ideas that make the world a little better The White Butterflies. A Different Kind of Laundromat. Different women -- a teenager, a woman in a black chador, another with tattoos on her face, a young mother preparing to cook traditional bread for her large family -- are drinking tea and chatting about life. The place where they gather smells of soap. Huge plastic baskets hold piles of freshly washed laundry. What brings them together is the White Butterflies Laundromat, a project sponsored by the Diyarbakır Municipality in Turkey. Here women can wash their laundry for free and get training in literacy, reproductive health and hygiene, all while showing each other support and laughter in life. For some time the Municipality had been trying to reach out and touch local women’s lives somehow, but at first they were hesitant or their husbands wouldn’t let them. Then while researching ways to help them they noticed that many women have five or six children at least - and no washing machines so they were spending inordinate amounts of time washing

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laundry by hand. This gave them the idea. One wash cycle lasts 60 minutes. 60 minutes to make a difference in these women’s lives. There are already five Laundromats like this in Diyarbakir, each of them visited by 800 women per week. They have become a center for solidarity, education and training, a place where women feel safe and able to smile despite all their problems.

Protecting Futures. Keeping Girls in School. There are lots of reasons kids miss school.  Being a girl shouldn’t be one of them. Many girls in sub-Saharan Africa miss up to 5 days of school each month because they don’t have access to sanitary protection. In some cases, these girls fall so far behind in their studies, they ultimately drop out. To help tackle this issue, Always and Tampax created Protecting Futures in 2007.  Protecting Futures works with partner organizations to provide puberty education, sanitary protection, and sanitary facilities to help vulnerable girls stay in school.  By the end of 2009, Protecting Futures will have reached approximately 115,000 girls in 17 countries, and is committed to reaching 1 million girls by 2012.

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SAATCHI & SAATCHI

FEB, 2010

06

The Luxury of Water

PLAYPUMPS

For most of us water is available within a short distance, but for many, access to water requires many hours of waiting in queues and then carrying heavy loads of water all the way home. Mostly women and children are confronted with this daily task. The time and energy spent attending to this basic human right, of access to water, limits their educational and economic opportunities. More than a billion people worldwide do not enjoy the luxury of water on tap in or near their homes.

For almost 20 years, Water For People has pioneered innovative approaches to safe water supply, empowering communities and utilizing local entrepreneurs for sustainable operations and maintenance. Water For People will now offer PlayPumps as part of a larger portfolio of water solutions from which rural communities in Africa can choose.

HIPPO WATER ROLLER PROJECT The Hippo Water Roller is a tool designed to help women and children to transport more water more easily. Traditional methods of collecting water include carrying heavy 20 liters buckets on the head. Over time these heavy loads place an enormous strain on the skeletal frame, causing long-term damage and premature aging. Much time is wasted walking long distances to a water point and then carrying small amounts of water all the way home, often more than once a day.

This daily burden is significantly reduced by using appropriate technology like the Hippo Water Roller which is able to carry 4 times the amount of one bucket with less effort and in less time. It is due to the goodwill of donors that Hippo rollers can be given to impoverished households that would not otherwise be able to profit from this technology. Sponsors have the opportunity to further enhance their exposure by branding the Hippo Water Roller. The benefit to recipients is immediate and measureable. It’s a project that touches the heart of many in the media and has a strong emotional appeal because it addresses such a basic human need.

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A PlayPump is a children’s merry-go-round attached to a water pump and water storage tank, that provides clean drinking water to children and families in rural Africa. While children have fun spinning on the PlayPump merry-go-round, clean water is pumped from underground into a 2,500-liter tank, standing seven meters above the ground. A simple tap makes it easy for adults and children to draw water. The water storage tank also provides a rare opportunity to advertise in outlaying communities. All four sides of the tank are leased as billboards, with two sides for consumer advertising and the other two sides for health and educational messages. The revenue generated by this unique model pays for pump maintenance.

THE PROGRESS PROJECT Lonely Planet has partnered with Nokia to create the video content for a unique micro site called TheProgressProject.com. The micro site features videos that show how Nokia’s mobile innovations are benefitting communities in different corners of the world by the use of mobile devices and software to tackle everyday challenges that shape lives. The projects ranged from accelerating a grassroots business to providing better access to healthcare to increasing awareness of our environmental impact.

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THE WOMEN of

Morocco & Algeria

“I want to be a symbol of resistance and hope for every Algerian woman.” Mme. Samia

Ait Issad, owner of El Djenina Restaurant, Algiers.

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THE WOMEN OF MOROCCO & ALGERIA 2.10

SPECIAL REPOR T

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BY Coco Videla, Hadi Zabad & Dominika Blachnicka

OUR JOURNEY

into the lives of women in our region brought us this

time to Morocco and Algeria. Three weeks and countless marhaba’s later, we learned a couple of lessons on how to embrace the advantages of a modern world without losing the doting touch of an Arabian lady. Like many women in other parts of the Arab world, Moroccans and Algerians are strutting the line between modernity and tradition, tenaciously finding ways to become the best women they can be without compromising their integrity, their convictions or their ambitions. But like two close cousins who share an indelible cultural background, Moroccans and Algerians also bring their own set of complexities, personalities and life experiences to the mix, making them, well, the same, but different.

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SPECIAL REPOR T

THE WOMEN OF MOROCCO & ALGERIA 3.8

A LGERIAN WOMEN

COURAGE UNDER FIRE

‘I’m learning the basics, but eventually I want to make my own designs and sell them.” Nawal. Ex-school teacher and embroidery student, Demnate

Within minutes after leaving the Algiers airport we already

journey of the Algerian woman: anticipation, impatience,

had the sensation that something major was boiling, and

burning passion, the promise of something better.

it wasn’t the weather. A horde of cars surrounded us with

Determined and unrelenting, Algerian women carry

cheering men and women popping out of car windows,

within them all the optimism, pride, vision and conflict

proudly waving the Algerian flag. “The big soccer game

that the country itself possesses. They are forthright,

against Egypt is in three days,” our friend Younes ex-

passionate warriors eternally fighting for the impossible

plained, “the government is sending as many people as

possibilities. In their quest they want to stand out, speak

they can to Sudan to cheer on our behalf.” The four-day

out and leave their mark. They want to be a symbol for

hurrah climaxed on November 18, 2009 when Algeria

everything that’s possible.

booked their first trip to the World Cup in 24 years by beating Egypt; 1-0. A day many proclaimed the happiest day in the country since their independence in 1962.

The

Eternal Warrior

Algerian women have a profound tradition of involve-

The mood that prevailed in the days leading up to the

ment and resistance that dates back to the Algerian

big game in many ways symbolizes the spirit and the

War of independence when they fought arm in arm

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SAATCHI & SAATCHI

alongside men. Sadly, when the war ended, their role was forgotten and never fully recognized again. But perhaps the worst displays of discrimination happened less than 15 years ago, during the civil war of the 90s, when women became the target of attacks carried out by fundamental Islamic groups. In an article written in 2001 for the Middle East Times, award-winning author Aicha Lemsine denounced the ongoing persecution, “Young or old, veiled or not, Algerian

FEB, 2010

Chasing their spotlight “Algeria is the most fascinating country you never thought of visiting,” seasoned traveler Anthony Ham sums it up in a nutshell. Curiously, this is also how we felt about Algerian women. Some of the most fascinating individuals we never thought of meeting. Tough cookies with a sort of hunger that is admirable. And yet, their stories are rarely told.

women are powerful symbols for all of the rival factions

The irony is Algerians have a natural instinct to be

vying for power. Some kill women because they wear

involved, to have an opinion, to entertain, and to

the hijab, or headscarf. Other women are targeted

be heard. The image of Edith Piaf comes to mind,

because they are intellectuals, because they work and

her petite frame taking over a room even when she

because they are resolutely and unabashedly modern.”

wasn’t singing. Born to an Algerian mother, Piaf’s

One such woman is the most feisty, local feminist you’re ever likely to meet if you happen to visit Restaurant El Djenina in Algiers. During a chance encounter with Mme.

10

Algerian blood undeniably ran through her veins. Like Piaf, Algerian women can also be a force of nature instinctively chasing after their own spotlight.

Samia Ait Issad, the restaurant owner, we had the good

Karima was one of these women. Watching her run

fortune to hear first-hand the hair-raising and inspiring

her house was like watching a queen reigning over

stories of being on the frontlines of the civil rights struggle:

a kingdom. Her corner on the sofa was the throne from

I have been running this restaurant for over 40 years. It’s older than my children! I am proud to say that the doors have remained open throughout all these years, even in the most dreadful times of civil war and fundamental Islamic threat when I was ordered time and again to close it down. When I was told to stop serving alcohol, again I refused.

which she would command the stage, entertain with her stories and give orders to those around her all the while smoking furiously out of her own shisha. “My husband used to work for my father, you know,” she tells us as she puffs away, “he was an important man and I was his little princess so he had to work very hard to court me.” Her husband, who was sitting across the room, nodded sheepishly. “Our story was like the stuff you see in the soap operas.” And with that we knew she was no second fiddle. Other families take a different approach. For Fatiha,

This time they lurked around the restaurant threatening

being treated with the same respect and expectations

to kill me. I was terrified, but it didn’t stop me from fighting

as her brothers made her the woman she is today. “In my

back. I stood in front of the doors of my restaurant and

house my mother was very strict. Just because I was a girl

I looked at one of them right in the eye. In that moment

didn’t mean I could drop my schoolwork to help her with

I was overcome with fear, but immobilized by pride.

the cooking or the cleaning or the laundry.

I could have easily been shot to death with my children hiding right behind the door. It was the most terrifying moment of my life, but to this day I don’t regret it. I thought it was right to stand up for what I believed in – for the Algeria we dreamt of during the war of independence, for our true Muslim values. I wanted to be a symbol of resistance and hope for every Algerian woman.”

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She often told me that I had to work as hard as the boys, if not harder, so I could get a good education and stand out from the crowd.” It was a lesson she learned well. Now an Environmental Science professor at the university, Fatiha has finally found her own stage.

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SPECIAL REPOR T

THE WOMEN OF MOROCCO & ALGERIA 5.8

11

DREAM

The

IMPO SSIBLE DRE AM

Can we expect any less from this determined bunch?

Karima recently lost 15 kilos, a feat she thought was

Algerian women are not just demanding, they are

absolutely impossible. But now that she’s done it, why

insatiable perfectionists. Always wanting something

stop there? She’s determined to lose 15 more with the

more. Always up to the challenge. Always daring to

help of her husband who is whipping her into shape as

dream bigger.

her personal trainer and motivator.

For Asmaa, a fresh university graduate and the first

Asia has one dream she’s not giving up on: to be a mother. At 43 it hasn’t come as easy as she expected.

women in her family to study at all, this means moving to Canada one day to pursue her career and get her PhD, “I know it will break my family’s heart, but I hope that eventually they will accept my life choices.”

With her husband they are adamantly exploring their options and willing to do whatever it takes- even if it

For Bashira, a cheery mother of four, her mission is to

means defying taboos and resorting to untraditional

finally pass her driver’s license exam, which she has

methods.

failed three times already, “They always get me on the parking, but I will get in that driver’s seat even if it takes ten more tries!”

Fatiha knows the man she will marry is somewhere out there and she’s determined to find him, “I hear that Facebook is a good place to reconnect with old friends? Can you also meet new people? How do I join? I’m trying everything right now! Hahaha.”

M OROCC AN WOMEN

IN

UNITY

THERE IS STREGNTH

Our days in Morocco were colored with mind-boggling contrasts. The first night we were sipping wine in the local hot spot and trading celebrity stories with Sofia, a feisty entrepreneur who just launched her luxury concierge service in Marrakesh. By morning we were sharing laughs, bread and dreams of the Hajj with a humble family in the middle of the Atlas Mountains. In the days that followed we would also meet women from the local rotary club, university students, guesthouse owners, housewives, professors and artists. Whether they wanted to compare life experiences and perspectives on world events or share their newfound endeavors, skills and goals, the women we met were chatty, curious and eager to share their stories.

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FEB, 2010

12

Across the board we felt there was a sense of living up to

at a better time. “I used to do embroidery for a living, but

what it means to be a woman in Morocco. In the past it

a couple of years ago my eyesight started to fail me and

might have meant deferring to the family and embrac-

it became harder to keep up with the demands of the

ing more traditional roles. Today they feel a responsibility

business. Fortunately I heard about the Maison d’Hôte

to themselves, to their families and even to other women

project and I decided to give it a chance. In the

to reach new horizons and extend their outlook far

beginning it was really hard work. And scary. I knew

beyond their front door. This means fulfilling their passions,

how to create an atmosphere where my family feels

venturing into unknown territories and rising above what

comfortable and loved, but would that be enough for

they once thought was impossible.

a complete stranger?

O N T he

W I N GS O F T O URISM

According to a UN estimate, for every 8 to 10 tourists who

“In time all those fears were replaced with a sense of pride and gratification.

visit an urban area, one job is created locally. This figure is

Imagine how delightful it is to meet new people from

quite remarkable considering the life-changing influenc-

all parts of the world everyday. I do everything I can to

es of international tourism. Naturally, the exposure to

make them feel like this is their home away from home.

different people and new ideas has an impact on local

I cook for them, we dine, chat about their adventures,

attitudes, tastes and preferences. But more importantly, it

our customs, cultural differences and accidental faux

has opened a whole new world of possibilities for local

pas. They make me laugh.”

women whatever their talent is.

For Mme. Allouch, her new guesthouse is the happy

Take the charming Kenza. Communication Director of

culmination of her life’s work. “I have dedicated the

Tourism by day, social butterfly by night. As soon as we

last 18 years to raising my two boys in a society that is

arrived to Fez she greeted us with a head full of ideas.

not very understanding of single mothers. There was a

“There are so many people I want you to meet, but first

lot of struggle and many moments when I didn’t think

let me introduce you to some of the ladies from the

I could do it. But look at them now! They are such good

Maison d’Hôte Project. It’s a program that we began

boys. Somehow I don’t feel like a single mother with

a couple of years ago to protect the Medina as our

two boys anymore. I feel like a team. I was there for

national patrimony. You see many families in the Medina

them, now they are here for me. And this guesthouse

are strapped for cash and selling their properties

is our family project.”

to foreign investors. These are houses that have been in their families for generations and generations. If this goes on, all the locals will be driven out before we know it and the Medina will be left soulless. To help remedy this situation we created a program that encourages women to turn their homes into guesthouses. It’s only fair that local homeowners get to reap some of the benefits from tourism as well. So we help them get started and put them in touch with travelers who are interested in a true Moroccan experience. Everybody wins!” And that’s how we met Mme. Sahni and Mme. Allouch. Two women who have reinvented their lives well into their forties by turning their homes into guesthouses. For Mme. Sahni, this opportunity could not have come

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Propelled

BY

Solidarity

The collective support system that exists among women in Morocco is truly inspiring. Many of them are joining industrial unions, agricultural and artisans’ collectives, life-skills training, and even book clubs to push themselves forward on their own personal journey. In that journey they transform from dreamers to doers and show that impossible is nothing in the face of solidarity and determination. Evidence of this solidarity was everywhere we went. In the souqs you can instantly spot the shops that are run by women. Some of the tell-tale signs: 1) Prices are fixed! No need to waste your time bargaining, 2) they usually

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THE WOMEN OF MOROCCO & ALGERIA 7.8

sell items made by cooperatives and businesses that

SPECIAL REPOR T

But as we learned from Mme. Hasnoui, having a

engage in fair trade, and 3) they care about what

pioneering spirit does not mean you have to dismiss

they sell! For one storeowner it’s a simple argument,

tradition or compromise on your convictions. In fact, Mme. Hasnoui had a very traditional start in life. At 20

“We have no reason to compete with our neighbors. Our soaps are made by hard-working artisans who put a lot of love into the work they do. Our customers know they can find cheaper soaps anywhere else, and yet they keep coming back.” Even in parts of Morocco where education is less

she met her husband through an arranged marriage, had three children by the time she was 26, and spent the next 15 years as a doting mother and wife. Then one day she decided she had too many things left to do and all the energy in the world to do it. Without too much hesitation and with her husband fully behind her, she enrolled in university at age 40 to study Law. Today she’s a practicing lawyer and a devoted advocate for women’s causes. “Mme. Hasnoui is one of the most active women if

accessible you can find an impressive range of

Fez,” our friend Kenza tells us. “She’s always involved

community assistance programs that provide

in something. Organizing seminars, volunteering at

schooling, job training and essential life skills for

the orphanages, running the International Inner Wheel.

women. During our visit we were fortunate to visit

I don’t know where she finds the time to do it all!” Her

l’Association de L’Entreaide in Demnate, a town

most recent project is a monthly book club, a Salon

two hours north from Marrakesh. Among the inspired

Litteraire. It is open to any woman interested in reading

local initiatives housed in this complex are literary

and discussing thought-provoking literature. Her selection

classes, catering training courses, embroidery,

for the first meeting was the appropriately titled “Civiliza-

coiffure, women’s entrepreneurship classes,

tion, Ma Mere” by Driss Chraïbi. “I wanted to create

community childcare and a computer lab.

a forum where women from different backgrounds

We engaged with some of the students who proudly shared with us their excitement. Nawal, an ex-school teacher from Casablanca tells us her plan,“I’m

can engage in meaningful conversations. A place where they could spark debates, exchange ideas, stop judging and instead start learning from one another.”

learning the very basics of embroidery and crochet

And when it comes to learning, many mothers like

right now, but eventually I want to make my own

Mme. Sahni are taking notes from their own children.

designs and sell them.” For Yasmina, who had just

“I am marveled at the amount of choices open to my

started learning the basics of coiffure- braiding, blow

daughters that were unthinkable just a generation or

drying and styling- her ultimate graduation will be

two ago, even when it comes to transportation.” She

the day she gets to work on a bride, “I can’t wait

proudly tells us about her little pioneer, “My daughter

to turn a bride into a beautiful princess on her

Rajae was the first girl to ride a moto in Fez. We bought

wedding day.”

it for her because her university is an hour away. With the moto she gets to go to her classes and comes home

A generation

OF

pioneers

in time for lunch. It takes her wherever she wants to go.”

Clearly there is more opportunity to learn, work and

Just like Rajae and Mme. Sahni, or like Kenza and Mme.

grow and Moroccan women are tapping into these

Hasnoui, women in Morocco are on the move and

opportunities. Whether running a business or learning

making their presence known. They are whipping past

how to coif hair, they have started to transcend the

on their motor scooters, saving national patrimonies,

traditional roles their mothers lived by and are

standing out from the crowd, and putting the best

becoming the true pioneers in their families.

of themselves forward everyday.

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WOMEN WHO INSPIRE US 1.2

PINK TAXI

PINK TAXI SHADES OF A CURIOUSLY INSPIRED DRIVER Nadezhda has an advanced degree in space & nuclear physics and another in psychology. She can enlighten you on how black holes and your darkest feelings are formed in the same breath. But unless you happen to be a woman or a child hopping into her pink taxi in Moscow, chances are you’ll never meet her. MOSCOW. JANUARY, 2010 By Hadi Zabad

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PINK TAXI

Getting a ride in a pink taxi was near the top of my list of things-to-do in Moscow - nudged between a

visit to the Kremlin and a dinner of borscht with Pelmeni. Pink Taxis – a service run by and totally dedicated to women - became somewhat of a phenomenon when they launched a few years ago. The cars, Volvos painted a dazzling cotton-candy pink, zip through typically grey and patriarchal Moscow and are difficult to miss. They are also incredibly overbooked which makes finding one easier said than done. Rush hour was over, the temperature was -20°C and most Muscovites were already home by the time I called the reservation number to request a Pink Taxi. Within 15 minutes, a pink Volvo parked across from me and Nadezhda stepped out to open the door. “Sorry for the delay, I had to take a client to the hospital. Her daughter was very ill,” she explained as she dismantled the baby -seat from the back and plopped it in the trunk. As she does so, a half-dozen helium balloons almost escape. She deftly brushes them back in with her elbow.

WOMEN WHO INSPIRE US 2.2

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“I used to be much prettier than I am now of course” she sighs with a half-teasing smile. These days, her height serves as a caution to would-be harassers. And if not, then that’s when her Judo kicks in – literally. Nadia also used to wrestle in school. But theatre was her real passion; a creative pursuit that kept her happy while she was diligently working towards her degree in physics. At some point she had a difficult decision to make: a renowned theatre director had asked her to join his troupe but that would have meant giving up her physics diploma. In the 80s, the Soviet Union placed more emphasis on the cold-hard currency of science so she continued down the physics path. After graduation she worked at a ‘covert’ federal research institute for many years.

“I had access to all sorts of state secrets, like UFOs,” she reveals. But with the collapse of the Soviet Union, she was eventually out of a job and did a stint as an accountant before heading back to university to study psychology. Her hobby at the time? Rally driving.

“Those are for my daughter” she beams, “I’m picking her up

She considers that it was ideal practice for her future career behind

from the maternity ward tonight – she just gave birth yesterday!”

the wheel of a Volvo.

Mothers are a big part of Nadezda’s clientele. Some hire her

It begins to dawn on me that her intriguing physics-Judo-practicing

to drop off their kids at school or to take them home afterwards.

-psychology-rally-driving-theatrical background seems less a jumble

Having a child-seat is a big selling point as most taxis don’t carry

of randomness and more a potpourri of characters perfectly suited

them. But it really comes down to trust and I can quickly see why

to complement her as a Pink Taxi driver.

Nadezhda is overbooked.

Blended in her fairytales about UFOs (which might yet exist –

“Kids are my favorite customers. They ask the most curious

Nadia would not confirm) she could be explaining that black holes

questions like ‘what is a black hole?’ and ‘why is grass green?’”

are like vacuum cleaners in space sucking up even light, and that if you zoom into a leaf you’ll find green engines called chloroplasts

And if answering those questions wasn’t tough enough, she

that transform sunlight into energy. You would be hard-pressed

sometimes has hours to kill on the road trying to keep the children

to find a taxi-driver that can juggle so many roles with such natural

entertained. It becomes clear that Nadia, as she implores me

ease and still navigate the precarious Moscow streets to get you

to call her, is so much more than a taxi driver: she is a mother,

safely at your destination every time.

a storyteller and a friend to her customers. “My two daughters want me to retire already so I can baby-sit their As she recounts her intriguing life-story, I begin to understand

children. But I’m not ready for that. I still feel like I have a lot more

how she manages to blend these roles so seamlessly behind the

energy to give,” Nadia firmly declares.

wheel amid the incessantly tiresome traffic of Moscow. I nod in agreement and ask her what she thinks about the At 50 years old, her bright red hair, piercing blue eyes and

extraordinary twists and turns she has taken during her life.

melancholic smile defy her age. And standing at 1.84 meters,

She smiles and with a shrug says: “Who wants to live such a

Nadia could have been a model.

short life driving down a straight road?”

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A glimpse into her life (done)

GLIMPSE INTO HER WORLD

The following pages are filled with short, little glimpses of moments, thoughts and experiences from the women we have met.

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R

USSIA - MOSCOW

A ROA D T R I P D OW N M EM O RY LA N E

We used to travel a lot when we were young. My favorite memory is a road trip that my husband and I once did across Europe . We drove through France, Luxembourg, Germany and Poland on the way to Moscow. We’d stay in cheap motels or even just sleep in the car along the way. I didn’t care where I slept – the whole point was to be out and to see, taste and just be there. We took so many photos. Nowadays we’re usually closer to home. My husband says everything we need to see is in Moscow. I’m not so sure I agree with him. There’s still so much of the world left to explore and experience. Australia is just there beyond the distance and I have yet to visit.

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GÖKÇ

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I

NSTANBUL - TURKEY

GÖKÇ F RES H F R U I T S & D RE A M S

I wanted to get out of the rat-race so I quit my job in finance. It stopped being my passion a while ago. I’m in love with the idea of starting my own business exporting citrus fruits from Turkey to the EU. When I was 3 years old I used to take all my brother’s books and sell them. I made money and kept doing it. We also had a lemon tree that I would pick and make lemonade to sell. So I guess ‘buying and selling’ was in me from the very start. This dream, although it’s a small one, is something that I want to keep alive. Everyone says ‘Tomorrow I will start my own business. Tomorrow tomorrow’ but I want to do it for real. This is the best time to do it because there is no better time than today.

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I

NSTANBUL - TURKEY

E BR

P O S I T I V I T Y F EED S I T S EL F

When I was in London I was introduced to all kinds of environmentally friendly habits like recycling, homeopathy and eating organic foods. When I returned I tried to convince my mom to adopt some of these habits, especially when it came to healthier foods but the kitchen is my mom’s territory and it’s impossible to change old tricks. Now that I’m married I make sure my husband and I are more sensitive to the environment. We recycle plastics and papers. We even go out of our way to deposit them in the correct recycling bins. For the holidays we did a 3 week eco-road trip visiting communes and organic farms all over Turkey. I don’t do it because it’s trendy. I do it because it’s the responsible thing to do and I’m sure that more Turkish families will catch on.

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R

USSIA - MOSCOW

A YULI S EEI N G T H E S TA R S

My daughter Olga wants to become a plastic surgeon. She says it’s so that she can always keep me beautiful. She’s only 8 years old so I don’t know how the idea got into her head. I think it’s one of these reality shows on MTV. She can become whatever she wants - we all have our hidden potential. For x-mas, I got her a micro-telescope – it’s one of those new ones that you can use for magnifying small things like bacteria but also to look at the distant stars. Unfortunately I realized that Moscow is too bright at night to see anything in the night-sky. It reminded me how when I was younger my father used to take us on road-trips to the countryside - I would spend nights looking at falling stars and the milky way. I’m determined to save up enough money to buy a car so I can drive Olga outside the city to see the stars.

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B

UDAPEST - HUNGARY

A ANN EV ERY D O G H A S I T S DAY

We didn’t usually stay at hotels very often because most don’t allow dogs. And since we always travel with Lilike, it’s a little difficult. Now we don’t stay at hotels because of what happened the last time a hotel allowed us in. Lilike is actually very well-behaved but a few years back she really was a bad doggie. That time, we actually found a hotel that let us keep Lilike in the room so we were happy but also wanted to make sure she didn’t ruin anything. But that same day we were coming back from the park after a horribly rainy day. I had barely opened the door when she ran in and jumped on the bed before I could grab her. She started shaking her fur so violently that water and bits of mud were flying everywhere. I couldn’t do anything because it all happened so fast. The bed sheets had paw marks all over it and you could even see bits of dirt on the ceiling and curtains!! I laugh about it today but I was so embarrassed by the mess she caused.

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SMALL TALK

29

REMARKABLE QUOTES

SMALL TALK

I FELL IN LOVE WITH MY HUSBAND ABOUT A MONTH AFTER WE GOT MARRIED. BASHIRA on being lucky with arranged marriage, Algiers.

mighty mouth quotes

Everyone was rushing everywhere so I started rushing too but I didn’t know where I was rushing to. IZA, On arriving to Warsaw for the first time.

Women? They do nothing. While I work all day in my taxi my wife stays at home, looks after the children, bakes the bread, gets the wood, looks after the sheep, cooks, cleans...That’s all! HOUSSAIN on why being a woman is so much easier, Marrakesh

Sometimes I feel like I’m having an illicit affair with my friends. ASMAA on how protective her family is, Algiers

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SAATCHI & SAATCHI

OCT, 2009

30

My husband and I know each other since we were very very young. He was my father’s secretary. Our story is the stuff that soap opera’s are made of. Karima describes her own fairytale, Algiers

WOMEN HAVE THE POWER TO DECIDE WHICH MAN WILL FALL IN LOVE WITH THEM. Mme. Hasnoui on the art of seduction

You should marry young. That way you can get divorced and married again, this time to the right man by the time you are 40! DILEK, Istanbul

MY DREAM IS TO MAKE THE PILGRIMAGE TO MECCA . MAYBE ONE DAY. I’LL HAVE TO COLLECT MANY MANY ARGAN NUTS.

FATIMA, Middle Atlas, Argan Nut collector for a fair trade women’s cooperative

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31

LAUNDRY WISDOM

LAUND R Y WIS D O M –

CURIOUS TIDBITS

Curious Tidbits.

THE GRACIOUS HOSTESS

Ironically, the stains of hospitality can turn out to be the least friendly. When our gracious hostess invites friends over, she puts out her best tablecloths, embroidered napkins and cushions. She serves tea, coffee and sweets. Inevitably these spill. But our hostess keeps her cool. Interrupt this moment to rub a stain out? No way. The most important thing is to make her guests feel welcome and enjoy their company. She’ll take care of the stain after they leave, which by then most probably would have set in.

ARGAN OIL, MOROCCO’S BEST-KEPT MIRACLE

It is impossible to be in Morocco and not come across the Argan oil phenomenon. This potent oil is made from the nuts of the Argan tree, which grows almost exclusively in this region. So what’s it good for? Pretty much everything. The oil, which is said to have restorative and age-defying effects, has become one of the latest miracle ingredients in the beauty industry. High in vitamin E and essential fatty acids, it is believed to help all sorts of skin conditions: dry skin, acne, psoriasis, eczema, wrinkles. Moroccans slather it on their skin, hair, nails and even their babies. They eat it, too — drizzling it over salads and couscous, or using it to make amlou, a tahini-like spread of the oil, almonds and honey.

NOTES FROM THE HEART

If you’re crazy about scents, or soap or both, L’Art du Bain in Marrakesh is the perfect place for inspiration and sensorial delights. According to the owner, flocks of clients come in from all over the world to pick up their favorite scented soaps. Among her best-sellers are the very basic, but delicious heart notes like Rose, Jasmine, Orange Blossom, Cinnamon, Lavender and Sage.

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SAATCHI & SAATCHI

FEB, 2010

32

THE MOTO DIARIES

In this day and age, women are just as likely as men to be riding scooters to work, class or to meet up with friends even in the Arab world! They are exposed to the dirty outdoors more often and hence a different variety of stains like oil, mud and grease. It also means that they are right out there with men filling up gas, getting flat tires, looking for parking spots and taking their motorcycles to get fixed up.

A LA HAMMAN

Let’s face it, all those stains and dirty clothes, all that rubbing and scrubbing... it can get pretty stressful. Maybe it’s time for laundry to take some cues from the Hamman experience. The ritual itself is all about cleansing the body and ridding it of impurities from the inside-out. Savon Noir, the ultimate soap, is used to replenish, rejuvenate and soothe. Perhaps this feminine and intuitive language is the gentle touch that Ariel is missing.

PRETTY IN PINK...AND BLACK & SEPIA

Being a girl has its perks, but a make-up stain is not one of them. We all know about the red lipstick on the guys shirt and the inevitable mascara stains from all those tears of joy and heartbreak and cute commercials. Here are a couple more pretty stains that girls can’t live without:

Feeling a little adventurous? Want a splash of sophistication? Bored with the sameold look? Grab a hair-dye kit and join the millions of women who change their hair color everyday in exchange for a little reinvention, leaving behind traces of pink, blue, black and blond evidence.

As the name in Arabic implies, Kohl is used by women in North Africa to ‘brighten the eye’. This black substance is made of ground up stone and it’s usually stored in pretty little containers with a short stylus made of wood, bone, silver or stone as the applicator. Learning to apply it takes a lot of practice and can get very messy!

For centuries Arab women have been adorning their bodies with Henna, traditionally decorating their hands, nails and feet for weddings, Eid celebrations and other festivities. Where there is joy, there is henna!

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This magazine was printed on recycled paper.

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