Meet the locals: Adliya | News | Al Jazeera

Meet the locals: Adliya

Residents of this Egyptian village say business is beginning to return.

    The economy of Damietta in Egypt is heavily dependent on the furniture business

    Al Jazeera is following the effects of the global recession on towns across the globe.

    Two months after first observing the impact of the global recession on Damietta in Egypt, Rawya Rageh returned to see how residents are coping and if they are noticing any signs of recovery.

    Youssef Zeyara, 42, carpenter

    A married father of four, Youssef has been a carpenter for 32 years and owns a workshop that operates a lathe.

    He re-opened his workshop in April, four months after closing it, and brought the two craftsmen who used to operate the lathe back to work.

    "Previously, merchants were trying to rip us off because of the slowdown, offering to buy our work at dismal prices. But things are better now and we're making decent money," he says.

    After being in debt for months, he paid off three of the four electricity bills he owed. He owned about 1,000 Egyptian pounds before and has now been able to bring that down to 250.

    He has also been able to feed his family properly again, and he has even been able to buy fruit for the first time in months.

    Although business is slowly picking up, he still remains cautious about the economy and has not sent his four-year-old daughter back to the private nursery she used to attend.

    "Yara will just have to wait for grade school," he says.

    "My priority is still the family's basic needs such as food and medicine. Also, her two elder siblings go to school and they require a lot of expenses."

    Bahaa Khalil, 28, woodworker

    Bahaa is married with one son.

    He has been a woodworker for 15 years and specialises in carving refined details for tables and wardrobes.

    He says orders are slowly picking up.

    They are not back to previous levels, but in May he is getting orders for up to 300 pieces as opposed to about 150 in March.

    He is considering paying his craftsmen the same wages he paid pre-recession but he wants to wait until he is certain that the economy's recovery is solid.

    "I feel things will get a lot better by the end of the year," he says.

    He believes summer is a big factor in the recovery.

    He explains that Egyptians traditionally like to get married in the summer so orders for furniture by couples setting up new apartments are on the rise.

    "Our products are not being sold on the cheap anymore, so it's trickling down to us."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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