Haji Abdullah is one of the simple farmers in the Nile Delta region. He comes from a small village called Abadia on the outskirts of Damanhur, a historical and cultural Egyptian city—Damanhur’s name was etched into the history of Egypt from ancient times till the present day. His village house lies amid the extensive agricultural land of the Delta, where the endless landscape of the Egyptian countryside, and is close to Rashid branch of the Nile River.
In the fifties, Haji Abdullah started his early life as a simple farmer; he dreamed of Egypt like every other young farmer and grazed his family’s buffalo daily in the field. The buffalo’s milk was the only way he knew for livelihood. He used to participate in the activities of the Egyptian Federation of Cooperatives established by Gamal Abdel Nasser in the sixties. Afterwards, he started learning some crafts and chose the most interesting one, yet certainly the hardest. He knew its origin dates back to the Pharaonic era, where the Pharaohs used the remaining horns of buffalos and animals to make ornaments and decorative instruments. And since he had learnt a craft and discovered other uses for buffalos besides milk, he established his small workshop for buffalo horn crafts and accessories on the roof of his house.
Now in 2017 and after more than 45 years, when you visit his workshop you’ll find as it is, a small corner on the top of his village house, with a thatched roof. It was turned into a school for buffalo horn crafts when his three sons and some youth joined the workshop to learn and take part in production and innovation with Haji Abdullah. Haji Abdullah says “The buffalo horn in its typical form is just an ordinary material in your hand; the creativity is in how you look at it and from which angle to craft your idea and your piece of art. It seems to me that I need to shape the whole of Egypt, its heritage and history, by the use of this raw material.” Despite his age of 70, Haji Abdullah still dreams for Egypt and his offspring, and dreams of documenting the heritage of his ancestors. He keeps on looking after his buffalo and his land every morning like the millions of farmers in Upper Egypt and Delta region.
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