Handmade Wooden Baskets in Hawamdeya

The day before yesterday we at Resala Nasr City went to Hawamdeya, north of Giza, to distribute food bags on poor families. Upon arriving, we found two men, one old and the other young, making wooden baskets out of wood taken from palm trees.

Those wooden baskets are called “akfaas” or “kafas” in Arabic which literally means cage. They are commonly used in Egypt by fruit merchants as a container for fruits. They allow fruits to be easily moved from one place to another while providing enough ventilation through the abandant holes in the wooden baskets.

We watched all the stages of the process of converting the wooden parts of palm trees into wooden baskets ready for fruits to be put inside. The interesting thing was that the palm trees themselves were right next to us. The wood from the palm trees was in the form of long branches liying next to the old man who was sitting on the floor together with the other young man working with him. He took each long wooden branch and chopped it into smaller parts. They then made wholes in those smaller wooden sticks using some special tool which they hammered onto the stick to make the whole. Wholes were made at even distances from one another.

After that, sticks with holes in them were inserted into one another first horizontally then in a later stage virtically in order to produce the final product which is the handmade wooden baskets. I loved the idea that such a process and such a product was very environmentally friendly. Everything was handmade, no electricity or any type of fuel was used, all tools were operated by hand. The input was all from palm trees, no plastic or chemicals were introduced into the product. The nice thing was that after using a wooden baskets to carry fruits for several times, it will easily disintegrate and decay feeding the soild once again without leaving any trace whatsoever that can pollute the environment. The craft of handmade wooden baskets in Egypt is a pure environmentally friendly craft from A to Z.

Moreover, the baskets are used as is without polishing with any chemicals. Those pure wooden baskets are perfect containers for fruits. Fruits will not be harmed by any means when put in such handmade wooden baskets.

Large Falm Wood

It is even more interesting that the remains of such craft are also used an consumed. Nothing is waisted. The first remain from this craft is the large parts of the palm tree branch which is cut off during cutting the branch into smaller pieces. Such parts are too large for being used to make the baskets. Those parts are used as fuel for farm ovens.

Round Wood

The other remain of this craft is small rounded pieces of wood that come out of the wholes that the men make inside the wooden sticks. Suchs small rounded pieces of wood are not thrown away but are also used inside the farm ovens as fuel.

Farm Oven

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