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Table of Content



* Trafalgar (Memories of Trafalgar in Amer and Aidas’ life)


* Flims


* London is Calling (the ultimate food and shopping guide)


* Coffee


* The Chamomile Children of SEKEM


* Celebrating the mysteries of life










‫ الطرف األغر‬I ‫مقابلة‬

“Back to the Past” The beautiful past tickles our memory and enjoys the display of its treasures amongst friends and family. Following is a setting whereupon Amer and Aida Al-Ansari, son and daughter of the deceased Yahya and Heidi AL-Ansari, reminisce on the early beginnings of Trafalgar, the story of its development and the impact it had on them throughout their earlier lives. In 1972, Trafalgar boutique opened its doors in Salmiya, wherein it began a new standard in the display and sales of luxury watches and jewelry in Kuwait. This is part I of a three part series that Lahazaat will be covering on “Trafalgar” and its journey toward celebrating its 40th anniversary.

First Part


Trafalgar (Memories of Trafalgar in Amer and Aidas’ life)

Amer: Should I start? Aida: What is your first memory of Trafalgar? Amer: Funny you should ask that, because that is my first question to you. But since you asked first…I don’t really have a first memory but a collage of memories. In Trafalgar, going there after school in the late afternoon/evening, my father was always there. And it’s not so much the store but everyone in the store. They were always so friendly. The area around Salmiya also became an important part of my visits to Trafalgar. Going to all the shops where the staff began to know me and recognize me. I think my earliest memory was also my father going to the Basel Fair and coming back from that. I couldn’t wait, maybe because we always got gifts. Aida: I absolutely remember that part! Amer: Do you have any memories of the First Trafalgar store? Aida: I feel like I remember everything! It was such a strong part



of my daily life. What I remember most is the meticulousness of Babas’ opening and closing of the store. It was always exactly on time. Not a minute before or after. In fact if he ever were early he would patiently wait with all his employees until the precise time. Then he would nod his head, and Ali and Saeed would go forward and unlock the locks. Amer: Maybe that’s why he enjoyed selling watches. He was dedicated to precision! The thing that fascinated me was that he would totally shut down Trafalgar for the summer. I think for 2-3 months at a time! We even sometimes left school earlier. Amer: The shop seemed the center of our world. I remember that he would always get the barber to come to the store. He would come in with his special black bag and Baba and I would go upstairs to get our haircut around every two months or so. Aida: That I do not remember! Aida: What do you distinctly remember as Mamas’ and Babas’ role? Amer: Aida, are you reading off my notes, because that was my second question to you! I think, Aida, you are clearly cheating!

Aida: Ummmm, maybe because we are siblings, we might think alike! Amer: I remember Baba being the front man; Mama was behind the scenes, to make the place look attractive. But Baba was also really into cleanliness. He would spontaneously walk and swipe his hand around the strangest places to check for dirt. Aida: That is definitely a memory that seemed to have slipped by me. Amer: And that is a trait that I have picked up from him and still do to this day. Aida: I think Mamas window display is something that I remember strongly. She was inwardly an unacknowledged artist and I think she used the window displays as an avenue to exercise that. There was always some idea brewing, or constructions happening. I think she tried to do it four times a year. She got a lot of compliments and positive feedback with it. A few people even asked what company we used for the displays. With Baba I remember sitting behind his big desk. He seemed to have to sign a lot of papers.

Amer: His friends used to come and visit Trafalgar quiet a bit. Aida: Absolutely. Amer: You know why he opened Trafalgar? Aida: I think he was bored, wanted to do something other than real estate. Amer: He also wanted to have a place where his friends could visit. Aida: That’s right. It actually started of as a simple idea. I remember also conversations of the risk of selling high end Jewelry in Kuwait. My mother told me that some people had said that they did not believe the Kuwaitis were sophisticated enough to appreciate such things. Amer: Were they ever wrong! Aida: How old were we at the time when Trafalgar first opened up? Amer: I was just born. Aida: And I must have been just around five.


Trafalgar (Memories of Trafalgar in Amer and Aidas’ life)

Aida: I have another question for you. Amer: This time I am covering my questions so that you don’t look! Aida: So what did you think or feel when you walked through the store and saw all the watches and Jewels? Amer: Honestly, I didn’t think anything of it. Its’ just maybe I thought we had the nicest store on the street and was proud to be seen walking into the store. What about you? Aida: I think it had a huge impact on me. I think because I was around so much jewels, they became just objects and I never really craved for them or felt that I needed them. Up until this day!


Aida: Other than the usual small stuff of cleanliness, how to become more professional and also how to deal with all the typo mistakes, I think the one memory I have him being very upset was when one staff member mistreated a customer because she looked almost like a beggar, dressed in cheap cloths and plastic flip flops. He was so angry. I do remember him vaguely saying that no one is ever to be disrespected when they walk into the store no matter how they were dressed. It turned out that this woman was rather wealthy and became a regular customer. What about you? Amer: I do remember him being content with it all. Even during the “manach” when he lost millions. He seemed to take it as it came. Not having regrets. Not blaming….

Amer: Do you think the shop brought happiness to Baba?

Does anything stick out in your memory with the transition from Babas’ passing to Mama taking over?

Aida: Yes, I think it did. I think he was very proud of it. He seemed content with it.

Aida: Stress. She seemed to be stressed by it all. It was a lot having the company and children. A lot of responsibility.

Amer: Do you ever remember him upset or angry over something that happened in the store?

Amer: I don’t think I visited the shop so much after Baba passed away.


Aida: Yes, things definitely changed after that. I also moved away from home so Trafalgar became more my history than my reality. Amer: What do you think had made Trafalgar a success? Aida: It was modern. The interior design was different. Window display was artistic. Baba, as an owner, was very much about honesty and integrity. Also he was always there and the customer knew that they could speak directly to the Kuwaiti owner at any time.

she went to you to get treatment and well…I began to become more and more involved from then on. Of course there was also our cousin Majd. Aida: Our favorite cousin!

Amer: So there was real care. I think also that the customer could expect the same service as they would in Europe.

Amer: Absolutely, if it wasn’t for him, I don’t know where we would be right now. He really helped Mama after the invasion. To start up the company from bottom again. He definitely was instrumental in helping me find my way around the running of the company. Not only in management, but also by just being they’re for me/us. Having someone to talk to.

Aida: What about the invasion in respect to Trafalgar.

Aida: Thank goodness for favorite cousins.

Amer: Well I was on the last BA flight out of Kuwait before it was invaded. I landed in L.A., went to sleep and after half an hour my mother woke me up to tell me. We were up all night trying to get through to someone in Kuwait. Those were tough times.

Amer: Absolutely

Aida: After Mama passed away, you took over! Amer: Yes. Well, I sort of began before she passed away. After university, I did a three-month watch and jewelry training in Switzerland. My mother got cancer soon after I came back. Of course



Short History:

Since the start of our civilization, people were interested in storytelling. That interest made the cavemen paint in their primitive way the stories of their hunting adventures and other daily routines.

The storytelling form gave birth to songs, epic poems, novels and kept on evolving until 1895 when the Frenchman Louis Lumiere and his brother projected, moving, photographic, pictures to a paying audience of more than one person and by projecting 24 frames per second, they were able to create the illusion of cinema. Quote: Brian de Palma, Cinema is 24 lies per second.

By : Nassim Nakad



Type of movies or genre:

work that can take up to 5 years:

Since the Lumiere brothers to our day, the cinema made huge jumps (from silent to digital surround audio, from black and white to 3 dimensions color images and animation).

Writing the movie or the script: A script is the movie on paper, it describes all details about the characters, the time of the year, the location, the decoration, the wardrobe Shooting the movie: Once the script is approved and a production is scheduled, the cast is selected, then a director and a full film crew (which is the long list of names we read at the end of each movie). All of these people start shooting the film, at the end of the shooting, which takes around 6 months,produces footage over ten hours long.

Quote: Orson Welles, I rather think the cinema will die. Look at the energy being exerted to revive it -- yesterday it was color, today three dimensions. I don’t give it forty years more. Witness the decline of conversation. Only the Irish have remained incomparable conversationalists, maybe because technical progress has passed them by. The tools changed but storytelling remains the same, it’s all about telling a story that starts at a certain point, moves to a climax, only to end at a transformed resolution. It varies from documentary, cinema reality, to different genres of movies such as action, history, drama, comedy, war or love story…. Each culture created a different cinema that pleases its audience; We can clearly see the difference between the European cinema, Hollywood, Bollywood and the Egyptian cinema. Hollywood more than any other production, realized that the cinema is an art but in the same time it’s an industry therefore they produced movies that are widely seen and appreciated by audiences worldwide. The 90 minutes movies that we watch are the result of a long hard

The last stage is editing: all the footage has to be reviewed and the director and the editor will have to start putting pieces together just like puzzle till the movie is completed. Without any of these 3 stages a movie would not becomplete. and we wouldn’t not have the pleasure of watching a movie. Our 90minutes of pleasure is the result of a long process and hard work of a big group of people. (Could you tell for an average movie how many people are involved and how much is the average for a regular drama. You can also span from minimum to maximum. Quote: Robert Bresson, My movie is born first in my head, dies on paper; is resuscitated by the living persons and real objects I use, which are killed on film but, placed in a certain order and projected on to a screen, come to life again like flowers in water



‫ سينما الحمراء ـ الكويت‬-

Cinema in the Middle East: The cinema in the Arab world and the Middle East dates back to 1907: “The first Egyptian film was produced, a documentary directed by Alfizzi Orvanilli about the renovations to Al-Mursi Abul-Abbas Mosque in Alexandria” ‫ خالد الصديق‬/‫ المخرج‬-

The cinema in the Arab world other than Egypt remained limited until they gained their independence in the period between the early 1940s and early 1960s. In the GCC, Kuwait produced the first feature drama film in 1972. Bass ya bahr, it’s a drama that gave a good look on life in Kuwait before the discovery of oil. It was directed by Khalid Al Siddiq. The Cinema in the Middle East has never got any international recognition even with the big production of Egypt which was the only industrial production in the region.

‫ سينما األندلس ـ الكويت‬-



All this changed in the mid 80s when Iranian filmmaker such as Abbas Kiarostami and Mohsen Makhmalbaf started winning international awards and got recognition from all around the world. These 2 pioneers started winning one award after another since 1987, giving the Iranian cinema a new perspective.

Recently the young Lebanese director Nadine Labaki started getting good reviews on her feature movies, the first feature “Caramelle” then her second feature, “And where do we go from here”. This movie has recently won peoples choice awards at the Toronto Film Festival running up against famous names such as George Clooney. Hopefully this will open the doors and give hope to budding filmmakers in the Arab world.

propaganda,. The film festivals of today can be traced to the rise of film societies and cine-clubs.

Film festivals:

We have come a long way since our ancestors. Our knowledge, lifestyle, wants and needs. But we still carry a similar flame. To make sense of our world, appreciate, dream of other possibilities and to try to understand our daily life better. Filmakers are our modern day story tellers and what would life be without a good story?

The first true film festival came into being as a direct result of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini’s (1883–1945) enthusiasm for motion pictures which he used as a tool for public relations, politics and

The Oscars, Cannes film festival, Venice film festival, Sundance film festival and hundreds of other festivals all around the world vary from theme to production quality. One thing is for sure, their one goal is to promote and celebrate the film industry.

Nouf Kuwaity film festival Kuwaity film Tora Bora directed by Waleed Al-Awadhi Sheik Nasser Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah, owner of Cinemagic company Movies “youngest son” and “Rest In Peace” by young Kuwaiti directors.







is Calling



As wheels hit runway pavement, the excitement sets in. It has been four months since I had taken off from Heathrow Terminal, and I can’t explain how eager I was to return back to my little flat on Kings road. I know only too well that when sweltering temperatures reach over 50 degree’s the entire inhabitants of Kuwait city retreat to hibernate inside well air-conditioned homes and we know that “London is calling.” I have created the most decadent and scrumptious list (what I like to call the A-List) of the hottest and coolest places to be in London (Of course temperatures will not exceed 26 degree’s and you might need to pack an umbrella instead of sun screen). There are a million and one things to do in London, but my little list will focus mainly on some of the things that I love to do best and that is shop, eat and shop some more! As one who loves to eat, one of the main things I did last year while I was exploring London, was go out to different restaurants. My fridge was usually empty (and same goes for my bank account). But, it was all too good to pass up. My first experience of fabulous food was in a local restaurant called Jak’s, situated on the fashionable Walton Street in South Kensington. This little place is always packed full of trendy people who are there for the soul purpose of eating a great meal. It is pick and choose your own foodyou decide what you want, where you want it and what to have it with. There is also a large stack of vibrant fruit piled in front of you to help you decide which freshly squeezed juice you want to pair with your meal. All I can say is that I have become a regular to this restaurant. I managed to have a little chat with Jack Junior (Val) about his restaurant, food and customers. Particularly his Kuwaiti customers. His response was all warmth and smiles, “They sure know how to eat, that’s for sure.” 24


He has been asked on several occasions to bring Jak’s to Kuwait, “but I just don’t have the time.” He replies. Val seems to be taking over the entire Walton Street with the new opening of Zefi’s. The opening of Zefi’s just a few doors down from Jak’s is the new highlight of Walton Street. To get back to Jaks, after completing a guaranteed delicious meal, you can cross the road to burn some more “pounds” in Chanel, Joseph, Poison Angel and the surrounding local boutiques. However, if you really need to shed some real weight you can continue up Walton Street and end up in front of those iconic gold and green signs of Harrods (this is where real pounds will be lost and I am not just talking about money.) Nozomi on Beauchamp Place is a place where the ambiance is elegant. There is always a top DJ playing and the pan Asian food is amazing (may I suggest the Black Cod)- I will never leave there without being satisfied full of Black Cod. I have travelled around to other restaurants like Cocochan on James Street or E&O in Notting Hill but I like the intimacy of Nazomi- you may even be seated next to one of the local footballer’s who are regulars to this trendy joint. However, a rival to Nazomi would be Nobu London near the Hilton Hotel on Park Lane– a little bit more extravagant where one can wear those newly acquired outfits bought when roaming through South Kensington. One of London’s most famous restaurants situated underneath the Mandarin Hotel, Bar Boulud, is perfectly located right across from Harvey Nichols. This is where you can rest your feet and exercise your stomach. The menu is Franco American and meaty. The appeal is also provided by the brilliant service and the beautiful interior ambiance. This is another must eat and see.



Now as a hard worker I like to treat myself on the weekends with an extravagant brunch, and as it happens I live only minutes away from Bluebird Chelsea on Kings road. Here one can sit outside and enjoy the beautiful day. The food is of the highest quality and this place is usually only filled with locals intent on spending a good portion of their day lounging on the comfortable sofas talking about their week. Also located near Kings Road is the Chelsea Farmers Market, known for the long line ups and the amazing grilled lunches- this location is hot and spicy serving cuisine such as Italian oven baked Pizza or succulent juicy burgers- plus it is right across is a newly opened mouth watering Gelato store with some of the best tasting ice cream I have ever had. Moving on to Aubaine on Fulham road; if one likes the simplicity of French with a dash of English breakfast then this is the place to go where the windows are always open so it feels like you are sitting outside. But if you are one (like me) who enjoys French luxury then it is without a doubt that you must be seated on the exceedingly fashionable pastel seats of Laduree. Situated in Harrods the beautiful decadent interior transports you to inside Versailles Castle and the patisseries are freshly shipped from Paris waiting to melt in your mouth. The delicate pastel color Macaroons is a highlight in this café, especially the chocolate hazelnut that oozes delicious chocolate ganache. If it is small intimate high street shops that you seek then may I suggest Kings Road, where all your much-loved shops like Zara, Joseph, Kurt Kieger, Zadig and Voltaire are found. Kings’ road is long, and if you continue straight onto Beaufort street you can then stop and catch your breath with a thick creamy cappuccino or a freshly made Italian espresso at Beaufort House, (a favorite location of the Royals who are often spotted enjoying a drink or lunch.) Although highly exclusive member club, I was able to worm a few words out of the reluctant manager Hakeem. “So, do lots of Kuwaiti’s come here?” I questioned. His replies were short and terse. I could feel secrecy was of utmost priority here. “ Kuwaitis? Yes…they do come here. I can’t say names, however, there are a lot of important Kuwaitis that to do come here. Yes.” It seemed that he had already said too much and made a move to go, but I wasn’t going to give up so easy. “And do they like it here.” I persisted. “Well, yes, no complaints so far.” Hakeem managed a small smile. “They do keep coming back.” He says. With that the waiter pours my tea and serves my favorite eggs Bennie Royal. After my delicious breakfast I go out



to explore the quaint and well-designed boutiques around the area. On a warm sunny day one must go down to New Bond Street where the boutiques are of an excellent caliber. However my favorite places to stroll is down Knightsbridge, home to all the top designer brands; Dior, Versace, Dolce, Burberry and the list goes on. There is even the famous Gina, (a shoe Boutique) where the shoes in the window display sparkle and call you inside. Of course after my expensive meals and my shopping in Louis Vuitton I could only afford perhaps a little crystal that sparkles on the toe of the shoe- but I had an enjoyable time trying on an assortment of different heels there. This is definitely a place that I will add to my birthday wish list. If you are searching for a bit more of an alternative experience where one can pick up a side of piping hot Chinese food and walk through stalls packed full of locals selling their wears, then Brick Lane Sunday Up market is the place for you. You need to know how to navigate your way through the local Time Out magazine (which you can pick up) and find secret locations of pop up sample sales and major blow out sales from designers like Dolce, Vivienne Westwood, Chloe, Stella McCartney and Joseph. They have it all- but you have to know when and where to look – I suggest you keep a copy of the Time Out with you at all times. I know I am a good guide but this magazine has the

latest and greatest! After your day of shopping there is nothing better to do than sit in the opulent lounge of Sketch where the ambiance is like being transported inside Salvador Dali’s head (the bathrooms are the up and coming attraction) The food is not to be missed and the five different rooms are each more spectacular than the last- it is highly recommended. If you are more of the lounging type- than there are only three places I suggest, all of which deserve your time, W hotel, Sanderson Hotel and the Dorchester. This is for a night of ultimate elegance, class and luxury. I myself have gotten lost in conversation many times while enjoying side dishes of imported Greek olives, or exquisite Crème Brulee. The interiors range from modern to ultra chic, to classical baroque opulence and there is nothing better than putting on your evening gown and enjoying a night of magnificent conversation, company and class.



Although London really does seem to encompass all that one wants in Life, sometimes an outing out of London is needed just so that one can appreciate London all the more. So to stay with the theme of food and shopping let me introduce to you Bicester Village. It is an absolute must see for those serious about fashion. It is home to over 130 Outlet Boutiques. You are able to escape the bustle of the high street and meander over the serene boulevard. Perhaps stopping to nibble on crepe or some Thai food imported from London (Alan Yau’s)just to recover enough before continuing to get your shopping done…. all at an incredible discount. This haven does not come without a price, which is the long drive up through wilderness into Oxford. However, one can stop off in Mayfair to rent a Rolls Royce or Bentley- something spacious so as to fit all the shopping that will be done- Ladies and Gentlemen this is a serious trip for those who love fashion, elegance, tranquility, food and SHOPPING.

Now after a long day of eating and shopping, it is nice to cross the grey pavement into the green fields of the one and only Hyde Park where you can sit in the Serpentine Café overlooking the lake, or take a one of those blue peddle boats and tour around the lake. My best memories of Hyde Park are sitting in the sunshine ‫ كاتبة ومصورة المقال‬،‫ــ آيال الموسى‬



on a blanket with my friends and looking through the bags of shopping, talking and just lounging. If you still have energy, then there is only one thing I suggest, and it is to take those famous blue Barkley’s bikes for a ride around the park, the best time is just before the sun sets, so you can cycle around the park and watch the sun change colors and melt behind the trees. London is one of the greatest cosmopolitan cities in the world, which holds adventure, style and culture. I am still discovering its hidden gems and whenever I come back to my little flat, I have many stories to tell and memories to cherish.

‫ لحظــات‬29 29





“Cappuccino, per favore.” By: Aida Al Ansari

I answered the Italian waiter.

seemed to mingle and dance a happy tune together. No sign of closing yet.

We had just finished a delicious dinner in a small restaurant somewhere in Mi-

I sat up straight in my chair and made a very clear gesture of holding a cup and

lan. My friend and I were feeling the glow of new, independent travellers. We

saucer and lifting it up to my lips (making sure my little pinky was in the air).

were on our own, without parents, in a foreign city, ordering the quintessential

“Non,” he said once again, while he pointed, rather emotionally, to his watch.

Italian dinner of Pizza, and now we were going to have what we knew all Ital-

“Non cappuccino…espresso!”

ians had after dinner…. A cappuccino.

“Espresso?” “Si, espresso”

“ Non.” Said the waiter.

Feeling cornered and blocked, I sheepishly accepted his only choice of drink

I thought he might not have understood my order. Maybe my pronunciation

for me. Only after he left, did it dawn on me that I had done a major faux pas

was not clear? I scrambled my brain to see how I could say cappuccino more

according to this Italian man. His reaction was pure antipathy to my simple yet


seemingly unheard of request. My feelings of sophistication crumbled. I felt uneducated and uncultured. Espresso was what one had after a meal, a dinner.

“ Cappuccino.” I said once again, a bit louder and slower. Making sure I landed

Cappuccino is for breakfast or the very latest, a mid-afternoon drink.

heavily on the ..cino rather than the Capp. And there it was, I had hit a nerve of coffee fanaticism and I was hooked. I “ Non.” He spoke a bit more aggressively while vehemently shaking his head.

knew then that there was much more to coffee then, well, coffee. This was a

“No?” I whispered. Now I was a bit perplexed and confused. Maybe the

worldwide club that anyone could join and seeing all the coffee houses crop-

restaurant was shutting down for the night. I looked around quickly, but tables

ping up around every corner, it seems everyone is joining!

were full, the buzz of laughter, the clattering of cutlery and the hum of Italian 31


Coffee symbol of Arab hospitality *

Did you know? Robusta coffee bean has a bitterer taste than Arabica, but has 50% more caffeine than the Arabica coffee bean. Light roast coffee has more caffeine than dark roast coffee. The longer it is roasted the more caffeine cooked out of it. Over 500 billion cups of coffee drunk each year and over half of those are drunk at breakfast.

I recently asked my husband what he thought of the taste of coffee. We religiously have our coffee every morning. We usually try out all the best coffee houses when we are in a new town and try different coffee roasters. We grind our coffee bean before brewing it. Over our coffee we talk of our day to come, our plans and share our thoughts. This has become our daily ritual, so I was surprised when he answered quickly and assuredly, “ Coffee on its own actually doesn’t taste that great.” “What?” “ It’s the aroma and what you add into it and eat beside it.” How true I thought. The smell, the culture, the mystery and its perfect taste when mixed with cream and honey and a little almond croissant on the side. No, I don’t like the taste of coffee but I love everything about it. Coffees’ history is a mystery itself. They say it happened long ago with a goat herder named Kaldi who lived in Ethiopia. Kaldi came upon his goats all enthu32


siastically eating something that looked like cherries from a strange bush. On the way back home, his usually sedate and tired goats were all hopping and dancing around him. The next day, the goats went straight back to the bushes that carried the red looking berries. Kaldi, curious, took a few of the berries and began chewing on them. He realized that his spirit was lifted and he had a spring to his step. He took some branches home to show his parents. His parents, irate at such nonsense, threw them into the fire pit… which of course roasted them. Once the smell of the roasted coffee bean wafted through the air… well, as they say, the rest is history. And a very colorful history it is. The belief is that when Ethiopia invaded Yemen around 600 CE, they brought the coffee plant with them and thus the first official cultivation began in Yemen. There they would crush the coffee berry with ghee and turn it into a drink to energize their soldiers before battles. The coffee habit began to journey north, so that by the 1500’s, the worlds’ first coffee houses sprang up in Saudi Arabia. Muslim pilgrims spread the coffee habits though the Muslim world until it reached Turkey, the center of the Ottoman Empire. Guarding the coffee trade heavily, the Turks realized it was a very large lucrative commodity in the trade world. Coffee drinking culture slowly seeped through Europe converting would be a skeptic into passionate enthusiasts. Colonialism stepped in to expand the horizons of where coffee would grow. From Yemen, plantations spread to India, Ceylon, and East Indies in the 1600’s. It migrated to Central and South America in the 1700’s and finally landing in Hawaii during the 1800’s. It was not until the 1900’s that coffee plantations budded on the African continent, coming full circle to where it supposedly began. Coffee plantations created a belt close to the equator, snugly tying land around the world in countries that were subtropical with high altitude which needed clearly defined rainy seasons. Nowadays coffee is the fourth most valuable agricultural commodity in the

Did you know? It takes 40 coffee beans to make a cup of coffee.

world. Not bad for a little bean that was found by Kaldi and his goats! Coffee is not just a drink, but also a philosophy, a way of life. It is where friends

Only 35% of coffee drinkers like their coffee black.

meet, intellectual minds grind new ideas, where humans are awoken to see

Espresso has 1/3 less caffeine than a regular cup of coffee.

the world energized and anew. Revolutions have started over a cup of cof-

We call them coffee beans but they are really berries. The Turks brought coffee to Austria when their army surrounded Vienna in 1683. I kilogram of roasted coffee has 4,000-5,000 coffee beans. If you have a headache, try coffee. Caffeine is an ingredient used in headache medicine.

fee. Great authors, artists and musicians are known to have frequented coffee houses to get their inspirational kicks. The cup of coffee we hold in our hand has within it its’ very own biography. And for better or for worse, every step of the way pushes the coffee beans flavors forward to sing or feel stifled. But when all goes right, you then have a marriage made in heaven. However, like any marriage there are certain elements and ingredients one needs to follow mixed with intuition, love and commitment to make it work.



The most expensive coffee bean comes from Indonesia. Average is $170 per pound of roasted bean. The name of the coffee is Kopi Luwak. They are coffee beans, which are eaten by the Asian Palm Civet, a cat/weasel like animal. The bean goes through the digestive tract. In the digestive tract the animals’ digestive enzymes naturally ferment the bean. This adds to the coffees flavor. Eventually it is excreted as a whole bean, still intact. The beans are then collected, washed, and roasted.

‫* حيوان زباد النخيل اآلسيوي‬

It all starts with the type of coffee plant. Arabica, Robusta or Liberica are the three pillars from where all other bean types are derived. Arabica is the most favored and flavored and holds around 75% of the market share. The beans country of origin and lifestyle imbues the bean with its very own aroma, acidity, body and flavor. Every step of the way affects the coffee beans stature from the way the coffee plant is grown (pesticide used, organic or shade grown); how it is processed (wet or dry); how it is stored and shipped (this is where mold can grow) and finally how it is roasted (from lightest being cinnamon roast, full city, Vienna roast, espresso, Italian and the darkest roast which is French). All this can make the difference from $6 per pound up to 170$ per pound for roasted coffee beans. Even if up to this point all is done right, we are still only half way to the final cup and still much can go wrong, or right. Once the bean is roasted, the type of grind (pulverized, espresso, vacuum, drip, automatic and finally coarse grind) has to be carefully selected depending on method of coffee being made (Ibrik, drip, stovetop or espresso). Wrong grind and you can have bitter coffee, or worse, a watery murky coffee. When you have that final perfect cup of coffee, the story begins again and you can drink it naked or dress it up with sweeteners, milk, cream and different flavors. Serving it becomes an art and accessorizing it with the right pastry becomes a mini heaven on earth. No, I really don’t like the taste of coffee but I love everything about it. The road wrapped around the coffee in my hand has the aroma of possibilities, adventure and travel. What the Italian waiter did not realize when he said no to me was that he had awoken inside me the passion for all that is wonderful in life. And that is definitely worth my cup of coffee, day or night.



Coffee (multiple choice) multiple choice: n?

ea offee b c r la u op most p ica) e h t is t ab I. Wha a (coffea Ar ic b 1. Ara sta bu 2 . Ro a eric 3. Lib

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II. Which bean is mo stly used fo 1. Arabica r espresso ? 2 . Robus ta (coffea canephora 3. Liberica ) III. Which bean grow s widely in Southeast Asia? 1. Arabica 2 . Robus ta 3. Liberica (coffea Lib erica)

V. What is the best ho me grinder? 1. Blade gr inder 2 . Burr gr inder 3. Manual grinder

. What is the perfec t climate fo coffee? r growing 1. Low alt itude, four distinct se 2 . Mediu asons, dr y m altitude w ith balmy 3. High alt we itude, clos e to equato ather r, semi-tro pical




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VIII. How many Star bucks sto 1. 17,010 res are th ere wor ld 2 .100,01 wide? 0 3. 55,010

Right Answers: I / 1 II / 2 III / 3 IV / 2 V / 2 VII / 2 VIII / 3 IX / 3 35


The Chamomile Children of SEKEM



Dr. Ibrahim Abouleishs Founder of Sekem. AWARDED THE INTERNATIONAL B.A.U.M PRIZE IN 2011 for sustatainable development such as organic agriculture, social development institutions, textiles and cotton, medical and food products, pharmaceutical and biotechnology

Egypt has, within it, the burden of over 20,000 thousand street children. These children range from being homeless to actually being sent out into the streets by their families to bring home money for support. Their stories are hard and there are plenty of them. The general tendency of society is to treat these children as a nuisance and an affliction to society, an embarrassment. These youngsters are abused in the street in many varied ways. They are often rounded up by police, taken to detention centers and beaten, although several of them have no choice but to be on the street, begging, shoe shining, cleaning cars, selling gum, prostituting and whatever else they can do to earn a meager living. They are generally on their own or have the burden of trying to support their parents and siblings. What can they do? Where do they go? Who can they trust? There are a few foundations or organizations in Egypt that are trying to help and make a difference in these children’s’

lives. One such foundation is called the Chamomile Children Foundation. Dr. Ibrahim Abou-leish, the founder of SEKEM, started this non-profit organization around 2006. To understand how the Chamomile Children Foundation came about, one has to understand how and why Dr. Ibrahim Abou-leish developed Sekem and its many rays into the Egyptian society. Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish is an Egyptian Muslim born in 1937. He studied chemistry, medicine and pharmacology in Austria. When he returned to Egypt, he found his homeland in a stage of stagnation on many levels. His country’s lack of education, overpopulation, poverty and toxic farming methods saddened him but also fired him up enough so that he wanted to make a change and create a new paradigm shift for his country. His vision was to create a three fold social project that would allow him to contribute to community building, humanity and healing the earth. “ This is the basics of the foundation he created, called Sekem, derived from hieroglyphs meaning “vitality from the Sun”. 37


Sekem itself is a multifaceted umbrella that seems to touch almost every level of society from food and clothing, where SEKEM has transformed the Egyptian cotton industry. SEKEM uses biodynamic farming methods which helps re-enliven dead soil through natural methods such as composting, natural pesticide, and working with the earth’s rhythm in planting and harvesting. It is innately a method where the farmer deeply understands that the earth is a gift from God and the fruits that come from a healthy well loved earth will feed humanity without the need for toxic chemicals. Through this deep reverence and working with nature, the earth is thus transformed. This, Dr. Ibrahim Abou-leish understood. Through SEKEM he has created a system where the Egyptian farmer can come and learn these biodynamic methods. Due to this, there has been an incredible reduction of the use of synthetic pesticides by over 90%. The yield of cotton has increased by about 30% with the same or improved quality in cotton. Now, SEKEM encompasses sustainable economics, biodynamic agriculture, research and development, education, healthcare, natural pharmaceuticals, organic food, and beautiful textiles. It also focuses strongly on those less fortunate in mind, body or circumstance. Through this humanitarian effort, it allows children and adults a place to learn, grow and become part of a society in a dignified manner. One of the foundations that SEKEM has created to help in the social field is the Chamomile Children’s foundation. 38


For donations or more information: Phone# (202) 16418 ESCD ( Egyptian Society for cultural Dev.) Email –

The Chamomile Children’s foundation is of the understanding that a large population of children who are on the street working, are working mainly because they are forced to support their families. In SEKEM, these children are given a safe place to be during the day. The mornings are spent working by picking organic chamomile, which they are then paid for. This money they can take home. But for the rest of the day they are provided warm, nutritious meals, free medical services, clothing, schooling in which they are taught math, Arabic, religion and English. Part of the schooling is to also bring music and art into their lives. This helps create the inner aesthetics of nurturing what is beautiful in the world and in oneself. Once they reach the age of 14 they are then taught basic skills in areas such as carpentry, mechanics or sewing. Having a needed trade allows these young men and women to become selfsufficient independent human beings whose contributions become an asset to society rather than an affliction. While the rest of the world is still looking for Superman, I think I may have found him living in Egypt. Dr. Ibrahim Abou-leish, whose dream is “of a society where people work and learn the different cultures in peace and harmony with each other. as if they were playing in a symphony orchestra as one.”



Celebrating the mysteries of life ‫عايدة األنصاري‬ It is my own fact that I never knew how old my father could have been. It was a mystery of a different time. A time when an individual melded himself to the emotions and beings of the community around them. There seems to be no beginning to where a single person ends and the entire society begins. As for my father, whenever posed with the question of “How old are you?” his reply seemed to fluctuate as fluidly as the tide; Sometimes older, sometimes younger, sometimes obviously too old and at other times much too young. He was not known to be a man of vanity, (one of the reasons I see people evading such a question) so these inconstant replies boiled down to one obvious fact. He clearly did not know when he was born. My mother, being German, could not leave such unknowns unanswered. So hazy facts were anchored into my fathers’ biography. His birth year was set at 1925 and the chosen month was May. To her, birthdays were an event, a time of year to celebrate oneself, and solely oneself. I am assuming a hundred years ago, around the Gulf region this must have seemed too selfish and vain. As for me, by the time I was 5, I was all into being selfish and vain. I reveled and rolled in it. I felt absolutely right in my vanity and it was My Birthday that I waited for all year and I knew very clearly I was born Feb. 15 1967 and it was 12:00 o’clock. The only memory my father had revolving around his birthday was the fact that he was born after a big storm. This obviously was not a celebratory moment, but a moment that filled the little Kuwaiti fishing village with fear. Being curious, I Googled “big storms of Kuwait, early 20th century” and all I got was information about Desert Storm. I guess Google’s weather history does not lend itself to such a distant century when weather affected the human memory banks of one’s biography. In the ages of not so long ago, the individual was never as important as the community they were born into and the celebrations were compounded recollections of a time pulled together by events beyond one person, place or thing. Natural disasters, wars, weather and marriages were the rope that unified an event into the consciousness of the group. Stories were told in a before and after motif using events as binders. The birth of Trafalgar and its biography simply began as a discussion between my two parents in the turquoise living room. (It was clear that important discussions happened in that living room as opposed to the orange room, where we children mostly played and read) The weather during those discussions must have been fortuitous; for 40 years later we are now clearly celebrating the birthday and anniversary of an idea planted so long ago. As with many celebrations, anniversaries and events, it is the first spark and fire of a thought that starts the momentum of the golden thread unwinding itself. Each event, celebration, tragedy, anniversary or birth begins to place beads on to our biographies’ thread…hoping that in the end, we can possibly wear something of value that we are proud of. In an age where gut feelings are second-class citizens, ideas are studied to their own death; market analysis becomes the norm before we make any move, and let us not forget all the facts and figures that are so seemingly accurate and acknowledged that Google enjoys the keeping and showing off of them…. I do wonder whether something has been lost in the process of all these supposed accuracies. Sometimes not knowing, being unsure, is the creative mud that allows us to wonder and imagine the endless possibilities. So was the mystery around my father’s birthday that gave space to an ever-interesting round of conversations of what may have. And it was through an inspired yet unknown leap of faith that Trafalgar now slips clearly into my biographies’ golden thread as a gem of dreams. A dream that did come true. Happy 40th birthday Trafalgar.




Lahazaat English  
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Lahazaat is a bi-yearly luxury lifestyle magazine produced for and by the people who live it. It should become one of the foremost publicati...